Glassware was expensive to buy in the archaic times. Fine crystal could not be afforded by everyone. Sipping wine from a crystal goblet was a privilege availed only by a selected few. This is when pressed glass came to the forefront. John P. Bakewell is credited for the invention of this glass in the year 1825. Articles made from this glass were beautiful and affordable at the same time. A plunger was used as the tool to produce the patterns on this glass.
When pressed glass was invented in the year 1825, it was referred to as lacy glass. The designs of this type of glass were produced by employing a technique called stippling. This technique involved decorating the glassware with dots on the interior, giving them a rich look. This technique encouraged the production of many objects such as candlesticks, goblets, fancy plates, and ornate water jugs. Later during the mid 19th century, the formerly called lacy glass adorned a new term for itself, that is pattern glass.
Stippling as a technique, gave way to colored glass patterns. The colors made the glassware look more attractive. Blue and green were the colors of the 'royal' class. Nature designs became the backbone of pressed glass patterns. Borders were also introduced to the glassware. The late 19th century saw the onset of opal or opaque glass. Collectors now refer to it as the milk glass. The milky color of this glass was due to the addition of bone ash. The latest to join this list was named the vaseline glass.
As time elapsed, pressed glass patterns were not just confined to the different color usage or natural backgrounds and borders. Patterns of cut glass were adapted while designing the patterns of pressed glass. Patterns such as Ashburton (named after Alexander Baring 'Lord Ashburton' of Great Britain.), Diamond Thumb-print, and Bellflower were the classic cut glass designs imitated by people for producing pressed glass. These patterns were found on kitchen cutlery such as goblets, plates, jugs, food bowls, spoons, and knife rests.
Pressed glass can be identified by its edges, as they are round and smooth. It ranks low in terms of index of refraction. One can also find mold marks on the pressed glass, whereas cut glass is free of such marks. You can identify pressed glass by gently tapping it on another object. The sound produced will be dull and thick.