Cambridge Decanters, Part IV

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 145 - May 1985

The 1940 Cambridge catalog carried within its pages illustrations of 27 decanters. The majority of these, twenty, to be exact, were being shown as early as 1934 and quite a few even earlier. Several actually originated as early as the Near Cut era. Whether or not any of the seven not shown in 1934 were actually new in January 1940 remains to be determined, but is unlikely this was the case.

Nine of the decanters in the Cambridge line during 1940 remained so until at least the 1949-53 era. Hence, these have been covered in the first three parts of this series and will not be discussed again. In this group are the #1321, #1380, #1070, #1379, #1540, #1541, #3400/119. #3400/92 and the Mt. Vernon #52. That leaves 18 that were discontinued before 1949 and it these that will be covered in this and at least one future article.

Caprice decanter The Caprice #187 35 oz. decanter (at left) was shown on the original Caprice catalog pages issued in 1936 - the year the line was introduced. The decanter was made in the standard Caprice colors: crystal, moonlight and la rosa, plain and alpine. At some point in time, either before or after 1940, the Caprice decanter was also manufactured in other Cambridge colors such as carmen, royal blue and forest green. I say before or after 1940 since Caprice in these latter colors is not listed in the 1940 catalog.

The Caprice #188 2 oz. tumbler will be found in the same colors as the decanter and was sold in conjunction with it as a 7-piece decanter set.

In addition to being sold directly by Cambridge, this decanter (in the darker colors) was purchased by Farber Brothers and a silver decorating company as it is known with silver overlay decoration as well as in a Farberware holder.

Nautilus decanters The Nautilus line (left and right) appears to have been introduced in 1933-34. Quoting from an October 1934 advertisement: "The Nautilus design is an outstanding creation. Wine sets are especially attractive because of the striking decanter and the handsome glasses. Nautilus decanter Done in Crystal, Amber, Royal Blue, Forest Green, Amethyst and Carmen and combinations of crystal and color."

There are not one but three Nautilus decanters, 40, 28 and 14 ounce sizes and all were shown in 1934.

Six years later, in 1940, the three were once again pictured although color availability had changed.

The Nautilus decanters were listed twice in the 1940 price list, under decanters and as a part of the Nautilus line. While both listings include the three different sizes, there does exist a discrepancy between the two listings as to color production. Both agree that all three sizes were available in crystal, royal blue and amber and that only the two largest were being made in forest green. They also agree that the 14 oz. size was being produced in amethyst. It is in regard to Amethyst production of the other two sizes that the two listings disagree.1382 Decanter Life Saver decanter The decanter listing has the 40 oz. size in amethyst while the Nautilus list does not. The Nautilus list has the 28 oz. size being made in this color while the decanter list does not. Actually, this is of somewhat limited academic interest only since both sizes are known in amethyst from earlier years.

Regardless of the color of the decanter, the ground stopper being used for the Nautilus line during the 1940s was in crystal.

The #1382 14 oz. decanter (at left) described as "square" is not a part of the much later Cambridge Square line. Rather, this decanter is a smaller version of the previously discussed #1380 26 oz. decanter. No listing has been found for this decanter in color nor is it known decorated. The 1934 Cambridge catalog supplement, the first issued after Prohibition had officially ended on December 5, 1933, had this decanter as a part of two liquor sets. The first is a 5-piece set consisting of four decanters on a #3500/113 tray. The second used the same tray with two decanters and eight #3109 1 oz. tumblers. The 1940 catalog simply listed it as "Decanter #1382 14 oz. Square, g.s."

While "doughnut" is also an apt description, Cambridge elected to describe the #1542 decanter (right) as a "life saver". Apparently this decanter was introduced in the mid-to-late 1930s. The 1940 catalog listed it in crystal with a choice of ground or polished in stopper. While this 1320 Decanter decanter is known with a cutting, so far no listing for it in color or with other types of decorative treatment have been found.

The #1320 14 oz. footed decanter (at left) is a smaller version of the #1321 or sherry decanter. It first appeared on a Cambridge catalog page in 1934 but could very well date to an earlier year as does the #1321. The sole appearance of the #1320 in the 1930-34 catalog is with a large group of decanters and it is shown with a cut neck. At this time little else is known about the #1320 decanter during the last half of the 1930s and color as well as decorative treatments during those years remains to be determined.

By 1940 it was being made only in crystal with a ground stopper and was sold plain as well as decorated.

3500 Decanter set Four etchings were done on the #1320 decanter during 1940, these being Diane, Portia, Elaine and Rosepoint. One could assume, with a great deal of confidence, this decanter was being similarly etched 3500 Decanter set during the late 1930s and did not spring forth etched for the first time on January 1, 1940.

Decorated, the decanter sold singly or with 6 #7966 cordials, also etched, as a 7-piece cordial set.

The #1320 cordial decanter may be found with two gold decorations, D/1041, etched Rosepoint, gold encrusted, and D/1046, Gold Bands. In both cases, the decanter was obtainable alone or with the #7966 cordials, similarly decorated, as 7-piece cordial sets.

To be continued ...