I do not know when Imperial Glass Corporation (or Company) first made milk glass but suspect that some may have been made from the early days of the company which began making glass about 1904.
The earliest illustrations of Imperial milk glass that I have are in a catalog which was shared with me by a very kind Candlewick collector and which was found in the Bellaire area. This is "Imperial Vintage Milk Glass Catalog D". Unfortunately, Imperial did not date their catalogs until the mid-1960s so we cannot put a definite date on this beautiful catalog. I am taking a guess that the date is about 1946 or 1947. I am assuming that Milk Glass Catalog D is about the same date as Candlewick Catalog D which was put out in the late 1940s.
Milk Glass Catalog D has 20 pages of illustrations plus a front and back cover and an inside front cover page. Many of the items illustrated in the catalog pages are shown on these three cover pages.
"Out of the past into contemporary living, Imperial brings beautiful authentic Milk Glass, reproduced with all the charm of traditional patterns," the front cover states. "Vintage Milk Glass pieces are fascinating for every gift occasion ... as useful as they are decorative. True treasures for Milk Glass Collectors." Stressed on all three cover pages is the information that "the Imperial hallmark, your assurance of American hand-craftsmanship of superlative quality is "pridefully moulded into each lovely piece". The inside cover and back cover show the Imperial "I" superimposed over a "G", the Imperial hallmark or trademark (IG).
The inside front cover of Milk Glass Catalog D is very interesting (shown at right). The page is divided into 15 boxes or sections. Fourteen of these boxes have from one to four pieces of Imperial milk glass illustrated. The 15th section, in the middle of the page at the bottom is a scroll which reads in old-style English where "f" is sometimes used for the letter "s": Yefteryears defigns - traditionally charming timelefs in beauty pleafantly priced. Each piece is identified with this Imperial Hallmark for agelefs recognition." The banner heading at the top of the page states that the pieces are "Exclufive, Accurate Reproductions by Imperial Hand Craftfmen". Another banner at the bottom of the page reads: "From Famous Belknap Collection of Early American Antique Milk Glafs".
Several patterns of milk glass are illustrated in the catalog. Four pages are devoted to "Vintage Grape" patterns. Two pages show a handsome "Scroll" pattern. One page shows "Hobnail" while others show "Open Edge" patterns with several different bases, including quilted and ribbed. No names are given in the catalog for the patterns. All the milk glass pieces are in the Imperial 1950 Line. We will discuss this further in other articles.
A few plates and vases are identified by names such as rose, loganberry, etc. Many pages in the catalog are devoted to creamers and sugars, vases, wall plates and assorted serving, decorated, accessory and novelty pieces.
The photos below are the front cover of Catalog D minus a few pieces which had to be trimmed from the left side so that the illustration would fit the page, and the back cover of the catalog.
Editor's note: Since the Milk Glass Catalog D cover state that each piece is marked with their IG trademark perhaps we can better date the catalog by remembering that the IG trademark was patented in 1951.