Figural Flower Frogs, Part II

By Shelley Cole
Issue # 368 - December 2003

In last month's Part I of this article, I listed the Bashful Charlotte inaccurately. The 1956-58 Catalogue reference is for the Bashful Charlotte with the Type 3 Base. The line drawing therein is unclear, but it is believed that the Draped lady and Bashful Charlotte bases were adapted at the same time. Thanks to Les Hansen for pointing this out. We continue this month with Patent information and some details on the Human Figural Flower Frogs.

Patent Information

In 1926, Arthur J. Bennett made application for a Patent for a new style of flower holder. The patent was awarded in 1927. He proposed taking the type of round, plain flower block and setting a figural into the middle of it. He mentions specifically an "ornamental statue or image." The drawing that accompanied the patent application closely resembles what we now refer to as the Rose Lady (patent drawing at right). Rose Lady patent Patent #1,645,577 appears on the underside of many flower frogs in many of the styles.

Although the patent was not awarded until 1927, ads showing the #513 Draped Lady on the Type 1 Base appeared in China, Glass and Lamps as early as May 17, 1926. The Geisha appeared in that publication on March 29 of that same year.

And in 1929, Cambridge began fighting the battle of patent infringement. In the March 18, 1929 issue of China, Glass and Lamps, Cambridge took out an ad showing the #518 Draped Lady Flower Frog with the following text

"Reports have reached us that certain manufacturers are manufacturing Figure Flower Holders, which infringe our Patent No. 1,645,577, dated October 18, 1927. Dealers who sell articles made by manufacturers who infringe our patents, are as liable for infringement as the manufacturer. Warning is hereby given to dealers, as well as manufacturers, of our intention to prosecute any infringement of our rights, to the full extent of the law."

The same warning was shown with a No. 2899 Flower Block.


The Cambridge Glass Company used only item numbers for the ladies and kids. The names of our figural flower frogs were made up by, and have been accepted by, Cambridge collectors. In the April 1976 issue of the Crystal Ball, a ballot appeared on the back page with several choices for the lady flower frogs. Votes were counted and the names were assigned by the National Cambridge Collectors, Inc.

Rose Lady - Probably the oldest of the figural flower frogs, as it is depicted in the Patent Application. In the November 21, 1927 issue of China, Glass & Lamps, an ad appeared for a console set comprised of a #676 flip bowl, two #628 candlesticks (all shown with the #138 engraving) and the #512 (Rose Lady) figure flower center. The Rose Lady was made in one size with two different bases. Depending on the base, the overall height varies by almost 2 inches. As she only appears in the 1927-1929 Catalogue Reprint and is not seen much, she probably was not produced into the 1930s.

Draped Lady - Certainly the most common of the Cambridge Flower Frogs, she was made in all of the pastel translucent colors as well as Ebony, Crown Tuscan and Ivory. While Cambridge did not assign a name to her, she was featured in circular Letter #44-1933 as a part of the Venus Table Set. Along with 3011 Nude Stems, 3400 Tea Plate and Footed Bowl, Mt Vernon Service Plate and Tally Ho Cocktail Shaker and Ice Bucket. In the pricing list, the #518 figure flower holder is listed as 518 Venus Flower Holder Crystal. In C.B. #235, Sue Rankin writes, "A thorough review of trade articles, advertising and Cambridge catalogs yields no other references to this table set of the name 'Venus.' We can only speculate why Cambridge decided to use the 'Venus' name in this circular letter. The original inspiration for this figure might have been the 'Venus de Milo.' Careful examination of both the figure and the picture of the 'Venus de Milo' shows that the hair styles are very similar. The shoulder positions are similar. The Cambridge lady is more modestly covered, but still has a drape which pools around the feet." And, of course, our lady has both her arms!

Since we do not see the #513 with the type 1 base in any catalogues after 1929, it would be safe to assume that she was not made after that period. In examining a number of examples of this style, it is easy to see that stress cracks were fairly common. Perhaps an indicator of why we don't see her after 1929.

The #518 with the Type 2 base appears in catalogues from 1927 through 1953. In 1956, she appears with the Type 3 base indicating that this particular flower frog had a long and distinguished career.

Mandolin Lady - This is one of the most difficult ladies to find. She was made in crystal, pink and light emerald green, plain as well as frosted. When you do come across examples you will see great variety in how bent over she is and the direction her head is turned. As she only appears in the 1927-1929 Catalogue Reprint and is not seen much, she probably was not produced into the 1930s.

Geishas - One Bun & Two Bun - from Bill Smith's article in C.B. #40:

"…Mr. Webster's dictionary defines a Geisha as 'a Japanese professional singing and dancing girl'. …We have heard it discussed that Mr. Bennett must have had a personal appreciation of the Orient to have used so much of it's influence in his designs. Recent glimpses into the background seem to indicate that this influence in the design of Cambridge glass would have been the result of market preferences of the period rather than the personal preference of Mr. Bennett. Many products carried similar design influence during the late Twenties.
"These figures differ from those shown in past articles in the fact that the figure and the base are separate pieces. The figure has a threaded screw type bottom. This threaded portion was screwed into a metal retaining ring which had been inserted into an opening in the center of the base from the bottom.
"The retaining ring was formed with an extension the outer circumference of which engaged with a shoulder molded in the base. Pressure thus applied by the threads would hold the figure."

In her article, "From Asia, with Love," in C.B. #306, Georgia Otten answers some and creates more questions about the name, Geisha. As we see on the cover of the March 29, 1926 issue of China, Glass & Lamps, (reprinted in C.B. #30) Cambridge was using the name Geisha when referring to these flower frogs. However, after talking with her new daughter-in-law, Yan Hui, who is from China, Georgia learned that these could not be Geisha. Upon seeing Georgia's One Bun Geisha, Yan Hui politely informed her, "Is no geisha. Is no Japanese hair, is no Japanese sleeve." This was a Chinese figure. After showing Yan Hui a picture of the "Two Bun" Geisha, Georgia was told that in Chinese history, a woman wearing her hair gathered in a "one bun" style would indicate a lady of means or higher social standing. The "two-bun" style would designate a woman from the working class, perhaps a domestic or personal servant.

Asian influence was very popular in décor at the time. While not accurate, Cambridge used the term Geisha for this Chinese lady and the name will probably always stick. As she only appears in the 1927-1929 Catalogue Reprint and is not seen much, she probably was not produced into the 1930s.

Bashful Charlotte - Her height varies considerably as she bent to varying degrees during the cooling process. Very possibly based on the Paul Chabas painting, September Morn. The Bashful Charlotte Flower Frog has been reproduced extensively which will be discussed in a later issue.

Two Kid - There has been a lot of debate as to what the animal is on this sweet flower frog. A young goat is referred to as a kid, so the assumption is that it's a goat - however, look closely. It looks more like a faun to me. I still call it the Two Kid, but I'm sure it's not a goat. This flower frog is available in a number of colors on the #2 and the oval base.

Melon Boy - This one is very difficult to come by and little is known about it. The perspective on the size of this flower frog is much different from the other human figures. The figure stands almost 10 inches high with a 5.5" base. There are 12 holes in the base. This figure is also known to have been done as a candlestick.