Saturday, April 14, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: M is for Milk Glass


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.

is for milk glass.

Growing up, I always thought we were semi-rich. Not really rich-rich. Not Hollywood rich. But pretty darn well-off. I thought for sure my grandaunts Violetta Davis Ryan and Velma Davis Woodring were rich. Violetta owned multiple apartment buildings. Velma was a world traveler, taught in Korea, and routinely brought us amazing gifts of jewelry, kimonos, and rice dishes.

They HAD to be rich, right?

My sister and I have had many good laughs over some of the heirlooms and not-so-heirloom-worthy items we have inherited from our “rich aunts.” Case in point: milk glass plates. 
Milk Glass plate wall https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
My plates on the dining room wall

Milk Glass Plates belonging to Mary https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
My sister's collection

A stack of these things! Recognizing they are Depression glass, we anticipated back in 2009 that they would be selling at a good price, but eBay put our greed in check. Plates exactly like ours were advertised at $4 and $5. Today they are still selling in that price range with an occasional one for $10. A square one like my sister’s is $20.

Our little collection is a microcosm of milk glass history representing patterns sold by the main manufacturers Westmoreland, Hazel-Atlas, and Anchor-Hocking.

The size of the plates made me think they were used for dessert, but I have learned that milk glass was never used for dinnerware. Milk glass was used mainly in vases, jars, pitchers, cake stands, cruets, salt and pepper shakers, and sugar bowls and creamers. Milk glass plates were purely decorative.

Milk Glass plate wall  https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
My dining room wall of plates

Our plates might not represent the most desirable objects from the past, but grouped together, they fulfill their intended mission to delight the eye. The lacy edge of each plate is interesting on its own.

Milk glass details https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Milk glass details https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Milk glass details https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
























Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

22 comments:

  1. Wow Wendy, you are certainly rich in the heirloom department. You’re surrounded by treasures!

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  2. Gorgeous collection and your furniture makes me swoon!

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    1. I enjoy seeing photos of your home too. We can trade swoon for swoon.

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  3. Milk glass is very pretty. My father's mother loved it and had a few pieces. I remember a few vases. I don't know where they ended up. Yours are displayed perfectly!

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  4. You are lucky to have so much wall space to display your treasures and so many treasures to display!

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    1. Hmm, I never thought about that. It is a big wall.

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  5. I hadn't heard of milk glass plates before but they are very pretty!

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. Ohh, you must still be a baby to not know of milk glass. LOL

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  6. My Mom collected milk glass and had it on display on shelves over the counter between the kitchen and the dining room. She never used any of the smaller pieces, they were only to look at. She did get lots of use out of the punch bowl set! My fave memory of that was the rum punch she made for my 18th birthday party! Ooooh yeah!!
    I’ve never seen plates, I love the lacy edges. I’m a use-it-or-lose-it kinda gal, so I would definitely use them for something!

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    1. OOH rum punch sounds yummy. I'd love a milk glass punch bowl.

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  7. I hadn't heard of milk glass before. I was expecting to see a glass for drinking milk!

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    1. HA - I probably have some of those too.

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  8. I've never heard of milk glass either but I think the lace edging is very pretty on the plates.

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    1. Oh, evidently milk glass is an American thing.

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  9. I've always had a fondness for milk glass and occasionally pick up a piece. Mostly the knobby kind - chuckle - I'm no expert - there must be a name that I don't know. Your comment about thinking you were rich reminded me of when my daughter was 5 or 6 and used the bathroom at her piano teacher's house. She came out and told me that she must be very rich (based on the fancy decorative sink faucet and handles).

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    1. I think you mean HOBNAIL. LOVE hobnail milk glass.

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  10. Those are really pretty - interesting that they weren't intended to be used for serving. It seems like a bit of a luxury which I didn't think was too common back then. They must have been rich! :-)

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    1. I know - it looks like you could slap a slice of cake or pie on it because it's the perfect size.

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  11. So many pretty plates and displayed perfectly. It's sad that the Milk Glass market has crashed, and not likely to make a comeback. I'm hanging on to a Milk Glass Pitcher and Tumbler set for no other reason than I've had them forever. Not likely to list them for sale as they are so heavy the shipping would be more than the selling price. Love the lace edge plates.

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    1. I hear ya - I have things I would like to get rid of but it would cost more to ship than it's worth.

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