Monday, August 8, 2011

I collect: Federal Petal

This is a totally new-to-me glassware pattern. Manufactured by Federal Glass, this lovely "Petal" pattern was produced for app. 23 years (1954-1979) in a variety of color choices and iridescent finishes.

But what started me collecting this pattern, only months ago, were these two pieces given to me by my grandmother.
To my surprise, I've since found 3 more pieces from this line, all from thrift stores. First I found a large clear bowl. It was with another sandwich tray that was the same size as my grandmother's. For better or worse I made a decision on the spot to only collect unique sizes and colors from this line, and no duplicates, so I would never be confused as to which pieces actually came from my grandmother.

Since colored glassware generally has more collectors than clear, I was doubtful I'd find other colors anytime soon - especially at a thrift store. But just last week, I found this bowl. The color is called Smoke. From the top, the color is a deep grey with an iridescent finish on the underside. I'm still trying to get a better idea of the range of pieces made in this line. It does not appear that glasses or cups were made for it, and some of the colors - blue & pink in particular- seem far less common.

And though I only have the 5 pieces, I love the way it's worked out so far. I have a bowl for each plate in clear. Stacked like this, it reminds me a bit of the lovely jadeite "Lotus" snack set made by Fire King.

Since I'm a "set" junky, it's hard not to wish I had 3 or so more sets of each, I'd rather stick to my rule and aim for a variety of colors. And worse, I'm a "dishes" junky - so when I find even 1 stray cup or plate in a pattern I like, my immediate thought is "Oh, I'll just collect a service for 4. Nothing huge, or elaborate, or anything."

(cue the music of doom on behalf of my poor husband)

Price-wise, this pattern is still quite inexpensive, and somewhat lost in the sea of similarly lovely, unmarked 50's, 60's & 70's cut glassware. But I think it's just the cats pajamas. I'm tickled too for the fact that my grandmother specifically thought this would be something I'd appreciate. And I certainly do. And I'm looking forward to having another thing to keep my eyes peeled for in the thrift and antique stores. I've seen a few pictures of some of the other colors together, and I can't wait until I have a rainbow of them.

Thank you, grandma. I love you!


  1. I have been collecting this pattern for a few years and recently found an electric lamp with a cherub base, a bowl and then the bulb fixture - but no shade or globe. The lamp part for the bulb could hold a globe with a 1 and 3/4 inch base. I can't find any reference to this electric lamp anywhere an the internet - would you mind looking to see if it is in your book? What type of shade/globe is it supposed to have? Thank you! TH in Nebraska

    1. The only book I have that mentions Petal at all is Collectible Glassware from the 40's 50's 60's - by Gene & Cathy Florence. (It's the 8th edition I'm quoting from. Earlier editions may or may not have Petal listed at all. I know the first edition does not.)

      This is the paragraph that mentions a cherub base:

      "Many pieces have been assembled from the basic listings including: 4 3/4 gold pedestal compote, 7 1/4 cherub pedestal snack tray, 3 1/2 silver and crystal pedestal compote, 6 3/8 gold marble pedestal compote, and jelly/nut in silver holder with spoon."

      You may have a piece that hadn't been discovered at the time this edition went to press. Or it may be that someone has taken pieces (like the cherub pedestal mentioned above) and modified it into a lamp.

      Wish I had a more conclusive answer for you. Hope you find the information you are looking for.

  2. My mother gave me her few pieces that were originally wedding gifts to my father. I have a large collection but everywhere I ask - no one knew pattern name. Today I was looking at images of glass work and some of the clear plates were used with coloured bowls as garden art. The name Federal Glass Petal pattern was on description of some of the glass work. I am very pleased to finally find out name. I use the glassware even thought the the pointed pattern is not best to serve your meal on but why keep it in cabinet - children just sell in yard sale as that is where I have found 2/3 of my set. Canadian daughter

  3. I'm an antique dealer and it's finally worth enough to pay me to sell it in my shop. All these years I didn't know the name of it either. I have a ton of it all sparkly clean and really, grouped like that it's very pretty and showy. I kind of hate to let it go! I have been picking it up for years when it was under a dollar a piece. Now Goodwill is asking $4-$6 for the large plate. I don't think it was meant to be dinnerware, it was for fancy buffets, and the little plates for were for people to hold canapes or tidbits.

    1. I beg to differ regarding petal being made to be used at fancy buffets, rather than simple home cooked meals. Actually, the largest part of depression glass/eapg was mass produced, and at a low cost, making it affordable for even your average consumer to own, and collect. Yes, Petal is very beautiful; what's not to love? But so, so many of them out there too, being collected. This has kept the value of it very low. Prior to covid, the clear colorless glass petal was still widely available at about $2.00 or less for the large serving bowl, and the smaller bowls for about $1.00 - $1.75. And keep in mind, this price has remained fairly stable for last 25 years.
      Recently, however, I've noticed a rather sharp increase (at 3 x's as much over 3 years) in terms of cost to purchase Petal. So, pre covid, say you were paying $1.00, no more than $2.00 for any size of Petal. Following year cost increased to $2.00 - $3.00 piece. Year after that, and it was $3.00 - $4.00 piece. And now, as someone else said, it's priced $4.00 - $5.00 piece. Not sure what's driving up the price, as Petal has been, and is still to this day so widely collected, and not only because of it's beauty, but also because of it costing next to nothing to collect it. So now I too, have become one of these Petal collectors who can serve everyday meals in beautiful elegance, just like the fancy buffets do, but without their cost. Just as Federal intended.

  4. Hi, I recently came across 2 10 1/8" bowls in the petal pattern; Does anyone know how you can tell Federal Glass Co. pcs. and carnival glass apart? My pcs. are un-marked... Do all Federal Glass pcs have they're mark on them?? Thanks in advance!! :)

  5. Federal did not mark all their pieces, and they re-released pieces. For example, they released a couple of the old depression glass patterns from the 30's again in the 1970's
    The company closed in 1980 and now the petal pattern is at the Dollar Tree. The difference is clear. The vintage has a rim around the inside just under where the petal juts out. The pressed design is sharp and has a sparkle. The new stuff doesn't have that rim, the pressed design is rounded and sloppy looking. It doesn't sparkle. Once you see them side by side you will always be able to tell.

  6. I've been collecting in northern ca for about 6 months. I have found many bowls large and small and in three colors. Aqua, light blue and yellow, but have never seen a plate of any size except on ebay

  7. I have a pink petal federal glass bowl up for bid on ebay. The petal tips almost all have small chips but it is beautiful. I believe they could be smoothed out by a person experienced in repairing glass. My ebay profile name is uvalle678. Feel free to contact me.

  8. Can anyone tell me where to get reproduced petal pattern depression glass?

  9. I have 4 clear, 1 green and 1 amber colored
    No chips
    All in pristine condition

    What should I be asking?

  10. I have the same smoke colored dish! Isn't it beautiful? ♡ Money issues have caused me to have to consider selling from my personal collection & I haven't found the same one online anywhere else except your photo. No idea the value but it's one of my very favorite & loved pieces. I might consider this a sign not to sell my beloved dish.