Memories ... All I have are Memories

by Frank Wollenhaupt
Issue No. 450 - August 2011

WOW!!! What a week. I can't believe that it is all over. We anticipate it for months and then in the matter of a few days it is over till next year. My wife and I are lucky; we are two of the four that have attended all the conventions. It is great to see and talk with friends you haven't seen in a year or more.

At this years convention I asked several people why they collect and why they come to the convention. It was surprising that many had the same answers. They collect because of the "HUNT". It gets them out doing something. Some people "HUNT" every weekend, while others can only get out once or twice a month. Most did say that their collection was like a memory book, and every piece had a story or a memory attached to it. When asked why they come to the convention, many mentioned the programs and the ability to learn something new about Cambridge Glass and have some fun.

Also while at the convention, our Crystal Ball editor told me that I needed to put something together with a lot of color and photos. I guess I am supposed to snap my fingers and PRESTO I have a color story. What I thought I would do, would be to take some of the suggestions of the members about every piece of Cambridge having a story attached to it and share some of my glass stories with you.

Frog pitcher Early on in our collecting (1970's) we found this strange frog pitcher at the Washington Court House flea market. The color in our mind was correct for Cambridge but it wasn't signed and we couldn't find it in either of the books on Cambridge Glass. It wasn't a lot of money so we took a flyer on it. Several months later, we took it with us to the next quarterly meeting in Cambridge to ask the experts what they thought. Lynn Welker assured us that it was an Italian import. Boy were we let down. It was about this time we were removing wallpaper from some of the walls in our house and decided that the frog pitcher was just the size for refilling the steamer we were using. So for the next several days, the frog was used. Now fast forward several years. We were in a study group (The Hokey Pokey's) and had the chance to go through and photograph some Cambridge Catalogues that Imperial Glass had. We were in one of their conference rooms taking photos of a 1930/34 catalog and when we turned the page, there it was ... the frog handled vase. We all let out a loud cry and the people in the office thought we had lost it. What a find ... we could now document the vase.

In early 1973 we were out with our friends Dave and Sue Rankin looking for Cambridge Glass. This weekend brought us to Columbus Ohio and some of the flea markets on Broad street. We found a few small items but on our way out, we saw this shell that caught our eye. Blue shell What was strange about the shell was the color. It was a dark blue opaque, not like anything we had ever seen. It was priced at $150.00 which was a large sum at that time. We both passed it up and got in the car and headed to our next stop. While we were driving, we were still talking about the shell and the odd color. The car was stopped and we decided we were fools and needed to go back and purchase it. Now we had to decide which couple would spend the money. A flip of a coin made that decision for us. I won the flip (I didn't know for sure at the time). It was also decided that if we ever sold the shell, Dave and Sue would have first shot at it. That color has now been named "Frank's Blue" and was the first piece of experiential color that I have.

On a trip to the Mansfield Flea market one weekend, we found a strange blue decanter that we were sure was tally-ho but couldn't decide what color it was. It is almost Windsor blue but not quite. I have since seen one other decanter in this strange blue.

Blue decanter Georgian tumbler In our early years of collecting, I put together a set of Georgian tumblers. I thought this was an easy way to learn the transparent colors and they were inexpensive. After one of our board of directors meetings, held above the Pavlo Music Center, I noticed some Cambridge glass in a show case. I asked Richard if it was for sale. He indicated that it was. The two pieces he had in the case that I can remember were a set of two Georgian tumblers in Rubina and a pair of Caprice reflector candlesticks in Milk Glass. Well, I chose the Georgian tumblers because I had never seen them in Rubina. I assumed that I would be able to pick up the Milk glass candlesticks another time. Interesting how hind site is 20/20. I have never seen another pair. I think Rich Bennett ended up with the candlesticks.

At one of the early quarterly meetings or conventions, Wilbur and Mary Henderson brought a 3400 creamer in an orange opaque. I fell in love with it and asked them when they got ready to sell, please give me a chance to buy it. One day several years later, Orange creamer they told me they had something I might be interested in. That creamer is now part of my growing collection of odd and unusual Cambridge experimental items.

My wife and I were walking through the Springfield Flea Market one day and right in front of us, we saw this 3400 vase in royal blue with some type of white etching on Diane blue vase it. Before we could get to it, our friend Gerry Zwisler had picked it up and was buying it. DARN!!!!!!!!! Late again. After Gerry left the booth, we asked him about the vase and he took it out and showed it to us. WOW!!! It was royal blue 3400 vase with the inside and outside frosted with Diane etch filled in with white enamel. Gerry said that it was going home, into his collection. Several years had passed and one day, I got a phone call from Gerry's wife telling me that the vase was for sale. I am happy to say that it is now in my collection.

About 15 years ago my wife and I were on vacation and stopped in a small antique shop. They didn't have much elegant glass but just had a mix of things. When we go into a shop, my wife and I normally split up. She goes one way and I go the other and then we go back over Tumble up Set each others area. We find this works best and sometimes we find something the other has missed. I am doing my thing and I hear my wife call for me. I wonder what she has found. She tells me that she has found my birthday present. There in the bottom of this case filled with gun stuff and arrow heads, sits a Cambridge Night set in Rubina. I couldn't believe my eyes. We ask for the case to be opened so we can look it over. To our surprise, it's perfect. We tell the clerk we want to buy it so she carries it to the front to check out. With the way she was treating the glass, we were lucky to get out of the shop without her breaking something.

The stories can go on and on but I think I have taken up enough space. I am sure that each and every one of you have your own stories. Why don't you put them down on paper and send them into Helen to have her publish them in the Crystal Ball. Keep looking ... you never know where the next great find will come from.