Hobnail glassware gets its name from the studs, or round projections, on the surface of the glass. These studs were thought to resemble the impressions made by hobnails, a type of large-headed nail used in bootmaking.
The history of hobnail glassware is tied to the Fenton Art Glass Company, a renowned maker of glassware. The company began production in 1905. In 1935 the company made the hobnail pattern for a lamp and soon expanded the pattern to perfume bottles, goblets and tumblers.
A particular type of hobnail glassware, milk glass hobnail, was introduced in 1940 but was pulled from production the next year. When Fenton reintroduced milk glass hobnail in 1950, it immediately became popular and eventually turned into a highly collectible item.
Hobnail glassware has a confusing history, as many different types have been produced and discontinued. Throughout all of this varied production, however, milk glass hobnail has remained the signature line. Collectors can purchase reference books and price guides on the subject for detailed information.
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