thrifted goodies – hobnail & ruffle vintage milk glass

Hello friends!  Welcome to the next installment of thrifted goodies! If you enjoy thrift shopping and love the thrill of the hunt, then, this post is for you. I love milk glass, as I suspect many of you do too. Today I am sharing information about vintage hobnail and ruffle milk glass in particular.

vintage hobnail & ruffle milk glass

The Thrifted Goodies series consists of monthly posts where Rachel from the Antiqued Journey and I share thrift store goodness. Topics might include particular finds, tips, techniques and general advice about thrift shopping in general.

Rachel always finds amaZing thrifted pieces, and you don’t want to miss her latest post. If you don’t know Rachel yet, make sure to hop over, introduce yourself and check out her Thrifted Goodies – Volume 13 post.

vintage goodies – thrifted decor for mid summer

This month we have Cecilia from My Thrift Store Addiction joining us for triple the fun. The name of Cecilia’s blog says it all, and you are in for a treat.

thrifted goodies guest post

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a bit about vintage hobnail and ruffle milk glass pieces

Milk Glass is a popular type of collectible glassware also known as Opaque Glass or Opal Glass. The most popular color is white hence the “milk” glass name, but milk glass comes in an array of colors. The green is another favorite of mine also known as Jadeite | Jadite.

Milk glass is believed to have been made as early as the 1500s in Venice, Italy. In the USA it was produced as early as 1850s. The Victorian era was well known for all its frilly details and hence the ruffle edges became very popular on the milk glass pieces.

The hobnail pattern was made popular by a company named Fenton Art Glass Company. Although their hobnail pattern was introduced in 1939, hobnail pieces in white opaque glass are said to have been introduced several years later, in about 1950. The hobnail pattern is a popular decorative style from the midcentury.

A couple of my pieces still have the Fenton sticker on them. Bill Fenton, the company’s president, believed the hobnail to be the “bread & butter” of their product selection hence why the pattern is found in so many shapes and styles.

a small collection of vintage hobnail and ruffle milk glass pieces

I have a small collection of these hobnail and ruffle milk glass pieces, which I am sharing today. Although I have other styles of vintage milk glass and even some reproduction pieces, I am simply focusing on the hobnail and ruffle pieces today , which I will explain in a bit. ICYMI you can see how I used milk glass to style our patriotic mantel earlier in the season.

styling a patriotic mantel using vintage milk glass

I talked about the benefits of thrift store shopping for vintage home goods collections in this post {thrifted goodies – a S&P collection}. Thrifting is a great way to start a collection and to add to it too. My hobnail and ruffle milk glass collection started with this pretty cake plate.

This cake plate was my mother-in-laws, and I fell in love with it the first time I saw it in their kitchen back in 1994, when I met Mr. M. Rewind to 1960 when my in-laws were a newlywed couple. I am sure this beautiful cake plate came to them as a brand new piece. I am so happy to have it in our home now.

the story about a thrifted petite hobnail and ruffle milk glass dish

Then fast forward to a few months ago where I found this. That pretty little hobnail, ruffle edge dish, which matches the cake plate so beautifully, making a great little complimentary dish to use with the cake plate. Plus I found it during a vintage sale at our local hospice thrift store- bonus! You can read all about it here {vintage thrifting – tips & tricks}.

vintage thrfting – tips & tricks

I shared how I used the little ruffled bowl with the cake plate at our {GNO – a champagne tasting party} last fall. In the back there you can spy the cake plate piled high with chocolate covered strawberries and the ruffle bowl holds complimenting candies.

GNO – a champagne tasting party

the story of a thrifted ruffle milk glass compote

Then I found this piece during another thrift shopping excursion. I love how it’s a compote shape adding interest to the other two pieces I already have.

Although the footed dish doesn’t have the hobnail design, the ruffle edge ties it into the other two pieces. This ruffle compote also has the clear edges, which is the first one of this style for me. All my other white milk glass is opaque all the way through.

SO I inherited the cake plate, and then the two smaller accent pieces were random thrift store finds at really, really reasonable prices. BUT now I wanted to bring these pieces together and make a statement, which brings me to the search for a “statement” piece.

the story about the hobnail and ruffled milk glass STATEMENT piece

For a statement piece I wanted a larger item with an interesting shape or profile. I could possibly stumble upon a piece while thrift store shopping, but it will probably take me some time, if not forever. SO, I turned to a local antique mall as a shopping resource.

Now, I obviously knew it would be a different price level than a thrift find, which I was willing to spend but within reason. So I did my research to see what a fair price would be for the type of pieces I was looking for. Ebay, Etsy and Replacements are my usual resources to research what a fair market price is for vintage items.

I found this piece. I love the scale and I love that it’s a basket versus another bowl. It was priced within reason and when we got to the register we found this particular dealer allowed for 10% discounts if asked, which made it an even better price than anticipated.

The antique mall for this visit is called Antique Trove in Northern California. It’s a huge space, including an outdoor area, which is where I found the vintage urn in the front yard. If you’re interested you can read about it here {birthday wishes}.

There were so many pieces that caught my eye, but I stayed focused on the task at hand. For this visit I had my whole family with me since we also visited a great Mexican restaurant in the area. Mr. M and Miss M were hunting for the right hobnail ruffle piece and helped me decide on the winner.

I will be going back soon, and I will write a post about my visit since there are so many details to share. Some of the items I will be hunting for are vintage Christmas ornaments, green and brown transferware, butter pats (pretty dishes in general actually) and mother of pearl flatware.

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pretty & practical vintage hobnail and ruffle milk glass pieces

I love my curated through time and chance hobnail and ruffle milk glass collection. An inherited cake plate, thrifted dish and compote and an antiqued basket all come together as a family.

I also have the little hobnail bottle with stopper that I can include in stylings when appropriate. This was an Avon product back in the day. I don’t remember where or how I picked this little guy up, but it blends in nicely. (This is a sneak peek to the bathroom remodel reveal, which I will share shortly.)

These pieces are pretty decor pieces, but I really like them to have practical purposes as well since I own so much decor as it is. It all started with the cake plate, which I really wanted for baked goods (and sentimental value). Then I acquired the little thrifted dishes, which are great compliments for desserts or appetizers, etc.

The basket brought the whole collection to another level and it will be in many stylings around here. Over the holidays I will fill it with ornaments and Easter eggs are calling its name too. At the moment it’s full of sea shells for a late summer foyer vignette, which I will share more soon.

more thrift goodness inspiration

Don’t forget to visit Rachel @ The Antiqued Journey and Cecilia @ My thrift Store Addiction for more thrifted goodies inspiration.

get the hobnail & ruffle milk glass look

“Often, the story of an artifact’s journey is more remarkable than the object itself.” 

Mackenzie Finklea

sharing @ between naps on the porch


  1. LOVE IT!! You know how I feel about milk glass 🙂 Such amazing finds and I adore that cake plate stand…that is just beautiful!!

    1. Thanks Rachel! XO-MJ

  2. Cecilia says:

    Hi MaryJo, I also adore milk glass and you have a beautiful collection! I really enjoyed seeing the creative ways you’ve displayed it! It was a pleasure to join y’all today! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

    1. Thanks so much Cecilia! It was a pleasure to have you. XO- MJ

  3. Linda Hans says:

    I love the way you have styled your treasures. I have the compote with the clear ruffle edge, a slightly larger version perhaps. My aunt gave it to me when I got my first apartment in 1973. In researching it, I found it among photos of pieces made by Fenton. I made notes on how you styled it with the shell, star fish and vintage books. So charming!

    1. I love the story behind yours Linda. I’m so glad you’ve kept it through the years. I would love to see pictures of when you style it. I’m glad I provided inspiration-that’s always a goal of mine. Have a great day. XO- MJ

  4. Donna says:

    Your milk glass collection is gorgeous! I love the ruffled pieces most! Thanks for sharing some of the history of milk glass, very interesting!

    1. Thanks so much Donna! I’m so glad you liked it. XO- MJ

  5. That cake plate is FABULOUS I love your collection and the sharing the history, thank you 🙂 Hugs- Tanya

    1. Thanks so much Tanya. Yes I love all the stories behind vintage pieces. That’s what makes them so fabulous. XO- MJ

  6. Laurie says:

    Love those frilly hobnail pieces. It’s so pretty without being overly much. Looks like you found some treasures.

    Thanks for sharing this at the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop!!


  7. Cara says:

    I love beginning a collection, it is always so much fun going on the hunt to see what you can find. I am looking forward to seeing your bathroom. I was planning a kitchen remodel, but looks like a bathroom remodel will be happening first, darn it. I am excited to see yours MaryJo! I need inspiration. Don’t you love how milk glass goes with everything and in every room? It is my absolute favorite!

    1. Yes! I should be sharing me bathroom reveal shortly. I can’t wait to see what you do. I’m sorry about the kitchen but I feel your pain friend. I keep telling myself “patience comes to those who wait.” XO- MJ

I love hearing from you!