Rankin Reduces Confusion

by Phyllis Smith
Issue 64, August 1978

Can you tell the difference between a Cambridge Turkey and all the rest? Do you know at a glance if an ebony stemmed Nude cocktail was made by Cambridge or is one that has been re-issued by Imperial? If your answer to either or both of these questions is "No", then you qualify for "Confused Cambridge Collector" status.

Many "Confused Cambridge Collectors" were gathered at the Saturday morning breakfast during the Convention, listening to our speaker, David Rankin. His topic was entitled "Cambridge Confusables", and we all left this gathering a little less confused than we had been previously.

Dave, as everyone knows, is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to discussing Cambridge glass. He is also the first to admit that there is much yet to be learned about Cambridge glass and that there are few, if any, real experts in this field.

Study is of course the only solution to our problems of confusion, but according to David we must also rely on our instinct as well as our good common-sense when it comes to making the decision as to whether or not a piece of glass is in reality a piece of Cambridge glass. The first and most reliable question to ask yourself is "is the shape Cambridge?", then take a good look at the color, "is the color a Cambridge one?". If you can answer "yes" to both of these questions, then you are headed in the right direction.

Dave Rankin with Turkeys and Nude cocktails It seems that many of us are forever being confused by the L. E. Smith turkey. David showed us an absolutely fool-proof way to never be confused by this turkey again. The next time you see a Turkey at a show, etc., simply walk up to it, remove it's lid and stick your doubled-up fist into it's cavity. A Cambridge turkey will accommodate two fists, with room to spare depending upon the size of your fist. The L. E. Smith turkey has room for only one fist, regardless of it's size.

The next step to follow in identifying a genuine Cambridge Turkey is as follows. As you stand there with both fists in this Turkey's cavity, take a look at it's base. Does the base have a Waffle effect on it? If it does, it is NOT Cambridge, but an earlier import. If the base does not have this Waffle like effect on it, then there is a good possibility that you are standing with your fists in a REAL Cambridge turkey! (For photos and further information see David's article on Cambridge Turkeys in the December, 1976 issue of the CRYSTAL BALL).

Another confusing item for many of us is the Nude Stem cocktail that was re-issued by the Imperial Glass Co. for a short period of time. They produced these with both ebony and amber stems with crystal bowl and foot. Since Cambridge did not make them with the amber stem, there is no confusion there. But they did make them with ebony stem and this has produced much confusion for many of us.

According to David, he has struck upon an absolute, positive, way of telling these cocktails apart, and he says he can do it even from across a room!! The "secret" is in the way the ebony stem is reflected in the crystal bowl.

If you can see what appears to be a wafer suspended in the bowl, it IS Cambridge. If on the other hand you see what appears to be a teardrop shape that is connected to the stem, then it is an Imperial re-issue. In the two cocktails he had for display these differences were quite apparent and if our photo reproduces well, you will be able to see the "wafer" in the cocktail on your left.

As with all good things, Dave's talk came too quickly to an end. But someone was over-heard to remark that this would be a good discussion to be continued next year. We all hope that this will be the case!