What Is Stretch Glass?

Stretch Glass:  A strange name for such beautiful glassware! Stretch glass was made by a number of American glass factories from about 1916 to the early 1930's. It was either pressed or blown into molds. When the piece of glass was still hot from the mold, it was sprayed with metallic salts to give the surface iridescence. It was then reheated and "worked" in some way (flared out, cupped in or crimped, etc.). The working of the glass "stretched" the iridescent surface and produced an "onion skin" effect. See the photograph of the edge of the blue stretch glass plate on the right. You can see how pronounced this effect can be! Some pieces of stretch glass will have very obvious "stretch marks." Other pieces that have not been worked as much will have very fine "stretch marks." Stretch glass differs from carnival glass in two distinct ways. Carnival glass was "worked" first and then iridized -- and carnival glass was heavily patterned while stretch glass has little or no pattern.

Detail of stretch glass plate showing "onion skin" effect.

This photo collage shows some of the variety of Stretch Glass.

To view a step-by-step description of how Stretch Glass is made, click here.