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How to Identify an Imperial Glass Pattern

Jessica McCahon

Imperial glass is a form of Carnival glass that was made famous by the Imperial Glass Company of Ohio, which was set up in the early 1900s. Carnival glass requires a great deal more hand-finishing than pressed glass and uses oxidized or metallic finishes to add color to the pieces, says World Collectors Net . Over the years, the Imperial Glass Company became recognized and revered for several trademark practices.

Imperial glass is known for its unique colors and striking iridescent finish.
  1. Focus on the design. The Imperial Glass Company made a name for itself partly due to the geometric patterns it used on its pieces. Until the company came into being, Carnival glass designs usually incorporated patterns inspired by nature, such as leaves and vines. Imperial glass tends to reflect more triangular or diamond-like designs.

  2. Look at the color. The Imperial Glass Company was renowned for developing unusual colors for its glassware; in particular, clambroth (a pale ginger color), smoke (a light blue-gray), and an unmatched deep purple, says World Collectors Net. During the years of the Great Depression, the company also became known for its pieces in characteristic pink and blue.

  3. Assess the iridescence. Carnival glass is, by nature, iridescent or metallic-looking. But the Imperial Glass Company took iridescence to new heights. The look is created by adding metallic oxides to the hot glass, and Imperial was considered to obtain particularly brilliant results.