Glass in Canada: The First One Hundred Years


282 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-458-95430-6




Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Stevens, the acknowledged expert in Canadian glass and the writer largely responsible for popularizing Canadiana during the 1960s, died in 1981. This landmark work was completed posthumously by two of his former students, Ralph Hedlin and Heidi Redekop. In many ways it is a memorial to a great social historian.

It is the leading reference work for all glass that is of Canadian origin. Generously illustrated — 250 black-and-white and 55 color photographs — the book is useful to the casual collector seeking information about a fleamarket find; at the same time, it will stand up very well to the more intensive scrutiny it will receive from antique dealers, historians, and full-fledged glass collectors.

Following a brief note on Mallorytown, the site of Canada’s first glass manufacturer, the book is divided into sections on paperweights, whimseys (glass figurines, chains, and other non-practical items), lamps, pressed glass, and cut glass. Pressed glass, by far the largest of these, includes a subsection on new patterns for pressed glass.

Lively interviews introduce each section of plates, and the captions for the photos are detailed, combining technical data with opinion and anecdote. Through these descriptions, the reader is introduced to milk, flint, mould-blown, opal, lead, stained, cranberry, sulphide, free-blown, and lime glass. And possibly others.

Both a coffeetable book and an invaluable reference work, Glass in Canada makes a substantial contribution to the literature of Canadian social and cultural history.


Stevens, Gerald, “Glass in Canada: The First One Hundred Years,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 7, 2023,