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by Frank Wollenhaupt
Issue No. 432 - October 2009

I've got a great wife and without her, I probably would never get a story into Helen. I am one to put it off till way past the ninth hour. I know sometimes I get the story to Helen at 11:59 on the day it is due ... I just put it off.

This month I am really trying to get ahead of myself, Helen and my wife. It's the 4th of August and I am working on October's story. Can you believe that?

My wife suggested a topic "Why don't you write about the Near Cut clocks?" It's a good idea but what could I say? We know the clock is shown in one of the early Near Cut catalogues and it looks like it is in Ebony (black). Take a look at: (http://albums.mvsg.org/thumbnails.php?album=search&cat=0&page=1) I have found two of the clocks in crystal and know one other person that also owns both of them. Boy that didn't take long to tell all I know about the clock. So I start thinking ... what if I talked about the clock as a display item?

The Near Cut clock is probably one of the first, if not the first display item or advertising piece that the Cambridge factory produced. The clock is the same as pictured in the catalogue but in place of a lot of the scrolling on the front, the factory has made it a display piece. With this being a Near Cut item, I don't know of many things the company produced that could be used like the clock. Could it have been made for "special" customers? Did they give them away with large orders of glass? I can't believe that the factory sold this item. Who would want to buy it? They (the customer) would have wanted something to set around and tell time, not advertise for Cambridge glass. (Size 5¼" tall x 4½" wide)

The next early display piece is the large glass sign. This has a lot going for it. It's big, tells the story about Cambridge, Near Cut and the triangle "C". It also has the willow border around the edge so we can come up with the approximate time it was produced. (Size 7¼" wide x 5¾" tall)

Next was the triangle display sign started in the late 20's. According to local stories, these were given away to people after taking a tour through the factory. Something interesting about this sign came to light at this year's convention. Dump Diver Ritchie found a triangle display sign with the name Cambridge on two sides of the triangle. What a great find that was. A gentleman from the crowd spoke up and said that he had one also. He said that he brought it to a convention several years ago and no-one made much of a fuss about it. We all must have been asleep that time. (Size 2½" x 1¼")

Also about this time 1927-29 we find the #701 place card with the laurel wreath border. It is shown in the Smith's 27-29 catalogue reprint, page 16. I have seen several of these with Cambridge printed on them. I don't know if someone did this after the factory or if they were done at the factory as a display item for the showrooms. I guess we will never know the answer. (Size 4" x 1¾")

We now find one of the largest display pieces that the factory put out. That being the large 11 inch urn lamp in Crown Tuscan. We believe that these were give to large department stores that had large displays of Cambridge Glass. Has anyone ever seen one of the "display" lamps in any color other than Crown Tuscan? CT Urn display

The next glass display sign that the factory used was the Cambridge oval in glass with the name Cambridge across the middle. (Size 4¼" x 2¾")

About this time also, we see a metal/tin sign showing up. It is a die cut sign in the shape of the Cambridge Oval, painted in black with Cambridge and the outline of the oval in gold. The base is bent over so the sign stands on its own. (Size 7½" x 4¾")

We now find several small rectangle tin signs. These are black with the Cambridge Oval printed or silk screened on the front surface. Some of them come with a fold out foot/stand and others have a second piece that slips on the bottom. (Size 2¾" x 1¾")

Probably the last display sign that Cambridge put out is a paper/ cardboard one with a small piece of wood glued on the back to act as a stand. (4½" x 2¾")

Some observations on the display items:

  • It looks like the Imperial Glass Company copied the idea of the oval glass display sign from Cambridge.
  • The Oval glass sign can be found in crystal and crystal frosted. I don't know of any being found in colors.
  • Other than black, the triangle display sign hasn't been seen in any opaque colors.
  • The large rectangle sign is only known in crystal with gold highlights.
  • The clocks to date have only been found in crystal but they should be found in black.

If anyone has something to share about these items, please drop me an email.

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