Believe it or not, there is a (somewhat vague) connection between Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and the glassware.
First off, let’s just say that the real name for Vaseline glass is Uranium glass. This type of glassware has had uranium added into the mix before melting, which glows bright green under ultraviolet light. The normal color of this glass (ie. under regular light) is a light yellowish-green, which was said to resemble that of Vaseline and picked up the nickname somewhere in the 1920s.
(And for the traditionalists out there, “Vaseline glass” is normally considered to be the pieces that are greener. All others are generally referred to as “Uranium glass.”)
Vaseline glass has about 2% Uranium in it, though older pieces have more. Production of Vaseline glass was popular during the late 1800s through to the early 1920s. Manufacturing of it had to pause during WWII while the government confiscated all the Uranium they could find. It resumed again in 1958 but popularity for newer pieces has decreased significantly.
(Thanks to this Wikipedia article for the stats and dates!)
Here are some really neat pictures:
What about you? Do you like Vaseline glass? Do you own any?