Carnival glass (a.k.a. pressed glass) is prized by collectors for its iridescence. Originally known as “Iridill” at the turn of the 20th century, the name Carnival Glass was adopted in the 1950’s because it was often given away as a prize at carnivals.
Collectors covet it for the myriad of designs and colors to be found and the range of iridescence from piece to piece. Vases, bowls, plates, and the like are cherished by their owners for their uniqueness.
The key to its appeal is the similarity of carnival glass to the world famous and very expensive blown iridescent glass by Tiffany & Company. Pressed glass gets its iridescence from the application of metallic salts while the glass is still hot. Once it has cooled down it is re-fired to bring out its depth of color and iridescence.
Though pressed glass was first produced in 1908 by Fenton, and U.S. companies dominated world production through time, some noted European manufacturers made significant contributions to the industry. Companies in Australia were made famous for their depiction of the country’s magnificent flora and fauna. English companies succeeded with their use of swan, hen, and dolphin pieces, which drove their industry for many years.