Last week I had the good fortune to discover this set of four delicate white milk glass plates at a thrift store. It is amazing that such breakables have survived with no chips or cracks. The pieces were made by Atterbury Glass of Pittsburg, PA. They are marked on the backs with a capital A. Atterbury was in business from approximately 1859-1902. So these plates are antiques. They appear nearly new with just the slightest scratch here or there from a utensil.
The beautiful open-work borders with their S-shape are so prone to breakage that I was very careful to examine the margins for hairline cracks. My eyes are getting old, but I don’t think I missed any damage. This sort of work is termed Early American Pressed Glass, EAPG. It can be distinguished from later glass by the imperfections inherent to the material. The glass will have flow lines, straw marks, tiny trapped bubbles and roughness around the edges where the pieces were knocked out of the mold. As time passed and glass manufacture became more technically advanced, these mars were eliminated. Thus, in this case the age of a piece can be told by its blemishes.
Atterbury produced tons of milk glass, the company was renown for it. Some of their most popular pieces included hens and other animals on nests covered dishes, cups, and lacy open work pieces. This S-shaped lace design has a decided gilded age feel to me, perhaps produced sometime in the 1880s. This is just a guess. Information about the company’s production, and especially the marks used, is very limited. After the company went out of business, some of its molds were apparently sold. Westmoreland Glass later made an identical pattern under its own mark.
Included in the set are three dinner plates measuring 8 3/8″ square and one salad plate at 7 3/8″. I paid less than one dollar per piece and hope to realize a sale price of ten dollars each in my online shop. The last similar one sold for $9 and it was a single plate.