Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vintage Wedding Cake Stands - Victorian Glass, Milk Glass and More

Two versions of the 'Constellation' pattern by Indiana Glass, 1960s.  The round version is more difficult to find. 
I’ve found some lovely vintage and antique glass cake stands lately, dating from the 19th century into the 1960s.  I sell lots of cake stands in my Etsy shop, primarily to brides who want to use them at their receptions.  I’ve had brides buy a group of four or five different cake stands to display cupcakes and one bride bought ten of the same model to use first at pre-wedding events, then she gave them to members of the bridal party.   Milk glass from the 1960s is quite popular these days, and 19th century cake stands, which come in literally thousands of patterns, have long had a following.
Turquoise blue milk glass cake stands--in two graduated sizes--topped by a tumbler.
Left and center:  Cake stands by Hobbs, Brokunier, Co., circa 1879; right: 'Manhattan' pattern by US Glass, circa 1902
Detail of the Hobbs Brokunier 'Tree of Life' cake stand
EAPG, as it is often called, is short for early American pattern glass--though ‘early’ is a bit of a misnomer, as this type of glass dates from the mid-19th century to 1910.  Pressing patterns into the glass was an affordable way to create highly elaborate decoration, which made these pieces accessible to a broad audience.  Most patterns were made in colorless glass, but some blues, yellows, greens and other colors were used as well.
'Cottage' pattern by Adams, 1870s, and 'Daisy and Button,' likely by Fenton, c 1930
Vaseline glass cake stand, circa 1880
Pattern glass (and 19th-century glass in general) is prone to small specks of sand or ash within the glass (called inclusions), bubbles and sometimes the plate is slightly off level.  Evidence of utensil marks on the top of the plate is also pretty standard.    Condition is always important, but because of the age of the older cake stands, I tend to be a little bit more forgiving of tiny chips in the glass.
Two 'Thousand Eye' cake stands by Adams, 1870s
A great online resource for information on 19th-century glass is www.patternglass.com--so many pretty examples are shown!
Thousand eye pattern in amber glass
The popularity of milk glass in the 1950s and ‘60s was at least in part a revival of the earlier pattern glass, with some companies even using the old molds of popular patterns.  Fenton and Westmoreland were the leading manufacturers of milk glass, both creating an opaque, snowy white glass.  Though each cake stand was made in a mold there was a certain amount of hand finishing, which leads to minor variations.  
This is the most popular cake stand I sell--Fenton's hobnail pattern milk glass cake stand, produced from the 1950s into the 1980s
Westmoreland's 'Petal and Ring' pattern square milk glass cake stand, in white and hard-to-find blue
A simple, modern take:  Fenton's 'Silver Crest' on the left and 'Gold Crest' on the right.  The translucent band of glass at the rim could be had in many different colors.
As the name suggests, white was the usual color for milk glass, but most manufacturers produced opaque glass in limited range of colors as well.  Fenton’s line of pastel colors was made only for a short time in the mid 1950s and is very desirable today--especially the turquoise.
A hard to find Fenton hobnail cake stand in turquoise milk glass, mid 1950s.
Blue milk glass was made in the 19th and early 20th centuries as well--the top cake stand is c. 1900, the middle is Fenton's green pastel 'Spanish Lace' from 1954, and the bottom is Fenton's turquoise Silver Crest from the 1950s.
A black amethyst (which is really a very dark purple) glass cake stand
Something important to note--many brides have asked me if I have a vintage pedestal cake stand in a size large enough to accommodate an 18 inch round (or larger) wedding cake.   Unfortunately, I don’t know of any vintage cake stands larger than 13 or maybe 14 inches in diameter, and those generally have space for only a 10 or 11 inch round cake.  Even new glass or ceramic pedestal cake stands can be difficult to find in large sizes because of the limitations of the material (both tend to warp).
Fenton 'Daisy and Button' and Indiana 'Teardrop'
'Colony' by Indiana Glass, 1960s
Don't know the name of this pattern
There are many more patterns and colors that I have not illustrated--these are just a few of the vintage cake stands in my shop or that I have sold in the past.  You can stop by my Etsy shop here--I am happy to work with brides to find just the right piece! 
An unusual Fenton example--no hobnails, no silver crest.  Just plain!
Duncan Miller cake stand in the Sandwich pattern
Cake stand made by Fostoria in the Arlington pattern
Cake stand by Imperial Glass
Fenton 'Thumbprint' cake stand
Lattice border cake stand by Westmoreland
'Teardrop' pattern by Fenton, made between 1958 and 1966
Fenton 'Cactus' pattern cake stand from the 1950s

© All text and images are copyright of Jeni Sandberg 2011-2015


  1. Great topic and wonderful information! A little history lesson in art appreciation...I feel a little smarter already.

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