Pressed glass dates back to the 1820s when glass pressing machines came into existence. Glass companies make pressed glass or pattern glass, by pouring hot, molten glass into molds using a plunger. These engraved molds shape the glass as it cools so when the glassmaker removed the glass from the mold it held the shape of the mold. Pressed glass features blunt edges on all facets, seams where the mold pieces came together, and precise, regularly spaced facets. Once removed from the mold, the edges of the pressed glass piece were sometimes smoothed out.
The introduction of the glass pressing machine significantly reduced the cost of manufacturing glass, which meant that more companies in the United States, Canada, and England began producing pressed glass.These glass companies made glassware in a variety of patterns, colors, and styles, naming each pattern with a unique name to encourage people to buy it.
When shopping for pressed glass, you need to be able to differentiate vintage pressed glass pieces from vintage cut glass as well as Depression glass. The simplest way to do this is to inspect the piece closely. If you are shopping for pressed glass online, you may want to ask the seller for close-up photos of the item. What you are looking for is two to four seams positioned at even intervals along the surface of the piece. These seams are sometimes well hidden in the design of the glass item, so be sure to look carefully for the seams. Items like cups and bowls have seams along the sides, while items like facets and plates have seams along the edge or rim.
Although many pressed glass collectors simply display their collections, pressed glass is incredibly durable, so if you want to eat off your pressed glass dishes, go right ahead.