Cambridge Sonata: the Oval Line

by Phyllis Smith
Issue No. 132 - April 1984

The Cambridge Glass Company purchased full-page advertisements in both the December 1956 and February 1957 issues of China, Glass and Lamps in order to proclaim the merits of their elegant new line of glassware. They called this lovely new creation their Sonata (#1957) line.

As I was in the process of researching the small amount of information we have concerning this line, I could not help but wonder if indeed there were any among you who would even be interested in what I might be able to tell you about this little known Cambridge pattern. But, because I am interested in the unusual when it comes to collecting Cambridge glass, perhaps you will join with me in "looking at" this lovely pattern that has been before us a long time. It has virtually been "over-looked" on our way to collecting such items as Rose Pont, Caprice, Swans, Nudes, etc.

This oval shaped pattern is really quite pretty, and hopefully, after this lesson we will all go out and find at least one piece to add to our collection. Please let me hear from you when you do!

Sonata Martini pitcher As you can see by the photo, Bill and I have been fortunate in finding a few pieces of Sonata to add to our personal collection. We feel that the most unusual piece is the Martini Swirler. It's the strange looking pitcher with the upside-down handle. Believe it or not, the handle is very comfortable to use and not the least bit awkward as you might suspect. The cream and sugar have the Rock Crystal Engraving "Radiant Rose" on one side only.

The ashtray is smoke in color (they were produced in crystal also). The 1958 price list describes it as the "#1957/6 12" Ash Tray (Executive) in whit e gift box, cut and polished top," and the price was $144 per dozen or $12 each (for either crystal or smoke). This was the highest priced item in the entire twenty-six item line. The Martini Swirler was only $60 per dozen or $5 each.

Most of the Sonata line was available in crystal only. Exceptions to this were the ash tray in smoke, and the S121 1-lite candlestick and the S100 10" oval bowl in carmen. A pair of these carmen candlesticks will be shown in the new Color Book being published by NCC. They are also shown in the September 1977 issue (#53) of the CYRSTAL BALL. The price list indicates that pieces in carmen were always a bit higher in price than those in crystal or other colors. The candlesticks were listed at $2.75 each in crystal and $3.25 in carmen, and the bowl was $5 in crystal and $7.50 in carmen.

Sonata Cruet As I mentioned before, the R.C. Engraving "Radiant Rose" was used on several pieces of this pattern. Besides the sugar and cream, you can find it on such items as the 15" torte plate, salt and pepper, 10" oval bowl, celery, footed comport, and the oil (shown at right). Other engravings used on pieces of Sonata were "Anniversary," "Charm," and "Spring." There may be others, but these are the only ones we find in our reference material.

A Platinum decoration was used on several pieces of Sonata and was called D/Silver Leaves. The footed comport, salt and pepper, cream and sugar, oil, 10" oval bowl, and celery were the items listed in the 1958 price list as having this Platinum decoration.

Other pieces produced in this Sonata line and not previously mentioned were the stemware items which included the goblet, sherbet, low sherbet, cocktail, claret or 5 oz. juice, wine, 14 oz. footed ice tea, and cordial. Additional items were the 8 ½" oval salad plate, 7" oval bowl, oval cup and saucer, 10" dinner plate, 2-lite candlestick (one of these can be seen in the NCC MUSEUM), 6" bonbon, 7" handled sauce boat, decanter, and two handled baskets of slightly different shape.

(Note: Most of these items may be seen in the NCC 1956-58 Catalog Reprint, pages 36 & 37)

Sonata was evidently produced until the second closing of the plant in 1958, but even so, that was only for a period of less than two years. It is little wonder that few pieces are being found today. I have a feeling that this pattern is much like the Cambridge Square pattern…in that the families who purchased it are still using it, and therefore the majority has not yet found it's way to the garage sales, flea markets, etc. Hopefully it will be available one day soon. At least now we have a better chance of recognizing Sonata when we do see it, as being yet another part of the Cambridge story!

Sonata Catalog page