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Our History...

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The History of the National Milk Glass Collectors Society

In 1984, when a group of milk glass collectors answered an advertisement placed in several trade magazines by Walter Sill, a milk glass collector and entrepreneur from Nashville, Tennessee, history was made.

Regis and Mary Ferson of Pittsburgh, PA had already published a book, Yesterday's Milk Glass Today, in 1981. This sparked the interest of Walt Sill. In 1983, Walt conceived the idea of holding a convention where milk glass collectors could come together and talk and learn about opaque glassware. Walt contacted the Ferson's, who encouraged him in his pursuits, and agreed to come to this newly conceived convention.

Walt, not being sure if anyone else would be willing to travel to Nashville, pushed ahead. He placed ads and sat back and waited for responses. Just a few months after placing the ads, he had reservations from people representing ten states and a total of fifty people with paid reservations and expectations of seventy to one hundred attendees.

The agenda at this first convention is basically the same agenda that is still followed at today's conventions. There was a dealer setup area, exhibit of rare pieces, a trading area, a business meeting and an auction of three hundred pieces of milk glass. Enthusiasm ran high and there was a general agreement that the group should meet again the following year.

Conventions were held in 1985 in Pittsburgh, PA and again in 1986 back in Nashville. In 1987, the convention was held again in Nashville and at this convention the NATIONAL MILK GLASS COLLECTORS SOCIETY was officially organized. The following were elected to office: Jim Slater, President; George Storey, Vice President; Judy Reynolds, Secretary; Kathy Mroz, Treasurer. The first executive board members were: Helen Storey, Terry Baker (Simpson), Margaret Horsman, Stan Sohl, and James Reynolds serving as its Chairman. Mary Ferson, Regis Ferson, and Walter Sill were voted as Honorary Presidents (later modified to Honorary Members).

The NATIONAL MILK GLASS COLLECTORS SOCIETY is dedicated to the preservation, study, and enjoyment of milk glass including all periods and manufacturers, both domestic and foreign. The society promotes research projects, information exchange, and social activities to increase and enhance the knowledge and acquisition of milk glass by its members.

Our official publication, Opaque News, is issued four times a year, in March, June, September, and December. Each issue, averaging between 15-20 pages, contains notices about the society's activities, articles on the history, production, identification, and other concerns relating to milk glass. Listings and color photos of previously unlisted pieces are featured, as well as reports on auction sales, book reviews, and members' activities. Members are also welcome to place ads, free of charge, listing pieces they wish to sell or buy.

Above all, the society seeks to promote communication and good fellowship among its members in the United States and International.

Each year, the society sponsors a convention. The convention is held in various parts of the United States to allow members from different areas to attend. We seem to hit the eastern and middle states more as volunteers are always needed to host, and they seem to be coming from those states. We have been to Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Pennsylvania just to name a few. The program includes prominent speakers, an auction of three hundred pieces of milk glass, and arrangements for dealers and individual members to sell, buy, and exchange pieces. Check our Convention page for the upcoming convention and to check out our previous conventions.

Membership entitles you to Opaque News, the society's newspaper, admission to the convention, and all the talk about milk glass you can stand. We have a library from which all members can check out resources by notifying the librarian.

Two of our members have published a book, called, The Milk Glass Book, by Frank Chiarenza and Jim Slater. The members of the society provided the items to be photographed for the book. It is currently available through the Schiffer Publishing Company and other book sale outlets.

The Society has access to original molds and produces a different commemorative covered animal dish each year. The Society owns several plungers that are used to stamp the Society logo and the date and place of the convention for the year the commemorative is pressed. These are then sold at the convention and can be purchased by members only.

If you wish to become a member of the society, please visit our Membership page for additional information.