Farber Glass Inserts

by Bill Dufft
Issue No. 397 - June/July 2006

Editor's Note: Recently, we got a letter from member Fleur de Lys Healy in Florida, asking about the glass used in Farber Brothers pieces. She knew that Farber had used glass from companies besides Cambridge, but wondered exactly what glass and how much of it. We passed her question on to Farber collector and expert Bill Dufft. He sent this very informative reply:

The Cambridge Glass Company produced roughly 70% of the glass inserts seen in Farber Bros. pieces and sets. The Cambridge insert group was composed of stock and some modified 3400 line, 3500 line, Caprice, Tally-ho, Nautilus and Pristine line inserts, stock bowl tops used in their 3126 stem line, modified 1300 line decanters, and 1900 cordials, as well as custom-blown and molded inserts. The remaining 30% Farber Book of the glass inserts found in Farber Bros. pieces were produced by a variety of other prominent elegant glass manufacturers of the time, including Duncan Miller, Heisey, Fenton, Fostoria, Morgantown, New Martinsville/Viking, Westmoreland, and Corning. A cursory review of a copy of Julie Sferrazza's 1988 book entitled Farber Brothers Krome Kraft - A Guide for Collectors will give the reader a good idea of the variety of other company inserts used in Farber Bros. pieces and sets. The book is out-of-print, but may still often be purchased on eBay.

The brief overview of the non-Cambridge insertes from what I've been able to surmise:

  • Duncan Miller produced both crystal and cobalt inserts for a variety of Farber Bros. relishes, butter dishes, and handled serving pieces. These molded inserts are occasionally found with the original round Duncan sticker on them, and can be identified by the starburst pattern in the center underside of the insert (Cambridge did supply one insert pictured on page 97 item #7 in Julie's book that had a similar starhurat pattern). Duncan also provided comport, candle and vase tops with a threaded stem that were screwed into a Farber chrome base, and one crystal Caribbean line Comport top.
  • Heisey provided a Queen Anne line covered lemon dish with dolphin finial in crystal and Sahara, a square crystal thumbprint-styled covered dish with dolphin finial (potentially made by Fenton) threaded Ridgeleigh line candle cups for candlesticks and candelabras, and Victorian line decanters for Tantalus sets.
  • Fenton would appear to have provided a molded leaf design butter dish base and a molded 12-leaf insert used in compotes and candy dishes.
  • Fostoria provided American line tab-handled ice cream/appetizer inserts in crystal and amber for use in 2, 4, and 6-insert Farber Bros. relish and appetizer sets.
  • Morgantown provided cupped and flared bowl amber, amethyst, and green inserts for Farber Bros. cocktails as well as various milk glass inserts (pitcher, sugar & creamer, salt & pepper, marmalade, and flared bowl cocktail inserts) after the Cambridge Glass Company closed.
  • New Martinsville/Viking provided a crystal Janice line night set, a Radiance line butter dish base, and a Radiance line cake plate top with threaded stem.
  • Westmoreland provided frosted crystal Lotus line inserts for Farber Bros. comports relishes, marmalades, a chip 'n' dip set, and a lazy susan. They also provided an EAPG-style 240 line comport top, and Princess Feather line plate and bowl inserts.
  • Corning provided a variety of Pyrex glass casseroles pie plates, and serving inserts for Farber Kraft and Farber Bros. casserole pie plate, and serving dish holders. They also provided inserts for a number of later Farber Bros. insulated ice buckets.