Getting Punchy

by Georgia G. Otten
Issue No. 344 - December 2001

Ho! Ho! Ho! Who wouldn't go? Go for what? Why go for the Cambridge glass you will need for the holidays! The holidays are coming! Seems as if they come more quickly each year. I can recall when I was a child that summers were forever and Christmas would never come. Now after we make it through the month of June with all the glass activities going on, and through the rest of summer, Christmas and the holiday season are right around the corner!

November and December are two great months to use Cambridge glass. You do use yours, don't you? I am a believer in tradition and enjoy the anticipation the holiday season brings. As an example, for many years now, my brother, his wife, and their children have come to our house on Christmas Eve. And guess what my niece and nephew look forward to seeing and using? A punch bowl!

Since we have been collecting glass and seem to have an affinity for punch bowls, we use them. Now I know the twinge going through some bodies. The sound of a glass ladle clanking against the side of a glass punch bowl. Well, that can be a bit unnerving, so there is always a plastic ladle! However, I prefer to "instruct" on using the glass ladle. I admit to being nervous about it ... but so far, so good!

Apparently having punch is a tradition because when I talk with my niece before Christmas she always says, "We are having punch aren't we? What punch bowl are you going to use?" Ah, and that could be a problem as I try to remember which one I used last year. Of course if you only have one, there is no problem. And having only one is, of course, most acceptable! Automatically you have "THE' traditional punch bowl!

To make my choice, I first eliminate the punch bowls made by another Ohio glass company whose trademark has something to do with a diamond and an H. My husband collects that other glass, and has acquired a number of their punch bowls. So, having eliminated the H bowls, I find I still have a few choices. Don't you love collecting?

Okay, to get your thoughts going -- how many punch bowls did Cambridge Glass Company make? As a partial answer, from the first of a series of articles on punch bowls by Mark Nye (Crystal Ball May'84) he says,

"During the period 1940 to 1958, at least 17 different punch bowls were produced by Cambridge. The peak year was 1940 with 12, followed by 1953 with seven. Among those years during which production is documented 1949-50 had the least number of punch bowls being made, even so, five different ones were in the Cambridge line. The final price list, issued in 1958, still featured six punch bowls."

I hope you will refer to this series of articles on punch bowls for detailed information.

Some of the punch bowls mentioned by Mark were actually from the Near Cut era but were in production during the period he discussed. So what more can I add? More punch bowls! Fourteen more from the Near Cut era!

The earliest mention I could find for a punch bowl was in the 1903 catalog reprint for the line No. 2500, which showed a 12 punch bowl with a foot. Next entry found was No. 2590 10" footed punch bowl, Plain. Those only had numbers, no names. Next came a series of some of the more recognizable Near Cut patterns: 2626 Radium, 2630 Paul Revere, 2631 Marjorie, 2647 Dorothy, 2651 Feather, 2653 Ribbon, 2656 Star, 2660 Wheat Sheaf, 2695 without a name, 2699 Buzz Saw, 2760 Daisy/Archfoot and 4070 Chelsea Ware. Any one of these punch bowls makes a statement when in use. Which punch bowl do you think is the largest? I thought it would be Daisy/Archfoot ... but not so. It is the No. 2660 Wheat Sheaf, boasting a 14½" bowl and standing 15" on the foot!

Okay! The whole point of this article is for me to share a wonderful recipe for punch. Children especially like this punch because of its name. Mock Champagne Punch ... they might not understand the word "mock," but they know the word champagne and the perceived elegance associated with it! Here it is for your punch pleasure:

I truly do use punch bowls, actually for more uses than just punch, but this is about the punch. If you do not have a punch tradition in your home, why not begin this year? Don't forget to make a toast! And take photos!

Lets see, I am trying to think just which Cambridge punch bowl would be my favorite. Perhaps the Swan! Maybe the Amber Cut Wild Rose? Actually any Cambridge punch bowl could be my favorite as long as it is full! Ho! Ho! Ho! And I am getting punchy!!