Sea Shell

by Lynn Welker
Issue 58,  February 1978

The Seashell Line was one of Cambridge's most successful creations. It was introduced to the trade early in 1935 and was well received.

Early advertising described the line as a new Cambridge creation of marine motifs with shells predominating and including dolphin and sea maid motifs. The Seashell line was one of Cambridge's most enduring pressed patterns, including a large number of different shapes and colors. Seashell was developed into a large line of about 46 items at the height of its popularity in the 1940's. A somewhat reduced line was produced until the closing of the Cambridge Glass Company.

At one time, in the early 1940's, the line was produced entirely in crystal and was marketed as Krystolshell. All items known in the Seashell line are pictured on these pages - with the exception of two plates (mentioned later in this article) and the Nude Lady candlesticks pictured in last months's article on the Statuesque Line. The candlesticks and #40 Nude Lady flower or fruit center were incorporated in both lines and advertised as such by the Cambridge Glass Company.

Many of the shell shaped pieces in this line are signed in the mold with the Triangle C. The plates and nude comports can be found signed to the side of the shell where the edge is flat (on top of the plate). The shell comports, bowls and ashtrays may be found signed inside the item where the flat edge of the shell curls upward. This mark was allowed to wear off the molds and was not replaced. Therefore, some of the later colors, such as Mandarin Gold, milk glass and emerald green will not be signed in the Seashell items.

The Seashell Line was available in moonstone (crystal frosted on one side), crystal, Crown Tuscan, coral (pale transparent Crown Tuscan with fiery blue highlights), Carmen, royal blue, amber, forest green and amethyst. However, these transparent colors are seldom seen in Seashell line items although they were production colors.

The following is a list of exceptions or additions to these colors of pieces in the Seashell Line:

  • #1 - 5" Bread and Butter plate: also milk glass, experimental colors of medium blue opaque, dark blue opaque and pale custard. (A similar 5½" bread and butter plate not shown here, was manufactured. It was perfectly round - without the flat edge, and was produced in all the Seashell line colors as well as an experimental pale green opaque.)
  • #2 - 7" Salad plate: also milk glass.
  • #8 - 11" Salad bowl: also milk glass.
  • #9 - 13" Salad bowl, shallow: also experimental pale custard.
  • #11 - 7" Nude Comport: also windsor blue, Mandarin Gold and emerald green
  • #110 - 4½ oz. Seafood Cocktail: also milk glass.
  • #21 - 6" ftd. Candy Box and Cover: also windsor blue and milk glass.
  • #15 - 6" Comport and #16 - 7" Comport: also windsor blue and milk glass.
  • #18 - 10" 3-toed Bowl: also windsor blue, and experimental deep blue opaque.
  • #14 - 9" Comport and #12 - 8" Comport: also windsor blue and milk glass.
  • #17 - 9" 3-toed Bowl: also windsor blue and milk glass
  • #47 - 9" Cornucopia Vase: also windsor blue.
  • #36 - Cigarette Box & Cover (small size): not produced in all production colors - only crystal, moonstone, windsor blue, moonlight blue and LaRosa pink.
  • #37 - Cigarette Box & Cover (large size): not produced in all production colors - only crystal, moonstone, moonlight blue, LaRosa pink, ebony, Mandarin Gold, emerald green and milk glass. (Both cigarette boxes were also available in the Alpine finish, partially frosted on the pattern, as part of the Caprice Line.)
  • #46 - 7½" Shell Flower Holder (commonly called the Snail Vase): also milk glass and windsor blue.
  • #34 - 3" 3-toed Ashtray: not all Seashell colors, but crystal, Crown Tuscan, moonlight blue, pink, pistachio, Mandarin Gold and mocha.
  • #32 - 2¾" 3-toed Individual Nut Dish: also windsor blue.
  • #33 - 4" 3-toed Ashtray: not all Seashell colors, but crystal, moonstone, moonlight blue, Crown Tuscan, coral, windsor blue, LaRosa pink, violet, Mandarin Gold, milk glass and emerald green. (Ashtrays were also available in Alpine finish as a part of the Caprice Line.)
  • #40 - 10" Flower or Fruit Center: also windsor blue and moonlight blue.
  • #50 - 8" Dolphin Candlestick (also made with bobeche locks on the candle cups for bobeches and prisms): also ebony, milk glass and with flashing over crystal.
  • #70 - 7" Candlestick w/Prism (also part of the Caprice Line): only made in crystal, moonlight blue, LaRosa pink or any of the three with Alpine finish.
  • #70 - 3½" Turtle Flower Block: made only in crystal, Crown Tuscan and ebony.
  • #1269 - 6" 2-holder Candelabrum (also part of the Caprice Line): available with or without the bobeche locks - also heatherbloom, windsor blue, Gold Krystol, ebony, Mandarin Gold and emerald green.
  • #29 - 8½" 2-compartment Relish: no report of this being seen, however it was definitely made in crystal and moonstone.
  • #45 - 52 oz. Jug (commonly called the Snail water pitcher): not known to have been made in Crown Tuscan or coral.
  • #1358 - 7" 3-holder Candelabrum w/Prism: only crystal, moonstone, moonlight blue.
  • #31 - 8½" Oval Shell: also windsor blue, Mandarin Gold, emerald green, milk glass.
  • #112 Sugar & Creamer, #111 - 5" Bon Bon, and Plate (not pictured, but made from the same mold as the Bon Bon): made only in crystal, moonstone and milk glass.
  • #213 - 2¾" ftd. Ashtray (this was not actually a part of the Seashell Line, but was a part of the Caprice Line), a slot at the back edge of the shell was intended to hold a place card: made only in moonstone, crystal, windsor blue, moonlight blue, LaRosa pink, milk glass, and Alpine finish.

The #17 and #18 3-toed shell bowls were made from the same mold. The #15 comport was definitely sold without a lid although it carries the ledges just inside the shell to hold a lid like the #21 candy box and cover. Both these and the #16 comport were all made from the same mold. The #12 and #14 comports were also made from one mold.

The #33 ashtray, #37 ashtray and #38 bon bon were all produced from the same mold and manipulated through the use of tools into the three different shapes. These ashtrays can be found with or without the shell detail inside them. The #32 2¾" nut dish has the inner shell detail while the #34 3" ashtray seldom does. The #213 2¾" ashtray lacks the shell detail always.

The #42 8" flower center was available in transparent colors with either a crystal or colored foot. One unusual variation is the #18 10" 3-toed bowl which has been seen in crystal with a fancy crimped or scalloped edge manipulated by a tool. The #33 4" and #213 2¾" ashtrays have been seen with a candle cup inserted inside the shell. Both are in the windsor blue color.

Decorations on Seashell items are generally limited to the Charleton enamel floral designs, the main designs usually being roses (called Blue Mist), or a large gardenia, on Crown Tuscan or crystal.

Charleton decorations have been seen on a very few emerald green and milk glass Seashell pieces, but these could be considered rare.

One unusual decoration found on the #14 and #16 shell comport is of the typical Charleton enamel floral and gold trim with a center scene of a boat on a lake and a house done in enamel. Another unusual Charleton design was that of enamel violets on the #49 shell base vase. The decoration was trailed around the vase somewhat like the color on a barber pole. This decoration was very attractive and few examples are known.

Some milk glass and Crown Tuscan Seashell pieces were decorated with gold trim edges or gold stippling. One rare variation of this is a Seashell candy box and cover with gold trim edges and overall shaded blue enamel decor on crown tusan. Crystal Seashell pieces may also be found with sterling silver decorations of flowers or clover. One shell ashtray is known with Lotus Glass Company decoration of all over etched and gold encrusted flowers.

The rarest pieces (those items hardest to find regardless of color) are the #38 4½" 3-toed bon bon, #37 4" 3-toed ashtray, #29 8½" 2-compartment relish, #70 turtle flower block, and the #45 52 oz. jug.

Of course, Carmen, royal blue, and windsor blue items in the Seashell Line are considered rare and very desirable. Amber, amethyst and forest green pieces are seldom seen in this line despite the fact that these were production colors.

Happy Hunting and may your treasure trove include a raft of SEASHELL.

Webmaster's Note: The original CRYSTAL BALL article reproduced five pages from the Cambridge 1940-41 Catalog. Those pages are not reproduced here. The pages to use with this article are: 13, 14, 13r, 14r, 15, 16, 15r and 16r, all dated either January 1, 1940 or June, 1941.