Cambridge Decanters, Part VII

by Mark Nye
Issue No. 153 - January 1986

The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was proposed by Congress on February 20, 1933 and ratification was completed December 5, 1933. Thus, Prohibition came to an end!

Could this event have had any bearing on the decision by Cambridge to issue a special Beer and Bar Glassware Catalog Supplement in mid-to-late 1933? Or influenced the items included in the 1934 catalog supplement? There is not much doubt in this writer's mind that the end of the "great experiment" would have created or recreated markets for bar and beverage ware and that Cambridge would have made every effort to capture it's share of this market.

The 1934 Cambridge catalog supplement included two pages devoted to decanters and on these pages forty items were shown. Many of these decanters have been discussed in previous articles since they were being made in 1940 and later. There are, however, 14 items shown that we have not yet covered. Three of the 14 are individual beverage containers without stoppers, and another is called a flask, leaving 10 "true" decanters; however all will be covered in the course of this article. None of the decanters or other items covered in this article appeared in the 1940 Cambridge catalog or later price lists and catalogs; hence, all were dropped from the Cambridge line before the end of the 1930s.

We begin our discussion with two items from the Tally-Ho line, the #1402/38 and #1402/39 34 oz. decanters. These are identical decanters except the #39 has an applied or stuck handle while the #38 does not. The Tally-Ho or #1402 line was introduced in 1932 and although the line was continued into the early 1940s, the decanters had been discontinued by 1940. Tally-Ho decanters are known in amber, crystal, royal blue, Carmen and may have been also produced in amethyst and forest green. Regardless of the color of the decanter proper, the stopper and handle are in crystal.

The #1402 decanter is known etched Catawba and it is entirely possible other etchings were applied to this decanter, as well as to the #1402/39. Both decanters will also be found with a silver overlay decoration. The handled version of the Tally-Ho decanter was sold in a 7-piece boxed set, consisting of the decanter, stopper and six #1402/37 2½ oz. handled tumblers. The latter actually resemble small, flat cups and were also known as after-dinner cups.

Recent research indicates the molds for the decanters as well as the #1402/37 tumblers were destroyed in 1940.

The #1324 22 oz. decanter probably predates its 1930s debut in the 1931 catalog supplement, as a part of the Sport Novelties offering and decorated with D/906. The following year, this decanter was included in the Varsity Sport Glassware line and is shown with a golf ball stopper, decorated for Stanford University. With the end of Prohibition in sight, a page of the 1933 catalog supplement was titled "Beverage Accessories" and here we again find the #1324 decanter, this time undecorated and with the #1 jigger stopper.

The sole known illustration of the #1385 28 oz. decanter is the one found in the 1934 catalog supplement and it appears to possibly show a colored item. No information regarding this decanter has been found except indications the mold was junked in 1940. The shape and style of this decanter is somewhat unusual and it probably originated in the Nearcut era. The stopper shown in the illustration appears to be similar to the style used for the Tally-Ho decanters, but this does not mean they are identical stoppers.

The item to be covered next is the one captioned under its illustration in the 1934 catalog supplement as a flask rather than a decanter, and is the #3400/46 12 oz. flask, sometimes referred to as a cabinet flask. This flask was probably made in most of the prevailing colors of the 1930s. Blanks in crystal and color were etched with several of the popular etchings of the period, including Diane, Portia and Apple Blossom. As is true for all items in this article, the #3400/46 flask did not survive into the 1940s.

At first glance it would appear decanters #1389 and #1325 were made using different molds. Such is not the case as both were made from a single mold. The differences between the two arise from the way the top of the neck is finished and the applied handle used on #1389. Both are similar in shape to the #1386 30 oz. decanter discussed in part VI; however, even though it is of the same capacity, indications are the latter came from a separate mold.

Little is known about the #1389 and #1325 decanters. Their shape is a common one, first used in the earliest years of Cambridge production and the mold used for these two items may very well have been made and initially used during the Nearcut years. It is possible both decanters were made in colors as well as in crystal and decorated with etchings or cuttings. Discontinued before 1940, the mold used for these decanters was most likely junked in 1940.

Shown in 1934 as the #3078 32 oz. decanter, our next item was illustrated on two prior occasions in the 1930-34 catalog captioned as the #3145 32 oz. decanter. There is no question that these are the same object, only the number being different. The first appearance of the decanter as #3078 is on page 17 of the 1933 Cambridge catalog supplement where it appears to be in color and shown with #3078 stemware and the #3078 jug. In 1931, both the jug and decanter were identified as #3145 items; this also being the case in the original 1930 catalog. The reason for the later number change to #3078 has yet to be learned.

Decoration of the #3078 decanter was probably not done nor would it have been decorated as the #3145. Production in color, however, did take place. Quoting the caption to an illustration that appeared in the August 1933 issue of China, Glass and Lamps picturing the #3078 decanter, jug and four tumblers:

"The #3078 stemware line of the Cambridge Glass Co. at the right illustrates four sizes of half sham beverage tumblers. The capacity of these are 15, 12, 5 and 2½ oz. The jug and decanter shown are supplementary pieces to a full stemware line. This line is in colors of crystal, forest green, royal blue, amber and amethyst. The tumblers illustrated may also be had in ruby."

The stoppers used for these decanters, regardless of the number or color, were produced only in crystal. As is true for many of the items covered in this article, the mold for the #3145/3078 decanter was scrapped in 1940.

We turn next to three similar decanters that vary only in capacity, the #1375 10 oz., the #1376 16 oz. and the #1377 32 oz. These decanters had their origins in the very first years of Cambridge and evidence exists to suggest the original molds were not of Cambridge origin, but rather came from McKee. (This is not surprising since when it was founded, the Cambridge Glass Co. was a part of the National Glass Co.) Over the years these decanters were made with different stoppers and the smaller size was also sold as a bitters bottle as well as a phosphate bottle. The Cambridge catalog issued circa 1920-21 offered the 32 oz. size as the "No. 18 32 oz. paste mould decanter, seamless" or as "No. 312 32 oz. Iron Mould with seam." It was sometime during the late 1920s or very early 1930s the numbering scheme for these items was changed and the #1375 and #1377 designations assigned.

Over the years this group of three decanters was made plain as well as with various cut flute type decorations and other cut decorations. No indication of color production or decoration with etchings has been found but such cannot be ruled out. Production of these decanters finally ceased during the mid-to-late 1930s and the molds found their way to the scrap pile during 1940.

Miniature decanters complete the items from the 1934 catalog supplement to be discussed in this article. Listed as individual decanters with capacities of 2 oz., 1½ oz and 1¼ oz, these stopperless decanters appeared in the Cambridge line as early as circa 1910 as paste mold blown individual decanters. It is unlikely these items were an active part of the Cambridge line from 1910 on; as would be the case for any of the early decanters, it is more than likely they were revived in 1933-34 to capture new business resulting from the end of Prohibition.

Two other decanters, not yet discussed, also appear in the 1930-34 Cambridge catalog; these being the #315 28 oz and 16 oz., shown on page 45 of the original 1930 catalog. Earlier, this shaped decanter was shown circa 1920 as the #17 28 oz. decanter. In the Cambridge catalog issued around that time, the #17 was shown plain with a cut neck and stopper, and again with a cut neck and stopper but also etched Marjorie.

An illustration published in the June 8, 1925 issue of China, Glass and Lamps that included this decanter, had the following caption:

"A Wine Set unique, composed of decanter with footed glasses on round tray, can be had in Amber, Emerald, Mulberry and Blue. The tray is in Ebony only ..."

The blue referred to, based on the time period, is probably what we now call Cobalt 2.

Returning to the 1930-34 catalog, as the #315 this decanter is shown etched #758. This latter combination has been seen in emerald (light) and it is highly likely the #315 decanters were produced in other 1930s colors as well. Other etchings are also a distinct possibility.

In the first article in this series on decanters, the items covered included the #1321 decanter. At that time the existence of this decanter in moonlight crackle was overlooked. The interested reader can find an illustration of a moonlight crackle #1321 decanter in the book Colors in Cambridge Glass. From the second article, the #1070 pinch decanter, in addition to the colors mentioned there, is also known in Bluebell. Similarly, the #1322 decanter, discussed in Part III, will be found in Gold Krystol, etched Gloria, a combination not previously mentioned for this item.

To be continued ...

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