Researching Cambridge Glass

by Phyllis Smith
Issue No. 117 - January 1983

Searching through old publications for information pertaining to Cambridge glass is a time consuming and often very expensive hobby. But, it is also fun and exciting and a pastime that we enjoy a great deal. Our only complaint is that we never seem to have enough time to spend in this manner.

While going back over some of the Xeroxed information that has been accumulated over a period of many years by several couples from the old Hokey-Pokey Study Group, I came upon a few items that I felt might be of interest to all of our members. Not really anything new, but just what I call "tid-bits" of information that make for interesting reading.

China, Glass & Lamps December 1949:

"A line of tableware pieces including bowls, chop plates, console sets, sugars and creamers, and double mayonnaise bowls in the beautiful "Harvest" cutting has been brought out by Cambridge Glass Company to match the stemware line in this pattern. Stalks of wheat, gray, in polished cutting, this distinctive design was introduced a couple of years ago in stemware only."

The popular "Crown Tuscan" cocktail glasses with the graceful coral figure holding the mandarin gold bowl are now back again to retail at $1.50 apiece.

Cambridge also has two new package deals on the Cambridge Arms centerpieces. These versatile centerpieces come in nine-piece and 11-piece sets retailing at $10.95 and $13.95 respectively, already packed in shipping cartons to eliminate need for repacking. A surprising total of 43 different combinations has been worked out with these simple interchangeable pieces and a book picturing quite a few of the suggested decorative arrangements is available." (NOTE: Those of us who attended the 1981 NCC Convention were privileged to hear Andy Anderson, long-time salesman for the Cambridge Glass Company, tell us how he worked out these various arrangements and how the photography for this book was taken in his basement. Having met Andy personally makes reading this type of research information all the more exciting.)

"Like Topsy, this centerpiece idea "just grew." Originally the candelabra was made with a finial instead of a well, until one day someone looked at a stack of them in the factory and began to realize what flexibility of design might be achieved with a group of moveable, interchangeable pieces. At first, too, the vases were made of blown glass, but the breakage on these proved so large that they were soon supplanted by pressed glass."

China, Glass & Lamps December 1957: (NOTE: This was during their re-opened period.)

"MARDI GRAS - This striking new gift line from Cambridge captures the Mardi Gras spirit in unusual contours, shapes, brilliance and gaiety! Every color of the rainbow blends to give the light, bright touch…there's nothing like it anywhere! Made in two groupings of designs, ordered by assortment.

Assortment A consists of: 1-A, 10" Large Vase; 2-A, 4½" Rose Bowl; 3-A, 7½" Triangle Vase; 4-A, 12" Tall Decanter w/stopper; 5-A, 6½" Pear Shape Vase; 6-A, Ball and Neck Decanter w/stopper; 7-A, Vase; 8-A, 4"x4" Square Heavy Vase. The eight pieces net at $40.00, retail $9.95 each.

Assortment B has 12 items, $36.00 net, retailing at $6.00 each."

(NOTE: The ad did carry a picture of the pieces described in Assortment A, but our Xerox copy is too poor to reproduce. The items for Assortment B were not described, so therefore we have no idea what those 12 items looked like. Since several items in Mardi Gras have been found and some differ from those described, we can only assume that they are from Assortment B.)

If this sort of information is of interest to you, let us hear from you and we will try to come up with a monthly series of similar information.