Ruby Flash glass is also known as Ruby Stained glass. It probably looks familiar, because just about any antique shop will have a couple pieces. If they know what they're doing, they will display them in a window or near a light source:
Ruby Flash glass is basically decorated pattern glass. It was popular from the 1890's to the late 1920's here in the U.S. The glass was coated with a chemical solution containing copper sulfide and baked in a kiln, turning the coating bright red. Sometimes entire sets of dinnerware were "flashed", occasionally with touches of gold. Ruby Flash also became a popular souvenir glass sold at fairs and train stations.
The two upside down items below are both a "button arches" glass pattern. The little mug that says "State Fair" is a variation of a thumbprint pattern:
If sold at train stations or tourist attractions, souvenir glass would have the name of the city and state and the local landmark on it if applicable. The souvenir items were personalized with the year, event, and buyer's name if sold at a fair:
The popularity of Ruby Flash glass began to wane right around 1929, probably due to the onset of the Great Depression. You might find pieces dated much later than that, however.
The basket below is dated 1929, a souvenir from the Michigan State Fair:
This piece I purchased recently, a spooner, had the owner's note inside with the amount they spent on it. Luckily, I bought it on the second day of the estate sale and I will be able to offer it to my customers in the sixty-something dollar range:
Individual Ruby Flash pieces are an affordable collectible. You can find items in the eight to eighty dollar range for a single piece, and more for a two-piece item like a covered butter dish.
To get an idea of the current values of Ruby Flash glass, visit The Find for an extensive list of offerings. You will learn the names of the glass patterns there too.
"King's Crown" is one of the most common patterns you will find. Several different glass companies made a variation of King's Crown. The name comes from the zig-zag design, like the top of a crown. The goblet below is King's Crown and Thumbprint. The little "cauldron" has a daisy and button pattern around the rim:
Photo Credit: Atop The Table
Ruby Flash glass makes a beautiful and affordable collectible. Isn't it better than "junk"? I know junk is popular right now, and junk is fun, but junk won't have any value in the future. A little collection of Ruby Flash glass would be nice to hand down to a grandchild someday, don't you agree?