One of the programs presented at the 2001 National Cambridge Collectors Convention dealt with the major lines of the Nearcut Era. The following article, dealing with the various nappy shapes used in the Nearcut years, is taken from that program.
Beginning with its earliest production, the Cambridge Glass Co. would use the same nappy or footed comport mould to produce a number of different shaped items. This was accomplished by hand shaping the item as soon as the piece came from the mould and the hot glass was quite pliable. In this manner a single mould could be used to make more than one piece, thus increasing the number of pieces in a line without increasing the number of moulds required. (Moulds have always been expensive to produce)
By the time the 1906 Cambridge catalog was issued, there were 12 letter-designated nappy and/or footed comport shapes as well as a square shape that does not appear to have had a letter designator. As used in the 1906 catalog the letters A through E were used in conjunction with nappies and footed comports while G through M, omitting the letter I, were used to describe the bowl shapes of footed comports. It is possible the second group of letters also used with nappies but catalog examples have not been found.
The letter designators A, B and C were first used in the 1903 catalog but descriptors were not provided. The letters were not always used; many times shapes were simply described and within a given line, more than three shapes of nappies were used. In the 1903 catalog the terms round, square, flared, belled, and cupped were used to describe nappy shapes but none had letter designators.
In the 1906 Cambridge catalog, descriptions of various nappy shapes, along with letter designation, appear as part of the captions to items in the Fernland line. (The Fernland line was the first line shown in the 1906 catalog.) These 1906 shapes, as described in the catalog, are:
- Nappy, A Shape or Round
- Happy, S Shape or Crimped
- Nappy, C Shape or Balled
- Nappy, D Shape or Flared
- Nappy, E Shape or Flared & Crimped
- Nappy, No letter, Square
On pages illustrating six-inch footed comports, as well as other items, additional shapes are shown, and letter designators once again used. This time, however, no descriptions are provided. Shown on these two pages are footed comports with shapes designated as F, G, H, J, K, L, and M. Apparently, the letter I was not used.
The other line in the 1906 catalog known to be of Cambridge origin, Radium, also used letter designators to describe nappy shapes. The balance of the lines in the 1906 catalog, particularly those first shown in the 1903 catalog and probably not of Cambridge origin, continued to use the shape descriptions rather than letter designators.
Included in the introductory pages of the 1910 catalog was a description of nappy shapes.
We designate the various shapes of Nappies in all lines as follows:
- A shape means Plain Round Standard
- C shape means Belled or Flanged
- D shape means Flared Round Shallow
- E shape means Flared and Crimped
- F shape means Cupped or Rose Bowl
These shapes are illustrated here using a page from the 1910 catalog showing the #2693 pattern. Note that there is no longer a B shape or shapes G through M, and the F shape is quite different than that shown on the Fernland page. A, C, D, and E shapes basically remained as described in the 1906 catalog.
When the circa 1916 catalog was issued the word flanged was omitted from the C shape designation. Some five years later, with the publication of Catalog #10 around 1921, the description of the F shape changed to "Cupped or Nut Bowl" with little or no change in the actual shape.