Cambridge Muddlers

by Henry Ziegler
Issue #91 - November 1980

After the repeal of Prohibition, Cambridge like many other companies hopped on the bandwagon and began producing a large selection of barware. One of the more popular drinks of the 30's was an Cambridge muddlers "Old-Fashioned" which consisted of whiskey, water, sugar, bitters and pieces of sliced orange and/or lemon and a maraschino cherry. A cube of sugar and bitters were placed in the proper indention in the bottom of the old-fashioned glass and "muddled" with a glass or wooden muddler. The muddler was left in the old-fashioned glass and served.

Cambridge muddlers were mold formed. The company made three styles which are pictured on page 21 of "The Cambridge Glass Company" reprint of parts of the Old Company Catalogs Book II by Mary, Lyle and Lynn Welker.

Muddlers usually measure four to five and quarter inches long and are approximately one-quarter of an inch thick. Muddlers are sometimes mistaken for pestles and sometimes for knife rests. They should not be confused with swizzle sticks (long glass rods used in tall drinks such as a Tom Collins) whose purpose is merely to "stir."

The Cambridge Muddler No. 1 measures four and one half inches long and has a swirl design and is easiest to find in crystal. The most sought after muddler is the Rooster Muddler, which Cambridge listed as No. 2 and measures five inches. This unusual and attractive muddler is collected by figural collectors as well as those who collect barware. Again, the crystal Rooster Muddler is the most common, colored ones are much more difficult to locate. No. 3 muddler, extremely plain but recognizable by the bulbous base, is the rarest and has only been found to date in crystal. The shortest muddler of the three, it measures only four inches and must have been in production for a very short time. Five years of searching has only turned up four in this style.

Muddler/Old Fashioned glass Cambridge muddlers were not marked but some have been found with the original Cambridge label. Their accompanying old-fashioned glasses however carry the famous Cambridge trademark, the Triangle C. The 7 oz. old-fashioned glasses most easily found are the Mount Vernon and the No. 1203 Shammed. Apparently more muddlers survived the years than the old-fashioned glasses.

It is conceivable that Cambridge muddlers might be found in any color Cambridge made. However, the colors found so far include crystal, royal blue, carmen, emerald green, amethyst and amber. Several amberina muddlers are in the collection. The amberina color was perhaps carmen (ruby) that was poured into a mold that had not been evenly heated, causing part of the muddler to appear amber.

Mind shattering is the thought of finding a Gold Krystol, Heatherbloom or LaRosa muddler. Even more exciting would be finding a Cambridge muddler in an opaque color.

If you have been collecting old-fashioned glasses, you might want to consider searching for the muddlers to go with them.