Patterns - CAPRICE

by Bill Smith
Issue 44 - December 1976

In this and future articles we will be attempting to provide you with a useful, in-depth study of some of the patterns that were among the Cambridge "Best Sellers".

The first pattern to be presented in this series is CAPRICE. We have selected this pattern for several reasons. Its beauty, its availability, and its popularity.

CAPRICE was probably the highest quantity single pattern line produced by Cambridge.

The earliest historical information that we have for this pattern is in the form of Design Patent applications. We have copies of four of these. All were dated in 1936 which is probably the year this pattern was introduced. Most new patterns wore introduced at the Pittsburgh Glass Trades Show that was held in January of each year.

On January 13, 1936, Mr. A. J. Bennett applied for Design Patents in three categories of glassware using Caprice drawings. These were a Goblet or similar article, which was granted and given number 98,794 on March 3, 1936; a Plate or similar article which was given number 98,825 on March 10, 1936; and, a Bowl or similar article which was given number 98,993 on March 24, 1936. Each of those patents were for a term of seven years.

On March 10, 1936 an application was filed for the Design Patent for a Candlestick or similar article by Mr. W. L. Orme, and was granted number 99,448 on April 28, 1936.

Design patents are granted for classifications of glassware rather than individual items to reduce the quantity that would be required to cover a complete line of ware.

From the foregoing we reach the conclusion that production of this Line must have had its beginning sometime late in 1935.

From various pieces of advertising we are able to piece together some of the early information regarding this pattern.

From China, Glass and Lamps of June 1936 we read: "The Caprice Line includes over 200 items. More than 150 items are in open stock". It further states, "these pieces can be obtained in Crystal, Moonlight Blue and a satin finish - Alpine".

Caprice was featured in the Company's national advertising for the months of October and November 1938 and March 1939. The ads appeared in House and Garden, American Home, Ladies Home Journal, and House Beautiful. Many libraries carry files of such magazines for those who wish to research this type of material. Your librarian has a catalog of the files, and could tell you if those publications are in file.

As of this writing, our earliest reference to the colors of LaRosa (pink), Pistachio (green), and Mocha (amber), appears in a January 1, 1940 Price list. This list shows approximately 60 pieces produced in LaRosa and only 3 items produced in Pistachio and Mocha. We have a letter from the company to its customers dated October 16, 1943 which states indirectly that these colors would be dropped from production at that time. We will research this further for updates.

Crystal Caprice was still in production at the time that the factory was closed. When the Moonlight Blue was dropped from production is not known at this time. Perhaps we will find this information also later.

In our search of various old catalogs we have been able to compile quite a listing of catalog item numbers for this line. We have at present 243 individual catalog item numbers. Most of these are for individual pieces, but a few are for set items such as a sugar and a creamer on a tray. It is also noted that we have many holes in the numbering sequence which leads us to believe that we will find more items to add to the list.

In future articles, we plan to provide you with lists of the catalog items and copies of catalog pages that will show you the various items. We will include updates on previous articles and any unusual findings regarding the pattern. Contributions of information from you readers would aid the attempt at total coverage of the subject.

CAPRICE - - Captures the whim of dancing lights for your table