Notes on Caprice #2

by Mark Nye
Photography by Dick and Luene Brandt
Issue No. 106 - February 1982

I would like to share some information and pictures of unusual items in the Caprice line that I have acquired or seen recently.

Photo #1 shows the #18, 5" fruit bowl and the #19, 5" crimped fruit bowl in Crystal. Both items were produced also in Moonlight Blue and Caprice #18 Fruit bowl were available with the optional Alpine finish but to my knowledge they were not made in any other color. The two bowls were probably part of the Caprice line from the time of introduction until the mid to late 1940s. Neither appears in the 1949 Catalog or any subsequent price lists or catalogs. Seldom does one see either fruit bowl today. This is the first time I have seen the crimped bowl and the first Crystal #18 bowl although I have seen it in Moonlight Blue previously.

Caprice Fingerbowls Photo #2 pictures the #300 blown fingerbowl and the #16 pressed fingerbowl, both in Crystal. The 1940 Price List indicates the #300 fingerbowl and its underplate were produced in Moonlight Blue, Mocha, La Rosa Pink and Pistachio but not with the Alpine finish. The #16 fingerbowl was offered in Crystal and Moonlight Blue and with the optional Alpine treatment. These two items were most likely included in the original Caprice offering and were discontinued sometime prior to 1949. Today, fingerbowls are difficult to find in any color but to obtain them in other than Crystal of Moonlight Blue would be fantastic. I have only the two pictured in my collection.

Caprice Vases Photo #3 illustrates, left to right, the #341 4¼" vase, the #249 3" blown vase, the #251 4" blown vase and an unlisted vase similar to the #341 except for the top. All are in Crystal. The unlisted vase is a small version of the vase described in my article "Notes on Caprice" published in the November 1980 issue of the Cambridge Crystal Ball. According to the January 1940 Price List, the blown vases numbers 249 through 254 were available only in Moonlight Blue and Crystal without the Alpine finish. The #341 vase is listed as being available in the same colors and with the Alpine finish. I believe the unlisted series of vases were probably also produced in Moonlight Blue.

Caprice whimseys Photo #4 shows two pieces, both of which are probably one of a kind items or whimseys since these items have not been seen before nor do they appear on any listing that has surfaced to date. The item on the right was made from a #165 candy box bottom and has spouts on two opposite sides. These were made by reheating the piece after it came from the mold and pulling out the spouts. Its intended use was most likely as a container for gravy, salad dressing, etc. The second item was made from a pressed, footed tumbler and probably was made to use as a vase. The top has been flared out and there are three large crimps. Both items are in Crystal and are now in my collection.

While at the 1981 NCC Convention and Antique Show, I was privileged to see several other rare or unusual items in the Caprice line or made from a Caprice piece. One of these is pictured in Photo #6. I believe this item is one of a kind. The stem is the #3011 middle size nude and the top is the Caprice #356 4" bubble ball, both in crystal. The design in the bubble ball is defective leading me to believe it was a reject. Caprice nude Ivy ball Second, the nude stem also has imperfections or damage at the top where it is highly unlikely damage could occur after the piece was fabricated without breaking the bowl or the stem. To my knowledge, no similar piece has been reported, the piece has not appeared on any Cambridge listing and lastly, the piece was found in Ohio. All of this leads be to conclude that a worker took two discarded pieces, joined them and took the resulting item home for his family's use and enjoyment.

Also seen at the convention and show was an unlisted rosebowl in Moonlight Blue made form the #165 candy box bottom or a very similar mold. I was unable to obtain measurements but in appearance it resembled the candy box bottom except that the top curves inward making a smaller opening, most likely to hold a flower frog. I was told by a Cambridge expert that this piece has been seen several times and most likely was a production item. Assuming this is true, it was probably also made in crystal.

A truly magnificent piece of glass is the #478 Caprice punch bowl which I saw at the NCC show. It was in Crystal and can best be described by saying it is a large version of the #105 mayonnaise bowl without handles. The punch bowl measures 15" in diameter, holds five quarts and is footed like the mayonnaise bowl. The only known company reference to the punch bowl is in the Supplement to the October 5, 1953 Price List. It is believed that the supplement was printed at about the same time as the October 1953 Price List as it is in the same format except it does not bear page numbers. Production of the punch bowl probably occurred sometime during the period from September 1953 through the plant closing in June 1954. Since Moonlight Blue was not listed on the October 1953 Price List as a current production color, it can be assumed that the punch bowl was made only in Crystal.

The Caprice nude, small rose bowl and punch bowl are in private collections and are not offered for sale. Several other rarely seen or unusual Caprice pieces offered for sale at the Antique Sale held in conjunction with the 1981 NCC Convention included the #202 cracker jar and cover in Moonlight Blue, a large "cuspidor" in Moonlight Blue, a #31 2 piece cake salver in Crystal, #15 12 ounce flat pressed tumblers in Crystal Alpine and Crystal #301 cordials and #200 wines.

The Caprice story is far from being complete. As with other Cambridge patterns, it is a never ending source of surprises. In the future I will add another chapter and discuss Caprice vases. In the meantime, I am always eager to hear from anyone with knowledge of unusual Caprice items or related information.