It seems a bit ironic that the Great Depression, aptly described as a dismal, gray period in our history, lent its name to a plethora of rainbow-colored, ornate glassware, but that is exactly what happened. At a time when numerous American manufacturers were folding due to the prevailing economic stress, a revolutionary machine that raised production rates from one item per minute to upwards of thirty items per minute proved to be the saving grace for many glass producers. Just as consumers were forced to tighten their purse strings, mass production translated to lower prices for glassware.
Some manufacturers used this new, inexpensive glassware as an incentive to purchase their products. Many of today's seniors may recall the excitement of opening boxes of a variety of products from oatmeal to detergent to find a lovely tumbler or dish inside. Filling stations attracted customers with the pretty glassware while movie theaters and other businesses were known to hand out a piece simply for coming in the door. The glassware could also be purchased through mail order catalogs or at the local "five and dime" for, well, a nickel or a dime. The desire to own a complete table setting of a particular pattern inspired home-makers to become astute shoppers and avid collectors.
The current exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Center in New Hampton, entitled "Frugal Beauty" aims to expand upon the story of and inspire a renewed appreciation for Depression Glass. On display through April 19, the exhibit features many pieces from the large collection of Vi and Darrell Albrecht as well as selected examples provided by others. The glittering colors and charming patterns of the Depression Glass displays will surly lift anyone's spirits at this somewhat gray time of year.
An exhibit open house reception is scheduled for Sunday, March 22, from 1:30 - 3:30. Refresh-ments will be served and visitors that day are encouraged to bring in pieces of their own Depression Glass and share the stories associated with them.
Admission to the Carnegie Cultural Center is free. It is open Thursdays noon - 6 pm; Saturdays 10 am - 4 pm; Sundays 1 - 4 pm or anytime by appointment. For more information, phone 641.394.2354, email email@example.com or visit the Cultural Center's website at www.carnegieculturalcenter.org
PHOTO: Darrell (L) and Vi Albrecht pose with some of the pieces included in the Cultural Center
exhibit, "Frugal Beauty."