“Carnival” glass is coloured, pressed glass with an iridescent metallic finish. It was popular in the United States and Europe from about 1900. It is made by applying metallic salts to the surface of the glass to iridise it. High-class examples of the style were made by Louis Tiffany, but cheap versions started to become available from about 1905. It was exported and manufactured around the world, and is still produced today.
Famous makers include:
Northwood of West Virginia. Most of his glass is marked with an N in a circle.
Imperial The factory was in Bellaire, Ohio. Imperial glass appeared in clear. purple and green, as well as some blue and red.
Fenton The Fenton Art Glass Company’s factory is in West Virginia, USA, and introduced iridized pressed glass in 1907. Fenton produced some unusual colours such as pastels, and also rare early red pieces.
While US manufacture of carnival glass declined in the 1920s, it was still being produced in other countries such as Australia, Belgium, France and Czechoslovakia until the Second World War.
From the 1960s onwards, reproductions of earlier pieces were produced, with factories using their own old moulds, or those of firms no longer in business.