Sales Promotions - 1929 Style

by Mark Nye
Issue No. 342 - October 2001

Dated January 7 1929 and originating from the desk of H. A. Loveland, assistant sales manager, Circular Letter [C/L] #48 read as follows:

We have made a line of fancy square plates which make an attractive addition to our line as follows:

  • 1174 - 6" Bread & Butter - 5.50 doz.
  • 1176 - 8½" Salad Plate - $10.00 doz.
  • 1177 - 9½" Dinner Plate - $15.00 doz.
  • 1178 - 10½" Service Plate - $18.75 doz.

The 10½" size can be used for Ice Cream or Large Salad.

Also dated January 7, 1929, was Circular Letter #57, the subject of which was "3115 Stemware Line Wide Optic, Crystal Bowl - W/Ebony Stem & Foot" The goblet, saucer champagne sherbet, cocktail, 12 oz. and 10 oz. ftd tumblers were offered plain at $11.00 dozen list, or with D/165-S (silver) at $2S.00 per dozen, list. Handwritten at the bottom was "3115 crystal bowl Ebony S & F $16.00 Dec 468." Unfortunately, neither D/165 or Dec 468 have been identified.

Continuing with another letter dated January 7, 1929, we have Circular Letter #65, again from the desk of H. A. Lovelady:

We find that there is a demand for Hollow Stem Champaign or Ginger Ales in various color combinations and we have decided to make our 7927½ 5 oz. Hollow Stem Champaign in the following combinations the price of which will be $7.50 per dozen list:

  • 7927½ Hollow-Stem Champaign or Ginger Ale
  • Topaz Bowl - Blue Foot
  • Peach Bowl - Blue Foot
  • Amber Bowl - Crystal Foot
  • Emerald Bowl - Peach Foot

How many of these have you seen lately? Note the Spelling of the word "Champaign." This is not a "typo" but rather the way it appeared in the original Circular Letter.

Dated one day later, January 8, Mr. Lovelady sent out Circular Letter #78 which read:

We have made five sizes of Decagon Plates in the new Golden Rod color, prices for which are shown below. You will note that these prices are slightly in advance of regular transparent colors.

  • 809 - 6½" B & B Plate, Decagon - $5.00
  • 815 - 7½" Tea Plate - $7.50
  • 597 - 8 3/8" Salad Plate - $8.75
  • 811 9½" Dinner Plate - $13.00
  • 812 10½" Service Plate - $17.50

This letter raises a couple of questions. First, were there 30 Circular Letters sent out in a period of one day (#48 was dated Jan. 7 and #78, Jan 8) or was a non-consecutive numbering system used, a system that is not understood today. (There was a 1929 C/L #61 but on the photocopy I have, the month and day are not legible.) What is known is that not that many letters have survived the passing years. Second, what is the "new Golden Rod" color? Golden Rod is also thee color of the 3120 stemware priced in 1929 CL #61. Once again the price is higher than Crystal and other colors, $10.50 per dozen, compared to $8.50. The most likely candidate is Gold Krystol, but the generally accepted date for its introduction is some eight months later, in August 1929. It is entirely possible this was a trial run for the color or it was, in fact, introduced in early 1929 rather than later in the year.

On March 5, 1929, W. C. McCartney, Cambridge sales manager, issued Circular Letter #129.

We have had requests from some of our larger customers for some deep plate etched stemware. Where they have made it worth while for us, by purchasing regular merchandise we have given them some plate etched stemware at a list price of $5.50 a dozen.

We have etched the #3060, #3050 and #3051 shapes and have also etched colors Peach, Emerald, Amber, and Crystal.

Special selection is not given the stemware at this price. We send what is termed the run of turn selection. The blanks are not seconds -- neither are they diamonds but are first class for this type of etching.

We are using four etchings: Nasturtium, Dresden Rose, Wild Rose, and Chrysanthemum, giving your customers a limit of four. Please understand if the maximum discount is allowed the order must read for at least 100 dozen of assorted items in one shape, one color and one etched pattern.

Delivery cannot be promised and this must be understood.

Illustrations of three of the four cited etchings are shown below. Nasturtium remains a mystery as it does not appear in any know Cambridge catalog nor was a plate bearing the etching found in the material acquired from Imperial. Etching plates for Dresden Rose, Chrysanthemum and Wild Rose were among the plates that came from Imperial. Stemware etched with any of the three known designs is seldom seen today, perhaps indicating the promotion was not a great success or was short lived. There have been no reports of a nasturtium etching being found.

Etching detail
Etching detail
Etching detail