Is It Cambridge?

by Dave McFadden
Issue 28, August, 1975

During a recent visit to the Mosser Glass Company in Cambridge, Ohio, we had an informative discussion with Tom Mosser.

He began working at the Cambridge Glass Company about 1943 with his father. According to Tom, he worked his way up thru the ranks of the Cambridge Glass Company and eventually became a floor foreman. He worked at Cambridge until it closed in 1954, at which time he went to work briefly for another glass factory in central Ohio. He returned to Cambridge when it re-opened and remained until it closed again in 1958.

At that time, Mr. Mosser obtained the original Cambridge pharmaceutical molds and he and a partner began a small business producing pharmaceutical glassware, which they are continuing to produce at this present time.

The Mosser Glass Company also owns a few other original Cambridge molds, one of the most famous being the 3" swan. This mold is being used at the present time and the swans are being made in seven colors. They are: crystal, amethyst, cobalt blue, red, amber, green (which appears to be lighter than the Cambridge color of Forest Green, which is a dark green) and a light blue (darker than the Cambridge color of Moonlight blue). At this time Mosser Glass is doing some iridizing and some of the first things to be done are the cobalt swans.

The first advertisement we have seen for swans by Cambridge was in 1928. It appears that over the years of production, there were 3 different variations to the 3" swan mold.

The first style swan had a low wing and much detail on the feathers. (Refer to Welker reprint #1, page 36.) The second style swan is similar to the first except the wings are raised higher and while there is some feather detail, it is not as detailed as the first style. (Refer to Welker reprint #1, page 26.) The third style swan (introduced prior to 1943, according to Mr. Mosser) was the last mold and is the one owned and currently being used by the Mosser Glass Company. It had no visible feather detail and the wings are usually spread further.

Mr. Mosser showed us the tool which is used to hand finish the swans. (It is the same tool which was originally used at Cambridge.) The neck is already curved as it comes from the mold. The tool used has a foot, shaped like the bowl of the swan, and a handle at the opposite end. The foot is placed in the bowl of the swan to hold it in place while the finisher shapes the neck and the wings. Since the twist of the neck and the spread of the wings are a hand process, this accounts for the wide variations seen in the swan.

Now, the problem is how to tell the difference between an original Cambridge swan and a swan made by the Mosser Glass Company. As we said before, the Mosser swans are being made in the third style mold in colors listed earlier in this article. Mr. Mosser explained that his finishers usually do not take the time to spread the wings. Also remember that none of the re-issued swans are signed.

Mr. Mosser tells us this is a popular item in his line, is a good seller, and he will probably make it in all his colors.