Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: The Carnival Glass Collection

When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, then they often become items that are tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and memories so your treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.

Friday Night Family Heirlooms: telling their stories…

The Carnival Glass Collection

Carnival glass is a molded or pressed glass, always with a pattern and always with a shiny, metallic, iridescent surface shimmer.

carnival glass_0001 (633x800)

Grandmama Bryan’s Carnival Glass

Grandmamma Bryan’s glassware was displayed in a cabinet with sliding doors in the dining room and often caught my eye as a young girl; it was very tempting to me as I always wanted to touch the pieces, but all the grandchildren knew they were off limits to touch. I didn’t dare attempt to as Grandmamma Bryan or “Mama Bryan” as I called her, had put the fear in me to Not Touch! And I didn’t!

carnival glass_0002 (800x693)

On one of my trips home, after I married, I expressed to her how much I loved her Carnival Glass and before I left she opened the cabinet and gave me these goblets. I was quite surprised as I had never seen her take any of the pieces out of the cabinet to use.

Bryan family_0001 (800x538)

You can see Grandmama Bryan’s cabinet in the far left and faintly see pieces of her Carnival glassware inside. Around the table, starting on the right is my grandmother, Evelyn Bryan, cousin Robert Bryan, granddaddy Paul Bryan, aunt Vivian and uncle Floyd Bryan, and my great uncle John William Gossett (Evelyn Bryan’s half brother. This looks like it was taken at Christmas, by seeing the tall candles and greenery in front of the window. Cousin Paulette took the photo with her new camera from Uncle John William for Christmas. He always gave great gifts; I still have my Cinderella watch he gave me one year.

My mother told me that when she first married my father they often went to the carnival when it came to town – it was a place where you could walk around and enjoy – for very little money. They always brought a piece home to his mother – maybe it was bought or daddy possibly won it, I don’t know, but I guess grandmamma enjoyed the pieces as she prominently displayed them in her glass cabinet. The grandchildren were never allowed to touch them!

If they could only talk, we might hear… “step right up,  for one thin dime, win a glass!”

My cousin has several pieces of her collection and shared photos for my post. When asked if she knew how grandmamma acquired all of her collection she surmised that sometimes pieces were given away at the movies or in boxes of flour or sugar, so that could be how some of the pieces came to be. At best now, we can only speculate how she gathered her pieces.

Carnival glass of Grandmama Bryan displayed by my cousin

Click Friday Night Family Heirlooms to read more stories…

Click 52 Weeks 52 Ancestors to read family stories…

© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

Family Heirloom Bloggers:

I started a Family Heirloom challenge in November 2015 asking fellow bloggers to join me in telling the stories of their family heirlooms. Writing the stories of the family heirlooms I’ve been entrusted with, has been on my mind for a long time; the time is now and I plan to write their stories on a weekly basis.

Please check out the weekly Family Heirloom stories of…

Blogger: Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls
Blogger: Karen Biesfeld at Vorfahrensucher
Blogger: Kendra Schmidt at trekthrutime
Blogger: Linda Stufflebean at Empty Branches on the Family Tree
Blogger:  Schalene Jennings Dagutis at Tangled Roots and Trees
Blogger: True Lewis at Notes to Myself
Blogger: Vera Marie Badertscher at Ancestors in Aprons                              Blogger: Heather Lisa Dubnick at  Little Oak Blog
Blogger: Kathy Rice at
Blogger: Mary Harrell-Sesniak at  Genealogy Bank Heirlooms Blog
Blogger: Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Check out her Blog at –  52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap  for links to more Heirloom posts.


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at:
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4 Responses to Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: The Carnival Glass Collection

  1. They certainly are beautiful. I wouldn’t have let the grandchildren handle them either.


  2. Kathy says:

    Those are beautiful with a family story to go with them.


  3. What a delightful collection. I had never seen anything like some of those in your cousin’s collection. Glad your grandmother protected them for you!


  4. Luanne @ TFK says:

    Beautiful! You are so right about the stories remaining with the heirlooms. I’m at a loss how to let my kids know because I have heirlooms sprinkled throughout the house and mixed in with other things.


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