Thursday, January 28, 2010

Goofus Glass - the original shabby chic

I adore "Goofus Glass."  I love the heavy pressed glass feel and patterns, I love that you will almost always find it in some kind of chippy paint condition.  I love that it is usually found with cabbage rose patterns and some of them really big and textural. I love that it comes in a variety of items and I love that you can usually find it at an affordable price.

If you haunt thrift stores, antique shops, or do the yard sale shuffle, you have most likely come across this unique item and often passing it by. 

Goofus glass is pressed glass which was cold, unfired paint decorated in America by several prominent glass factories. It's production began in the 1900s and all but ended in the 1930s.  It was made in considerable quantities and sold originally for very little. It was also given away as premiums for buying things, awarded as prizes at fairs, and was the first carnival glass preceding the iridized pieces known as carnival glass today.  Goofus glass was not originally known as "Goofus."  It most likely gained that name because the painted decoration wasn't very durable and people felt perhaps that it was "goofy" or that someone had tried to "goof - us". Produced in a myriad of colors, it is most often found in the brilliant, strawberry red, hits of brilliant green and the ubiquitous leaf gold paint background.  I just like that it was utilized as prizes at local fairs and carnivals.  (I have an affection for these unique public gatherings).

This is the back of a piece of Goofus glass. You can see how the cold paint has chipped away from the foot of the bowl.  You must be careful when cleaning Goofus as it is often found quite dirty and dusty.  I always use a soft, warm and damp wash cloth with a little Ivory Dishing liquid and carefully clean it that way. I then allow it to air dry.  (Ivory is not a detergent and is extremely gentle on fiber so it makes it a perfect cleaning product for most antique pieces. It is the only thing I use to hand wash wash vintage whites as well as fleece and wool items as it leaves no residue and does not harm the fiber or diminish the color)   Never, ever utilize a cleaning spray or put Goofus glass in your dishwasher...those products or appliances will completely remove the cold paint which makes Goofus so "goofus".

There is a wonderful website for learning about Goofus glass and the many items produced as well as what is "NOT" Goofus glass. It is called the Goofus Glass Museum .  A wonderful source for all things Goofus, below are a few examples of the many faces of Goofus glass from that website.

Wonderful full, cabbage roses covered powder dish.

 Beautiful Gone with the Wind Lamp.  I have only seen one of these and they are extraordinary.  Can't you just see this on a parlor table at Christmas?

 The definitive flower vase. You can find these often without their paint and usually a sun purple. Wonderfully shabby.

Pretty plate.  These can be found easily and usually around $12.00.

Great berry and bowl serving set.

Nice salt shaker. 

I have been fortunate enough to find several of the opalescent Goofus glass offerings.  They are lovely to see and the opalescent really enhances the gold leaf cold paint.  These are in the pricier range ($60.00-75.00) but so worth it. 

Goofus glass can be found everywhere and at prices usually under $20.00 with smaller pieces at the under $10.00 level. A friend of mine collected this for years and would display all of his pieces on his mantle and cupboards during the Christmas holidays.  He would intertwine pine boughs and holly and pretty mercury glass garland throughout.  It was such a lovely look. I think that is why I enjoy it so much.  It truly lends itself well to all things shabby.  Sea Witch


Kathy-Catnip Studio said...

I enjoyed this - and the photos perfectly illustrate their charm!

Javajune said...

I've seen this glass many times but never knew what it was called. Now I know! You should definitely have that crown. It's beautiful!

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Where have I been?....these rae beautiful!

Kathleen said...

I have learned something new...thanks so much for this little tutorial. I will be on the watch for more of this glassware in my travels. Hugs, Kathleen

Mammabellarte Rita Reade said...

Never seen goofus glass before! Thank you for sharing and it's always nice to see your comment on my blog. Grazie Rita mammabellarte

annie said...

I think you like goofus glass because you like the sea. It reminds me of the sea. Oohh---from a pirate ship!
Thank you SO much for stopping by and commenting!
I'm glad you liked my paintbrushes. I've had them a long time and that wall needed a little something that weekend.

Jacque said...

Good Morning Witch...You know, I don't recall ever seeing any of this glass. I have seen Carnival glass but no Goofus Glass. Thanks for the info, I will be on the look-out for it when I peruse my fav spots!

Have a great weekend. Hope you are doing good at your new location!

Anonymous said...

I have the Goofus Rose bud vase - it belonged to my grandmother, and it was in our home ever since I can remember. I always wondered about it, and was glad to see your website. Can anyone tlel me what the little metal piece attached to the bottom on the inside of the vase was for?