Cambridge Glass with Silver Decoration

by Bud Walker
Issue No. 338 - June 2001

When we started collecting Cambridge Glass many years ago, I was attracted to pieces with the silver decorations. Most of them were Ball jug priced higher than I could afford. At convention time at the Shenandoah, I would talk to Bill Smith and others about the silver pieces. I learned that most, if not all, of the silver pieces were done by silver companies and not done at the factory. From Lynn Welker, Willard Kolb and others we began to lean what companies did most of the silver resist commonly known as silver overlay. The company names mentioned were Silver City, Rockwell, and Lotus.

As the years went by and our finances improved, we started purchasing a few of the silver overlay pieces. All of the pieces that were marked would be Silver City or Rockwell and we, like many others, came to believe that they did most or all of the silver decorations on Cambridge Glass pieces. As it turns out, this assumption was incorrect.

Several months ago I purchased an Ebony ball jug with the silver peacock decoration. When I turned it over I was surprised to find a worn blue label from the decorating company. The label reads: Sterling Paper label Silver - Rhodiant Finish - Non Tarnishable - Depasse Pearsall. The is a company I had never even heard of. It almost sounds like a French decorating company. We would have to check with Dr. Fairbrothers who has made a study of silver resist and Silver companies and hope he can provide some answers as to this company and where this company was located.

Thanks to Dr. Fairbrothers, we have gained in our knowledge of this little-known silver company. Though the name is French, the company was located in New York City. Depasse Pearsall Silver Company was the successor to Depasse Mfg. Co. which operated between 1915 and 1922. The last time Depasse Pearsall Company was mentioned in the trade papers was prior to 1935. In Dr. Fairbrothers' reply, he states that prior to late 1998 he had no hint that Depasse Pearsall did silver overlay. The non tarnish finish came into use about 1932 which helps date the age of the ball jugs. It would appear that most of the jugs were decorated in the 1933-1934 period as the company was no longer listed by 1935.

Due to a little blue paper label that was never washed off and the extensive knowledge of Dr. Fairbrothers who has spent many years researching the silver companies that did the beautiful silver overlay work, another small piece of history has come to light. We now know who did the lovely peacock decoration on the Cambridge ball jugs.