Collectibles · Kitchen

Uranium Glass Surprise

Last summer, we started buying goods from online estate auctions.  All the bidding is done online and then when the auction is over, you can pick up the items in person a few days later.  Some companies are better than others.  Some just take a picture and don’t describe the items very well.  Others take more time with descriptions and more detailed photos.  Since I don’t like the traditional estate sale where you stand in line for hours and then have to battle inside the house over the items you want to purchase, I really like this concept….a lot.

I’ve probably gotten burned on a couple of lots where the items in the photos were not in as good a condition as the pictures made them look.  Or in the case of Pyrex, the photo may have made the bowl look bigger than it actually was, therefore, not worth as much as I thought.  For the most part though, I think we will come out ahead once everything has sold.

One of the last boxes we picked up for the season was a bit of a disappointment.  A lot of the Pyrex had chips in the lids and rims of the bowls that were not disclosed in the auction description or in the photos.  This made the items worth about half of what I thought I could get for them.  But, there were two items in the box that were not pictured in the original auction photos, or any photo on that site for that matter.  One was an 8-cup clear Pyrex measuring cup and the other was a 2-cup green depression glass measuring cup.

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I’ve often wondered if these items were added to this lot because there were so many damaged pieces in the box.  Perhaps an employee broke some of the items after the auction was over and they put these in to up the value of the items. I just don’t know.

The first thing that struck me as a little off about the cup is the writing on the bottom.  I’ve never seen one that said “Measuring and Mixing Cup”.  I don’t know if that makes this older than the ones I normally see, but imagine my surprise when hubby’s little stocking-stuffer (a magnifying glass that has different colored LED lights on it), proved that this was indeed Uranium Glass.

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I was quite happy, I can tell you.  Uranium was added to glass in the 1830s to create interesting colors. It has been produced continually except for a 15-20 year period starting around 1939 (during World War II), when they stopped producing Uranium Glass due to the war.  Uranium Glass is still being produced today, although in a much more limited capacity.  A black light shining on a piece of green or yellow glass will glow if there is uranium in it. You won’t notice it as easily if the lights are on, so check it out in the dark. But I can’t seem to part with it at the moment, so it’s going in my kitchen collection, at least for now.

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And there is no need to worry that Uranium Glass (or Vaseline Glass as it is also referred to), will emit tons of radiation.  You are exposed to more radiation in your everyday surroundings than you’d be exposed to from one piece of Uranium Glass.  So don’t be afraid to collect it.  As long as you get enough iodine in your diet each day, your body can fight off these exposures to radiation.

Check out some of these great finds on Amazon (affiliate links).

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