During the 20th century Depression years from the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, companies such as Federal, MacBeth-Evans, and Anchor-Hocking produced inexpensive glassware that was affordable by everyone. Some of this Depression glass was given away for free as premiums for gasoline, bank accounts, consumer goods, and movie theatre passes, They could also be found in boxes of food. The glass was attractive, produced in bright colors and styles. Because of technological advances of the day, this machine-made glass could be manufactured in volume, and was competitive in style with the far more expensive hand-blown glass which only the rich could afford.
The product was a sign of the times, when households were furnished from goods at the five and dime store, since the majority of people could not afford luxuries. Made by pressure in machines, the glass was a much lower quality, resulting in a brittle product that often did not survive day-to-day handling. Popular colored patterns include clear, amber, red, pink, green, and blue. They range in style from simple floral designs to ornate Art Deco. Because they are popular collectibles which have been reproduced in modern times, it is important to learn to distinguish between the delicate originals which can command higher prices and modern reproductions.