|Description: A milk glass cat container, with both a lid and bottom. (a) The lid is a white cat lying on a flat surface with fur and face detail. The cat has blue eyes with black pupils that are glass. (b) There is dancing sailor edging at the top. |
Milk glass is a term used by glass makers to describe an opaque white glass. The German term is 'milch-glass', the Italian term is 'lattimo', and the French term is 'blanc-de-lait' or 'verre-de-lait'. Milk glass was first developed in Venice in the 14th or 15th Century. The white opaque colour was made by adding in tin oxide. In the 17th and 18th Century it was very popular to decorate this glass with enamel paint
During the 19th and 20th century, a great deal of pressed opaque white glass was made. This inexpensive glassware was also known by names such as Vitro-Porcelain or Porcelain Glass. This is the kind of white glass that is usually collected by milk glass collectors. Manufacturers often made other colours in the same patterns, especially blue, which have been classified as milk glass as well, but are not the colour of milk. This makes it confusing and hard for the researcher looking for information concerning 'real' milk glass.