Original carnival glass was manufactured between 1905 and 1930 and came in a myriad of iridized colors, interesting hand-shaped styles, and exquisite patterns. The earliest carnival glass was said to have been a low-selling discounted glass that ended up as prize glass at carnivals until it became more popular.
Carnival glass was by manufactured in many countries by various manufacturers. These countries included Australia, Czechoslovakia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. In the United States, carnival glass was manufactured by a number of companies, namely Dugan-Diamond, Fenton, Imperial, Millersburg, and Northwood. Over a dozen other companies or mergers of these companies also produced some variation of carnival glass.
The true color of a piece of carnival glass is often discernable only by holding it up to a strong light and looking at the base. The glass came in dozens of colors, primarily marigold, amethyst, blue, and green and many variations of these. In most cases, the iridizations of original carnival glass was achieved by a spray process that took place before the glass was fired.
Except for Fenton and Millersburg, most of the carnival glass manufacturers marked some of their glass on the base for identification. When identifying old carnival glass from new, it is important to recognize original marks and iridescence factors. New carnival glass is often shinier and brighter, and the marks are varying styles of the original ones. As a collector, be sure to pick up books or go online to study marks and other signs of old versus new.
The value of original carnival glass is substantially higher than the value of new. In the image Northwood Compote, the piece is amethyst in color (often the most valuable), the interior pattern is Blossomtime, and the exterior pattern is Wildflower. This original piece of carnival glass from approximately 1925-1930 is valued at over $375. The mark on the bottom of the compote includes the original Northwood mark—an N with a circle that goes completely around the N—stamped in the center of the base.
Carnival glass is a still a great easy-to-find collector item. Garage sale and flea market prices are quite reasonable. The value continues to increase as it becomes more scarce, so start your collection now! Carnival glass makes a lovely china cabinet display.