Cambridge Jugs, Part IV

by Mark Nye
Issue No. 140 - December 1984

Note: All jugs discussed in this article are shown in the Catalog page which appears at the end of the article.

The Gyro Optic line was in production by March of 1938, the first dated reference I have for the line and from it our next three jugs evolved.

The 1940 Cambridge catalog devoted two pages to Gyro Optic which, at that time, included stemware, finger bowl, two flat tumblers, 15 vases or flower holders of assorted styles and sizes, tall candy box and cover, and the three pitchers. The 1940 catalog was offering the vases in crystal, mocha and moonlight blue while the rest of the line, including the jugs, were being made in these colors plus LaRosa and Pistachio. The line, with the exception of the tumblers, was discontinued as #3143 Gyro Optic, prior to 1949.

The basic shapes of the three Gyro Optic jugs are not unique to the line. The #3134/38 80 oz. Ball shaped jug with ice lip is obviously nothing more than the #3400/38 jug with the added Gyro Optic pattern. Likewise, the Gyro Optic #3134/40 83 oz. ice lipped jug is based on the #119 jug and the #3134/39 86 oz. ice lipped Gyro Optic jug is basically the Pristine #71 jug with an ice lip and the Gyro Optic pattern.

We have another jug from the Pristine line, this time the Pristine #70 20 oz. ice lipped jug. 1940 saw this little juice or milk pitcher being made in crystal only and not being etched or otherwise decorated; however, it may have been decorated during the years prior to 1940. Like the other Pristine jugs, it too was discontinued prior to 1949.

The #1561 86 oz. jug with ice lip is simply the Pristine #71 jug with the added ice lip and yet, the jug was, at least in 1940, not listed as part of the Pristine line. Regardless of this, the #1561 jug was a popular blank, at least in 1940 for decorating. According to the January 1940 price list, this jug was being etched Rosepoint, Blossom Time, Chantilly, Elaine and Wildflower. In turn, these etched jugs were available plain, gold encrusted, or with a gold edge. However popular the #1561 jug was in 1940, it fell victim to the "terrible 40s" when so many of the older Cambridge lines were discontinued.

The Sea Shell or Shell line was introduced in 1935 and at that time the line was advertised as being made in amber, carmen, royal blue, amethyst, forest green, crystal and coral. The line, or parts of it, was also made in moonstone (which is crystal frosted on one side) and windsor blue.

The Shell #45 52 oz. jug or Snail water pitcher (as it was sometimes called) is not known to have been made in coral. This jug is rare in any of the colors and lucky is the collector who has this jug. 1940 saw the jug being made in crystal only as Shell and Krystolshell and while some Shell items remained in the Cambridge line until the final days, the #45 jug was gone by 1949.

The last of the 1940 jugs is also one of the most unusual, the #1560 80 oz. ice lipped jug with two handles. The January 1940 price list described it as "#1560 80 oz 2-handle carrier and server" and stated it was available in crystal, amber and moonlight. Again, lucky indeed is the collector who has this jug in any color, much less all three. It too, like most of the 1940 jugs, was no longer a part of the Cambridge line as the 1940s drew to a close.

And so we come to the end of the Cambridge jugs being sold in 1940. The 34 jugs represented many of the major lines sold by Cambridge during the 1930s and 1940s. To have each of these jugs in a collection would certainly give the owner a fair sampling of Cambridge production during that era.

To answer the question posed earlier regarding the number of jugs it would take to have each of the 1940 jugs in each color it came in during the 1940s, one would need a total of 115 jugs. Now, if you also want all the etchings and decorations being used on these jugs in January 1940, add another 87 jugs to your "wants" list. The 39 jugs we started with have suddenly turned into 202 jugs, all from the January 1940 catalog. Since many of these same jugs were made in additional colors and with other etchings and decorations during the 1930s, it is conceivable that if these were added to the 202, the grand total could approach 300 jugs. Hard to believe, but true!

The new book, "Colors in Cambridge Glass" pictures three jugs described in this series of articles, but in colors not listed here. The #3400/141 80 oz. jug and the #1206 76 oz. Twisted Optic jug are shown in Carmen and the #3400/114 64 oz. ball jug is pictured in Crown Tuscan.

In future articles jugs from the 1949 period as well as those from the 1920s and 1930s will be covered.

To be continued ...

Catalog page