Storeroom Stories: Depression glass and the Indiana Tea Room pattern

The Indiana Glass pink pitcher can be found in the store room under number 1979.248.

The Indiana Glass pink pitcher can be found in the store room under number 1979.248.

By Joseph Wolf

A Short History of Depression Glass

Depression glass took Industrial Revolution principles and applied them to the glass making process. The once artisanal skill of glassmaking was being replaced by large manufacturers who mass produced glass dining sets. Like its iridescent predecessor Carnival glass, Depression glass could be quickly and cheaply made. However, Depression glass took the idea of collectable sets to an exciting new level.  Assembly-line production allowed the translucent glassware to come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The glass was not polished and often showed heavy mold lines, but despite this poor quality it became popular with penny-wise consumers of the 1920’s and 30’s [7].

Depression glass was often bought in bulk by manufacturers and distributors. In turn they would give away pieces for spending a certain amount on their products or for buying specific goods or services. Depression glass could also be purchased inexpensively in dime stores if a particular piece was wanted. Previously glassware had been individually hand poured and pressed by skilled craftsmen making it a luxury only the upper classes could afford [3]. For the first time in history full dining sets were available were available to anyone who could afford some produce or a few boxes of detergent. This novelty made the wares popular among frugal collectors who had little disposable income due to the economic downturn. At a time when there was little as far as material comfort goes, Depression glass offered a small escape from a bleak economic reality. Hazel Weatherman writes of Depression glass collectors saying, “They glimpsed an old, sweet dream shining in the darkness just ahead of them. For many, many families it became something they could focus on, group around, work towards, in its own small way. For some, simply owning a piece of it was enough; it afforded a bit of brightness they would never forget.” [2]

The first pattern of Depression glass, Avocado, was produced before the Depression era in 1923 by the Indiana Glass company in Dunkirk, Indiana. Soon after a host of glass manufacturers began creating similar wares. 19 companies produced 116 Depression glass patterns in its heyday from the early 1920’s into the late 1930’s [5]. Of these manufacturers only 7 were considered major producers accounting for 92 of the patterns. Although Indiana was the first producer of Depression glass and (arguably) created the most iconic designs, it was not the most prolific. Indiana introduced 12 patterns throughout its history, while Hazel-Atlas Glass made 15 patterns and Hocking 24. Production of Depression glass continued past its peak years of the 1930’s (Indiana’s Sandwich pattern was produced into the 1980’s), but fell off considerably [4].   The 1950’s saw the increase in competition from foreign manufacturers, which caused many domestic manufacturers to go bankrupt. Demand for plastic and aluminum wares also contributed to glass falling out of favor [3]. Depression glass was relegated to attics and basements, not to be seen again until enthusiasts began collecting again in the 1960’s.

The Tea Room Pattern

In 1926 Indiana introduced their third series of Depression glass, which included the Pyramid (#610) and Tea Room (#600) designs. Tea Room was discontinued in 1931 and Pyramid in 1932, with neither pattern being reproduced. These patterns were a departure from Indiana’s earlier Avocado and Sandwich designs, which had a more organic Art Nouveau design. Instead these pieces were inspired by the French Art Deco movement, which was just beginning to flourish in the United States at this time [7]. Art Nouveau emphasized symmetrical geometric form and hard angular shapes. The Tea Room set consists of 45 pieces and came in 5 different colors of smooth textured, translucent glass. Pink, green and frosted green were the most commonly produced colors in the Tea Room collection, with amber and crystal being rare or nonexistent for many of the pieces[4].  The glassware included in the Tea Room pattern (sundae dishes, creamer pitchers, sugar bowls, goblets, etc.) made it popular for use in private tea rooms and ice cream parlors[6].

The short production period paired with the lack of reproductions or second productions, make these pieces highly sought after by collectors. Ironically, the cheap and common nature of the glassware also led to a lack of preservation and today many pieces in the Tea Room and other collections are extremely hard to find and expensive.  An amber Tea Room pitcher that could be purchased for 10 cents or freely acquired in 1929 currently sells for over $500 (if in excellent condition)[1].

The museum store room currently houses a 64 ounce pink pitcher from the Tea Room collection. Sitting at 25.1cm tall and 22 cm wide, the body’s s geometric design consists of eight octagonal rings that progressively get larger from bottom to top. The angular 3 part handle attaches into the body between the first and second ring from the top and recedes back into the pitcher on the sixth ring. The spout also consists of 3 angular pieces.   Only the interior breaks from the geometric aesthetic, being rounded for the functional benefit of smooth pouring.  A large chip is visible on the foot of the pitcher (also octagonal); highlighting the often poor condition Depression glass is found in. The pitcher is the only Tea Room piece that came in all five colors [1]. Mold markings and a number of bubbles are visible on the pitcher, which were both common flaws for the hastily produced glass. While these imperfections are often seen as signs of poor quality, they are today used by collectors to distinguish Depression glass from reproductions and the higher quality, but aesthetically similar elegant glass [7].

Depression glass’s arrival marked the beginning of cheap, mass produced dining wares accessible for all. It offered a small indulgence for consumers at a time when luxuries were few. Iyna Caruso aptly summarized the appeal of Depression glass: [6]

“The real lure of Depression glass—what captivated Americans then and enchants them now— is the stunning array of patterns and kaleidoscopic colors. Glass manufacturers created dozens of patterns, ranging from plain to playful to elegant, and many of those patterns came in a Crayola crayon assortment of colors that continued to fill cupboards right up until the Second World War. … A table set in sparkling colored dishes “brightened up that whole drab period.” Even in hard times, the price of Depression glass was right.”


Works Cited

[1]Schroy, Ellen T.. Warman’s Depression Glass Field Guide: Values and Identification (4th Edition). pp. 453-456 Iola, WI, USA: Krause Publications, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 13 December 2015.

[2]Weatherman, Hazel M. .Colored Glassware of the Depression Era, Book 2, June 1974.

[3]Trietsh, Rosemary. Introduction to Depression Glass.

[4]Krupey, Joyce. Patterns Important to the History of Depression Glass, February 2001

[5]Adler, Donna

[6]Caruso, Iyna B., “Collecting Depression Glass”, Country Living.

[7]Adler, Donna. Indiana Glass Company.


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Storeroom Stories: 1730 late Georgian style tall case clock in Japanese style

35751-49543 - Paradis Dean - Dec 13, 2015 256 PM - IMG_20150924_134902

By Dean Parados

Need the text

35751-49543 - Paradis Dean - Dec 13, 2015 256 PM - IMG_20150924_134825 35751-49543 - Paradis Dean - Dec 13, 2015 256 PM - IMG_20150924_134831
35751-49543 - Paradis Dean - Dec 13, 2015 256 PM - IMG_20150924_134933 35751-49543 - Paradis Dean - Dec 13, 2015 256 PM - IMG_20150924_134938

Work Cited

British Museum, Term details. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2015.

Rolleston Antiques.

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Storeroom Stories: Barbie Ten-Speed Bike

By Lauren Brady


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“Sacred Houses” in Early Iron Age Greece?

On January 22nd, I visited the lecture ”Sacred Houses” in Early Iron Age Greece. Dr. Alexander Ainian, who is an archaeologist, held the lecture. I had never heard of the existence of the so called ‘Sacred Houses’ before, so it was very interesting to get to know more about this topic. The whole lecture was based on facts about houses in Greece that might have been sacred houses. Many facts speak for the existence of the ‘Sacred Houses’ in Greece as Dr. Ainian explained by giving a number of examples, which I will explain in the following summary.

The location of those “Sacred Houses” was mainly in the area Attica in Greece, leading archaeologists back to the Early Iron Age, when Athens first started to gain power. The first location Dr. Ainian referred to was The Sanctuary of Eleusis, which is located in todays Athens. On the ground of the sanctuary, there is a building in which archaeologist found a human skeleton. There is cult activity visible in the burial of this skeleton. Additionally, animal bones, and ashes were found, hence it can be concluded that the so called ‘Sacred House’ in which the body was found was used for religious activities back in the Early Iron Age.

The second location Dr. Ainian related to was The Academy of Athens (Platon). Today, only the central part of the academy is preserved. Archaeologist found remains of a house on the ground of the academy, similar to the case before. Again, there were smashed, and whole vases found, seashells, and animal bones, which are all things that were used in sacrifices. Also there is proof that some sacrifices were made on top of the wall. This shows that the sacrifices might have taken place when the house was no longer used for living. Next to the house was a burial found with several layers of vases, at least 40 vases, containing bones of children. Moreover, in the area of the Academy a number of other burials were found, including adult burials.

Another important location was Thorikos, in eastern Attica, an area known for its silver mining. Once again, there is a building that stands in close relationship to a burial, as they are right next to each other. The excavators suppose that it was used for cult, but it was also a house for the elite of a small community were important dinners were held.

Dr. Ainian continued with two other examples that had similar features, and are also located in the same area. All the buildings brought archaeologists to similar conclusions about the use of it as a house for living, but also as a place were sacrifices and religious activities took place. Those two very different activities probably took place in different time periods within the existence of the houses.

Altogether it was really interesting for me to learn about ‘Sacred Houses’, and that archaeologists found a number of these with similar characteristics in the area of Attica. Dr. Ainian, an associate professor at the University of Thelassy in Larissa, Greece, seems to have a lot of experience and knowledge, since he was part of archaeological excavations in Greece. I am looking forward to the next lecture.

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Unknown Picasso exhibit

Picasso's Goat, one of the photograms on exhibition.

Picasso’s Goat, one of the photograms on exhibition.

On October 30, I visited the Unknown Picasso exhibit at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and heard a lecture on the artwork from Dr. Diane Chalmers Johnson, the curator of the exhibit. Dr. Johnson talked about how she organized the work, her difficulties with the collection, and the overall story the art portrayed. Dr. Johnson shared stories of how Picasso would give paper cut outs to his friend André Villers, who then added his own photographs to make a unique picture. Later, when Picasso’s friend, an acclaimed French poet, Jacques Prévert saw these pictures he was inspired to write a play in poetic French telling a story using the pictures as the basis for the characters.

I discovered during the discussion that the job of curator is complex and difficult. Their responsibilities go beyond choosing which pieces to exhibit and where to place them. The biggest surprise was that a curator adds an artistic touch, making sense of a complicated collection like the Unknown Picassos. The fact that she had to translate poetic French as well as attempting to understand the process that led to creating these college prints involved an in-depth, hands-on approach was enlightening.

My favorite piece from the collection was the one of Picasso and his wife in a wedding portrait.  This one is interesting because not only are the two side by side, but he was able to create the textures that he used in rendering the veil and the rest of the couples’ wedding clothes. I found it intriguing that the immense joy of the couple could be shown through very simple paper cut outs. Over all, the combination of Picassos’s cut outs with Viller’s photography created an intriguing story. The addition of Prévert’s dialogue showed depth that I never would have imagined existed in this fun and whimsical collection.

However, the curator emphasized there was a hidden agenda besides whimsical art.  She explained that there where many underlining references to social and economic issues going on at the time.   For example, the creation of the atomic bomb was an important theme throughout the collection.  These subtleties are the reason people love art.  Everyone creates their own idea of what the art is about and then when you combine this with the author’s story you get a truly unique experience.  This collection not only pleased my senses, but also challenged my imagination.


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The College Today did a story on us

The College Today did a story on us:

Here’s an out-take photograph of our officers. Thanks to Sherry Wallace for taking the photo:

AAH officers prepare for the Brick-by-brick workshop: (L to R) Andrew Staton, Meagan Pickens, Audrey Marhoefer, and Caroline Agid

AAH officers prepare for the Brick-by-brick workshop: (L to R) Andrew Staton, Meagan Pickens, Audrey Marhoefer, and Caroline Agid

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Brick-by-Brick: Building a Curriculum on a Brick Wall (Call for Participation)


Joseph Aiken House on 20 Charlotte Street, kitchen building and stable. (Image Source: Preservation Society of Charleston, South Carolina)

The College of Charleston Architecture & Art History Club will host Brick-by-Brick: Building a Curriculum on a Brick Wall on Saturday, November 22 at the American College of Building Arts.  The purpose of this event is to give the College of Charleston students hands-on experience with masonry and curriculum development.  Students will develop educational modules designed to meet teacher’s goals to teach math, geometry, history, etc. through design and hands-on experiential learning.  The modules will be used in the 3rd through 8th grade level classrooms in the Charleston County Schools by the Design + Arts + Preservation in the Schools (DAPS) initiative in partnership with Engaging Creative Minds.

Not only is this event a great experience to gain inside knowledge into the world of architectural history, preservation, and education, but it also serves as a great resume builder and networking opportunity if these fields are appealing to students looking into the future.

We are seeking a total of twelve students to participate who are interested in architectural history, working with materials, and educational outreach.  This event is open to all College of Charleston students regardless of major who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

To participate, please email you name, major(s), email address, and a statement of no more than 150 words explaining your desire to participate in this event to Meagan Pickens at by Tuesday, November 11. Participants will be notified by November 15.

Brick-by-Brick: Building a Curriculum on a Brick Wall (Call for Participation)

  • Saturday, November 22, 2014
  • 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • American College of Building Arts (DD Lab), 21 Magazine Street (Old City Jail)
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“Reappraising the Fortress City: Risk, Security, and Military Urbanism”

Two British police officers on special duties  at Paddington Station west London, 2 July 2007. EPA/ANDY RAIN

Two British police officers on special duties at Paddington Station west London, 2 July 2007. EPA/ANDY RAIN

Jon Coaffe, Ph.D.-University of Warwick, UK
2014 Urban Studies Convocation Speech

After listening to Jon Coaffe’s convocation speech on October 16, 2014, I developed this summary and analysis of his presentation. Coffee’s research was inter-disciplinary involving different fields of knowledge including urban studies, architecture, geography, and political science. The research presented by professor Coaffe concerns policy responses to terrorism in urban areas. Mr. Coaffe uses London as a case study to explore the historical background of urban terrorism and governmental counter-terrorism programs. An inherent struggle exists in policy responses to urban terrorism because there is a fine line between proper policy and over-reaction. Terrorist attacks represent great opportunities for governments to implement new technologies and methodologies to improve security in urban areas. This can be accomplished by passing new legislation to increase surveillance and militarize the police force.

Coaffe focused much of his convocation speech on counter-terrorism policies in London during the 1990’s. Government policies directed to “design out terrorism” were broached from nearby efforts by the Irish government to quell car bombs in Belfast. This included the introduction of the “ring of steel” involving heavily secured steel entrances into the main city center. Car bombs became an epidemic in Belfast, meanwhile targeted terrorist attacks overwhelmed Central London. Terrorist attacks increased in London during the 1990’s and efforts to defend the city brought controversial new defense policies.

Major policy reforms came as a response to three major terrorist attacks in London. The first attack happened on April of 1992 when a bomb exploded in front of the St. Mary’s Axe building. The explosion caused great damage to the surrounding buildings and led to a substantial economic loss. Surveillance increased in London as a result including the implementation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) technologies. A second major terrorist attack pressured London to embrace their own “ring of steel” technology in what is colloquially called the “ring of plastic.” This new strategy used cones to reduce major entrances in London from thirty to eight. This made the city easier to monitor for safety purposes, but caused an uproar as it weakened London’s core transportation network. The City also adopted Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology at the entrances of the “ring of plastic” to monitor the flow of automobiles in the City.

Arguments were rife in opposition to new counter-terrorism programs because many felt the new safety measures overrode civil-liberties. The city of London discussed the counter-terrorism efforts as an effort to expand and traffic the “environmental zone.” This censored language was employed in order to avoid increasing fears of terrorist attacks in the media and the public realm.  The new surveillance technologies implemented in response to the terrorist attacks proliferated throughout London. Soon London would hace the most cameras of any city in the world. These new safety measures deterred crime inside London’s urban core, but displaced terrorist attacks to its periphery. Despite prevention efforts such as the “iron collar” in the London Docklands the IRA finally succeeded in exploding a bomb in the Quay building in 1996. The local government responded with ANPR, CCTV, and armed guards.

This militarization of space came to the forefront of urban discourse. New theories were born such as “splintered urbanism” and “rings of confidence.” These debates were eventually quieted as the new methodology of counter-terrorism proved fairly successful in prevention. This was short-lived as the terrorist attacks on September 11th in the United States had a global impact in counter-terrorism policy. This devastating loss sparked new fears regarding the scale of potential terrorist threats. Heavy security and militarization measures in London provided extra security to U.S. businesses. Mainstream urban fears came in response to 9/11 including the potential demise of skyscrapers and a new “architecture of terror.”

Washington, D.C. adopted a strategy aimed at “soften[ing] the appearance of the security features, while at the same time hardening security.” London followed suit by utilizing the natural environment for security purposes. This included utilizing trees instead of cement barriers and also using bodies of water instead of concrete walls. These themes are at the core of Jon Coaffe’s research involving military urbanism and its role in fighting urban terrorism.

Urban terrorism has become a global phenomenon causing an epidemic of widespread paranoia. But the popular fears of terrorism are often misplaced. Most cities are more vulnerable to environmental and technological disasters rather than terrorist attacks. The development of new urban areas and the retro-fitting of existing cities is inherently bound to the concept of military urbanism. Jon Coaffe offered a fascinating survey of the historical development of urban terrorism and the subsequent policy responses. Cities are growing and maturing into the loci of political, economic, and social activity within the state, but the core functions of urban living at risk to urban terrorism.

The state is able to exercise infrastructural power throughout the city in the organization and control of transportation networks. The state also exerts social control over the public through the widespread implementation of CCTV and ANPR technologies. The use of armed guards and tanks in London further speaks to the progression towards the militarization of the state. Crime is often deterred from these heavily protected areas, but the effect is short lived as crime is displaced to the outskirts of the city. This creates a demand for increased surveillance in areas surrounding city. This domino effect has the potential to spread the implementation of security efforts throughout the entire state. This would lead to the complete militarization of the state and cause concerns about total social control.

It is intriguing to apply this approach in studying urban areas in the United States. The militarization of the American state is hidden by many facades. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 resulted in highways connecting major cities and military bases throughout the country. This serves as convenience for civilian transportation, but it was also a direct military action. The interstate highway system facilitates the transportation of American troops and nuclear weapons throughout the interior of the country. Another aspect of state militarization is the minimum vertical clearances along interstate highways to allow for the mobilization of nuclear missiles. The United States’ government has been able to militarize the land throughout history, but it becomes more difficult to do so in urban areas.

I found Jon Coaffe’s convocation speech very interesting. I hope this serves as a good summary of his talk and cultivates new ideas to expand on the concepts of urban terrorism, the “architecture of terror”, and the increased militarization of the state.

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Silencing Homer, a Response


CofC musician Corey Campbell plays original score to L’Oddisea

On October fifteenth I ventured to Sotille Theater to see “Silencing Homer, The Iliad and the Odyssey in Early Cinema”. The production was put on by The Archaeological Institute of America and the College of Charleston. It consisted of three short films with piano accompaniment. The audience was supplied with programs that contained a list of the films, a libretto that translated the words on the screen, and information on getting involved in archaeology.

Starting with introductions from Dr. Gentile of the Classics department and Dr. Ibarra of the Art History department, Dr. Ibarra proceeded to explain the ancient worlds influences on film in both the past and even recent years. Even films like The Mummy have ancient influences. The pianist was then introduced and the crackly films started.

I have never experienced a silent film, and was unsure what to expect. Would I be able to follow the story? Would it even be the version of the story that I know? The first film, La Caduta di Troia, quickly eased my worries. I grew up dancing, and found that silent films are much like a ballet. The grand over exaggerated arm gestures substituted for the dialogue. The piano allows the viewer to determine the mood of a particular scene similarly to the way sound tracks in movies today do. I was familiar with the story of the Sack of Troy and this film followed what I had previously known. Compared to many modern movies that stray from the original story line purely for box office sales, this film stayed as true to the original story line as it possibly could.

I have to take a moment here to praise the pianist, Corey Campbell. Having never seen a silent movie I did not really know how the music would go with the scenes. As previously stated, the music cued the audience into the mood of each scene. I was impressed to see how in tuned the pianist was with the movie though. Instead of just playing the music, I noticed how he kept switching his gaze from the sheet music to the movie. He matched the tempo of the music to the motions of the actors. For example, at one point in L’Odissea he plays the notes so that they match up with Odysseus motions of chopping down a tree.

The second movie screened, L’ile de Calypso, I could have honestly done without. This short film did not follow what I had previously known of the stories of the Odyssey. Both Calypso and the Cyclopes seemed very rushed. I was confused as to what was happening. The film was only a few minutes long and according to the program was made to show off the special effects of the time. While I understand the want to show new technology, I do not believe that it enhances the classic stories that it depicts.

L’Odissea was the third and final film of the night. Having been in a production of the Odyssey before, I was most excited for this one, and felt that it was very comprehensive for being only twenty three minutes. During this one I noticed how the color of the scenes seemed to be changing. By the end of the movie I determined that the change of colors were used to inform the viewer of the location or mood of the scene. Yellow for inside, blue for on or near water, red for death or conflict, and green for outdoors. One thing I found particular about this film was how the Italian subtitles said “Atena” for what I could only guess was Athena, while the English translation we were provided with said Minerva. I know that Minerva is the Roman version of Athena, but I thought it was an odd choice of the translator to chose the Roman rather than the Greek. Other than this one particularity, I highly enjoyed this film.

Over all my first experience of silent films as a whole was mixed. While I enjoyed how the film makers mainly stuck to the classic story instead of adding their own artistic liberties, I did not enjoy how the words on the screen that guided you through the story told you what was going to happen before it even took place in the film. I feel like that takes the element of mystery and anticipation of what is going to happen next out of the film. People go to the movies to escape from the realities of the outside world, to be surprised for or worried for the characters on the screen instead of themselves. I feel that the way silent films are set up, it leaves little for surprise. Even then I highly enjoyed my first experience with silent films and thought that the College and The Archaeological Institute of America did a very good job presenting the films.

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Heyward-Washington House Tour TODAY

Calling all students interested in seeing a house museum! Today, October 10, Architecture and Art History Club will be visiting the Heyward-Washington house at 87 Church Street at 3pm to have a specialized tour about the decorative arts within the house as well as the architecture of the house itself. The tour will be $8 which is a deal because normally specialized tours at the house run at about $15. Hope to see you there!

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