Out of the Museum

Last week's mystery question was easy for some residents

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted

While last week’s mystery item wasn’t a mystery to some residents, this week’s mystery item might be more of a puzzle. 

If you know, please send answers to Answers will appear in next week’s newspaper.

As always, readers are encouraged to visit the Lincoln Area Archives Museum, located downtown at 640 5th St. and see the mystery items in person. Museum hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at 640 5th St.


Last week’s mystery item

Richard C. Baron gave a detailed answer: “The glass on display is carnival glass. Carnival glass was produced during the early 1900s until about 1925 to 1926. It is ‘pressed’ glass and gets its appearance and color from a special process that is used during its production. Carnival glass was known by many other names; however, it subsequently became known as carnival glass when it became affordable and began appearing as prizes at fairs and carnivals. (If it were not for the fact that we have had pieces of carnival glass, I would not have recognized it).”

Marti Berntsen also said that the glass featured last week is referred to as carnival glass.

And Heidi Smith emailed, “What you have is called carnival glass and I had some for many years. It was called carnival glass because you could win pieces of it at carnivals.”

Thanks to a generous donation by Lincoln Hills resident Rosalie Meyers, the museum now displays some beautiful carnival glass on display and also sells it in the museum gift shop.

Carnival glass was also called aurora glass, dope glass, taffeta glass and disparagingly, “a poor man’s Tiffany.” Carnival glass was the term first used by collectors as early as 1940.

The glass was created in 1887 by the Northwood Glass Company. The Empire Glass Company began in 1901 in Ohio and was famous for ware used at carnivals, jelly jars and hotel tumblers. Another Northwood company was called Indiana Glass Works, which became the Dugan Glass Company in 1907. 

Carnival glass comes in at least 50 colors and in many shapes and forms.

Not all carnival glass was distributed as prizes at carnivals, fairs and fiestas. “The evidence suggests the vast majority of it was purchased by women who loved pretty glassware to brighten their homes but hadn’t the means to purchase Tiffany glass,” according to Wikipedia.

This cheaper form of glassware is made in molds.  The glass is also made by using free form.  The artisan makes the pieces manually with his tools.

Carnival glass was at its peak production in the 1920s.  It is made today but in limited quantities.