Pomona Green was indeed the Cambridge name for "Avocado"

by Les Hansen
Issue No. 442 - October 2010

Confirmation now exits that Pomona Green was the Cambridge Glass Company's name for the color of glass with the collectorcoined name of "Avocado". The Colors in Cambridge Glass II book states, "Avocado, a rich yellow green opaque, was named by collectors since no Cambridge name has ever been authenticated." That statement no longer applies.

Pomona items

In issue #376 (August 2004) of the Crystal Ball, I reviewed the entries for opaque colors produced by Cambridge in the Henry T. Hellmers' Batch Book of Glass Formulae. That batch book has permitted documentation of the ingredients for many colors of Cambridge glass. Furthermore, the book provides the names of colors assigned by Cambridge. Hellmers' batch book contains formulas for all of the Cambridge colors from the 1920s and 1930s until Hellmers' departure from Cambridge in 1932.

The Cambridge production colors from 1920 to 1932 are labeled by name in Hellmers' batch book with few exceptions. Formulas for the opaque colors of Azurite, Ebony, Helio, Jade, Ivory, and Crown Tuscan are in Hellmers' batch book labeled by the color name assigned by Cambridge as well as the color name used by collectors today. The exceptions are Primrose Yellow, Carrara, and "Avocado". The formula for a white opaque color that was dated 1923 and attributed to Cambridge almost certainly is the formula for Carrara. Likewise, a formula for a yellow opal attributed to A. J. Bennett of Cambridge almost certainly is the formula for Primrose Yellow.

That leaves "Avocado" as the sole Cambridge opaque color lacking identification in Hellmers' batch book. Only two formulas for green opaque colors other than Jade have names assigned to them in the Hellmers batch book Pomona Green, dated 1928, and Pea Green, dated 1932. The 1928 date for Pomona Green is a perfect fit for "Avocado", because the Colors II book indicates, "most Cambridge experts agree the color is from the 1926-1928 time period."

In a Thursday evening program on the Cambridge colors during this year's NCC convention, I commented that Pomona Green likely was the name used by Cambridge for the color that collectors call "Avocado". Immediately, Toby Mack and Marti DeGraaf of Chicago commented their collection includes two pieces of "Avocado" that have Cambridge labels affixed with Pomona Green identified as the color. Toby and Marti captured images of those two pieces, and they are reproduced here.

Cambridge labels on the bottom of the pin tray and the pen and pencil holder, which are both part of the #710 4 piece desk set, clearly specify Pomona Green. Thank you Toby and Marti! Researchers prefer to have documentation of Cambridge production items with trade journals or company advertising. However, the factory labels affixed to these two pieces coupled with the color name in the Hellmers batch book provide conclusive evidence that Pomona Green was indeed the name used by Cambridge for this opaque green color. Therefore, Pomona Green is the name that should formally be used by NCC in the future for this color. However, I assume "Avocado" will also be used as an identifier by collectors for many years to come.

A final observation Pomona was the name of the goddess of fruits and fruit trees in Roman mythology. Avocados are tropical fruits, so Pomona Green is indeed a fitting name for this opaque color of glass produced by Cambridge glass in the late 1920s.