Even in Victorian times, people avidly collected glassware. These days, people are more interested in collecting the glassware of the past than anything sold in stores today. In particular, the colorful designs of Depression-era glassware are extremely popular collectors' items. A large number of different companies produced Depression glassware, and some later issued reproductions, so finding genuine Depression glass can be a little tricky.
How to Identify What You Have
If you've inherited glassware, your first step is to identify what you have. This can be somewhat time-consuming, but well worth the effort. One place to start is to search eBay for Depression glass. Sellers typically post photos, and usually, they will have determined the glass company and pattern prior to posting. This will help you compare what you have to the items that are listed. Many other websites are available that list the patterns from each glass company, usually with photos of the pattern, so this can also assist you in your search. You can also find a number of books on Depression glass identification to help you determine what types you have in your collection.
The Real Thing
Some companies that originally produced Depression glassware later reissued the patterns due to the popularity of the original designs. Since the original glassware was produced very inexpensively, you can tell an original piece by its flaws. For instance, seams may be easily felt and air bubbles may be visible in the glass. The reproductions may have an identifying stamp on them, whereas original Depression glass was not stamped.
Many people confuse carnival glass with Depression glass. Carnival glass made its first appearance in 1907 and continues to be produced today. While some carnival glass was manufactured during the Great Depression, it is technically in a different category from Depression glass. Carnival glass is always iridized, while Depression glassware is not. However, if you are searching for carnival glassware on the Internet, you may find more pieces if you include the word "Depression" in your search terms.