Jugs, Jugs, Everywhere (aka Cambridge Ball Jugs)

By Jeannie and Freeman Moore
Issue No. 426 - March 2009

People have asked me why I collect "ball jugs." Well why not! Some people collect Nudes, Flying Ladies, Ivy Balls, different etchings non Cambridge jug and lamps (yes Larry). They come in all kinds of colors, etchings, cuttings and treatments. There are 80 ounce ball jugs and 64 ounce ball jugs. But the one ball jug that got me started in collecting (picture at left) is not even Cambridge. It is a pottery ball jug and my parents received Jugs it for a wedding present. Today that ball jug is 64 years old. I would like to say that I have that jug but my sister has it. But I do have one that looks just like it. Growing up there was always Kool-Aid in it.

We were asked if there are any special stories that we would share. I guess each one has a story to tell, but the stories are about the friends that pointed them out. Lynn Welker always asks if I already have a particular ball jug. Cindy and Rick Jones found one for us at the White Plains show one year, met us at the door and directed Freeman to it. David and Linda Adams had the Amber GE Diane at the NDGA show but we didnít have room to bring it back home. I already bought one jug at the show, and the airline would only allow so much carry on. So they brought it to another show where we purchased it. We were at the Tulsa show where I was pulled out of a booth by one of the dealers and escorted to another booth where a Heatherbloom Moreno Jug was purchased. There was the time I had just finished looking at one of the Cambridge books and told Freeman that I would love to have the ball jug with the Moreno rock cut. I was reading my email and there was an email from a Fostoria dealer, directing me to a listing on Ebay. There it was, listed under "other", the Moreno ball jug (photo at left). Another ball jug was added to the collection with the help from a friend. Our extended Cambridge family is always on the look out for me, so the stories are about our friends and family.

Patent My hunt is for the 3400/38 80 oz. ball pitcher, which was patented in 1931. You see the characteristic points of the 3400 line in the ball jugs. Look at the ball jug from the bottom view and youíll easily see the four points making a square pattern. On the older ball jugs, the patent number is embossed in the bottom edge of the pitcher. The next time you pick up a ball jug, feel around the base for the patent number.

You can expect to find it in all the major etchings: Apple Blossom, Blossom Time, Chantilly, Diane, Elaine, Firenze, Gloria, Lorna, Rose Point, Portia, Wildflower and Valencia. Is there a Minerva ball jug out there? Chintz is known on Crown Tuscan but unknown on crystal. The etchings could be plain, gold edged around the ice-lip, handle and base, or gold encrusted.

What about colors? You should be able to find ball jugs in nearly every color. Colored ball jugs can be plain or decorated just like the crystal ones. For example, consider the Diane gold encrusted etching on an amber ball jug. It seems that most ball jugs have Black crystal handles, but you can find ball jugs with the handle in the matching color. For example, a Carmen ball jug could have a crystal handle or Carmen handle. An interesting combination is to have a crystal ball jug with ebony handle, next to an ebony ball jug with crystal handle, as in the photo at left.

Other types of decorations include the Varsity Sports Line, Polo Game, and Silver decoration. Apple Blossom on ebony with white silver is a particularly attractive ball jug. Any ball jug decorated with silver overlay is a nice addition to the collection. You can look for colored ball jugs with silver overlay. You Overlay might be able to find accompanying pieces such as tumblers, or matching ice bucket - see the photo at right.

Have you ever looked at the variations among ball jugs? The shape is pretty much the same. The handles seem to be unique to each ball jug. Some are rounded, some are flat, and some are a bit higher. I'm thinking that it's the signature of the workers who applied the handles. The mould was reworked by enlarging the opening to the ball jug and removing the patent number from the base. These later versions are easier to reach inside and clean.

Achilles It seems that Crown Tuscan was only used for the 64 oz ball jug. Similarly, the aero-optic ball jug (3134/38) was not made in the 80 oz size.

Cuttings were done by Cambridge, Lotus and possibly others. Achilles (at left) is a very distinctive cutting and displays well. The Laurel Wreath cutting is simple, and elegant. Lucia is also an attractive cutting.

The Mt Vernon ball jug was introduced in 1939 as Mt Vernon item 95. When you look at it (below, left), you can see it has hints of the Caprice distinctive "points" of the 3400 line. I include it with the collection of 80 oz ball jugs. Mt Vernon

Similarly, the Caprice #183 80 oz ball jug (five of them shown at right) should be included in any discussion of 80 oz ball jugs. These can be found in colors as well as with the alpine treatment. The Caprice ball jug does not have the 3400 style points.

As you have seen in the pictures, I am the proud owner of 98 different ball jugs. I am looking for a Candlelight etched or cut (either would be nice to have), Daffodil and Minerva. The hunt is still on. You never know when or where one might turn up.

Where do we display them? Freeman built shelves around the ceiling in the living room and we have 3 display cabinets that have tiered shelving on top of them. All of the ball jugs are displayed in the living and dining room.

For additional information, go back and read the series of articles written by Mark Nye on Cambridge Jugs, starting in issue No. 137 - September 1984. Or use the search feature and look for "Jug".

Lots of jugs