Cambridge Decanters, Part VI

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 149 - September 1985

This article on decanters will conclude the coverage of decanters available from the 1940 Cambridge catalog. Parts IV and V, published in the May and July 1985 Crystal Ball, began the discussion of decanters shown in that catalog. (Refer to the catalog page at the end of this article for illustrations).

The first known reference to the #1378 26 oz. Colonial decanter is the 1934 Cambridge catalog supplement, where it was shown with many other decanters on a page titled "Decanters." The style of this decanter strongly hints at origins in the Near Cut era, but it has not, as yet, been found in a Cambridge catalog from those early years. At the very least, the basic shape and style used for the #1378 decanter was taken from an earlier water bottle or decanter.

Produced only in crystal during the 1940s, the #1378 decanter was decorated with the rock crystal cutting #1040 during the early to mid 1940s. Like all decanters covered in this article, the #1378 was dropped from the Cambridge line sometime during the mid to late 1940s.

The #1379 26 oz. Colonial decanter, which first appeared on the 1934 supplement page devoted to decanters, can be traced to the Near Cut pattern #2800 Community Crystal, first produced ca 1915. The #2800 line included two decanters identical in shape and appearance to the #1379, but with larger capacities of 32 and 40 oz. Due to the significant differences in sizes, a new mold would have been made for the #1379, but using the #2800 decanters as models.

Made only in crystal during the 1940s, the #1379 decanter, which has a ground stopper, was, for a few years, decorated with the rock crystal cutting #1041.

A careful examination of the Mt. Vernon #52 40 oz. decanter reveals its basic shape and style is identical to the #1379 and also to the #2800 decanters. Since both the #2800/78 and the Mt. Vernon decanters have a capacity of 40 oz., it is entirely possible the older Community decanter mold could have been reworked into the one used to produce the Mt. Vernon #52 decanter.

Another decanter whose shape is taken from the Near Cut years is the #1383 24 oz. Colonial decanter. Its shape and pattern is from the #2750 Colonial Ware line first seen in a 1910 Cambridge catalog as the #2750 wine decanter. It was listed as selling at $7 a dozen. Later, in 1917, it appeared as the #2750/130 26 oz. wine decanter and, as in 1910, utilized a slightly different stopper than the one used in the 1940s.

As the #1383 24 oz. decanter, the first pictorial reference is the now familiar 1934 catalog page showing decanters. No reference was located for any decorating work done on this decanter and, like so many others shown in the 1940 catalog, was made in crystal only during the 1940s with a ground stopper.

Note the same style stopper used for the #1383 was also used for the Mt. Vernon and the #'s 1378, 1379, 1320, 1321 and 1322 decanters.

Returning once again to the Near Cut years, we find the #1253 26 oz. water bottle which carried the added description "State Room." This bottle not only has the same shape, but also the cut flute decoration on the neck and body as does our next 1940 decanter, the #1322 26 oz. The only thing lacking from the #1253 water bottle but found with the #1322 decanter is a stopper. The #1253 water bottle dates to ca 1921 while we first see the #1322 decanter on a supplemental catalog page issued by Cambridge in 1931 and titled "Sport Novelties - Color Decorations."

It is on this same page that we find the #1322 decanter, decorated with D/985 or Three Canny Scots. To go with the decanter, the #3000 3 oz. footed tumblers, also with D/985, is shown. The #1322 decanter was utilized in the Varsity Sport Glassware line as it was shown in 1932 decorated for the Northwestern University Wild Cats. Then, in 1933, on a page titled "Beverage Accessories," we find the #1322 decanter with the #1 Jigger stopper.

The first known reference to the #1386 30 oz. decanter is the 1934 Cambridge catalog supplement. Prior to this date we find a decanter, identical in shape and with an identical stopper, illustrated as a #19 in a Cambridge catalog issued ca 1921. The sole difference seen in the #19 are its capacity, 28 oz., and the cut flute neck. The basic shape, however, is a rather common one and was in use by Cambridge as early as 1910 for bitter bottles, decanters and phosphate bottles.

Beginning in the late 1930s, the first known reference is dated January 1938; the #1386 decanter was decorated with at least thirteen rock crystal engravings. The January 1938 reference lists this decanter as being available to the trade with the Adonis and Croesus cuttings. Later, and on into the early 1940s it was, at various times, available cut Sunburst, Moreno, Lexington, Bexley, Lucia, Windsor or #944, King Edward, Buckingham, Laurel Wreath, Concord and Exeter.

From 1940 until it was discontinued, the #1386 decanter was made only in crystal with a ground stopper, a stopper not found on any of the other 1940 decanters.

The #1323 28 oz. decanter undoubtedly predates its first known appearance on a Cambridge catalog page which dates to 1931. At that time, it was shown as part of the Sport Novelties Line, decorated with D/983, Polo Scene. As best as can be determined from the catalog illustrations, at that time the #1323 utilized a plain round headed stopper. The #1066 3½ oz. cocktail decorated to sell with the decanter had only the lines from D/983 and did not bear the actual polo scene.

In 1933, the #1323 decanter reappears, this time undecorated but with a #1 Jigger stopper, on a page titled "Beverage Accessories." When it appeared the following year on the page devoted to decanters, a faceted round headed stopper was used and the decanter neck had cut flutes.

The 1940 catalog illustration has this decanter with a plain round stopper but later, during the early 1940s, the faceted stopper was once again used, especially when the decanter body was decorated with rock crystal cuttings.

The first known reference to the #1323 decanter decorated with rock crystal cuttings dates to early 1938 when it was being offered to the trade with either the Adonis or Croesus cutting. At one time or another, during the late 1930s and early to mid 1940s, numerous other cuttings were done on #1323 decanter blanks. These include Sunburst; Bexley, Lexington, Lucia, Cordelia, Ravena, Cicero, Melrose, Achilles, Windsor or #944, King Edward, Buckingham, Concord, Exeter, Stafford, Brentwood, Laurel Wreath, Symphony and Celestial.

Closing out he 1940 decanters, we have the #1369 36 oz. Melon fluted decanter. This decanter is not pictured in the NCC 1930-34 Cambridge Catalog Reprint, nor does the shape appear in earlier years. The Cambridge melon decanter was probably brought out during the second half of the 1930s and, while made only in crystal after 1940, they were probably made in at least amber and amethyst during the late 1930s. Other colors are also possible. No reference to any decorating of this decanter has been found and hence, it was probably sold plain only. Its ground stopper is of the same style used for the #1388 handled and footed decanter previously discussed in part V.

Concerning two other decanters covered in Part V, a reader reports a #3400/113 decanter in ebony with a crystal handle as well as a #1387 decanter having a crystal body with an amethyst shade handle and foot. The term "amethyst shade" is used since the color does not appear to be the amethyst of the 1930s and later.

Cambridge decanters