How is Milk Glass Made?

Milk glass is very popular for collectors and comes in a variety of colors. You may find it in blue, yellow, pink, brown, black, and the white color that gives it is name. In some instances, milk glass may glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. This has much to do with the fluorite that is used in production. Fluorite is actually fluorescent, which can make milk glass even more exciting than ever.

But how exactly is milk glass made?

We know at this point that fluorite is involved in the manufacturing process. But what else is?

The manufacturing process

One of the reasons why milk glass is such a collectible is because the fluoride that is used in the manufacturing process corroded the molds used to create the milk glass items. This meant the molds didnít survive the production process very long. The cost of replacing the molds frequently can prove to be quite expensive.

As for the manufacturing process, there have been various processes used throughout the centuries. For instance, in the 1840s, arsenic was used in the batch to give the glass a very deep white. It made it look opalescent. Some of the earlier opalescent pieces also were rather fiery around the edges due to the arsenic used in the batch.

From the 1840s to the 1870s, a mild white milk glass was also present because flint glass was used. It contained lead. When this mixture was poured into a mold, it could be created into great pieces. It rings like a bell, which is how these milk glass pieces are dated.

After the 1960s, milk glass production declined in the U.S. for the fact that the fluoride was leaching into streams and rivers and it made production in the United States very difficult. That is why you wonít find milk glass made the old way now. Much more contemporary and environmentally safe methods are used nowadays.

One of the methods that have been open to debate is that tin oxide was added during the smelting process. Because of a chemical reaction between the glass and the chemical, the white appearance occurred. The milk glass then retained this appearance, which is why it was and is frequently sought after.

Milk glass today

Nowadays, there are simple methods that have been put in place to manufacture milk glass. Plain glass and a little paint is used to create the milk glass effect. Many pieces look very close to the real thing, but collectors can usually tell the difference.

But there are still manufacturers creating milk glass for dinnerware and various other pieces. There are also a lot of faux pieces, which is something that collectors look out for. Some of the faux pieces are so close to the real thing, but they lack certain qualities.

Nevertheless, there are still a lot of pieces from the 1950s and 1960s that utilized fluoride in the process that are still available and for reasonable prices. For those wishing to collect, now is the time to get started.