by Mark A. Nye 
Issue No. 158 - June 1986

Over the years Cambridge produced a number of dinnerware lines with their associated accessory and decorative items. Many of these lines were sold plain as well as decorated with etchings and cuttings. In addition, there were lines that did not lend themselves to further decoration, Caprice being a prime example of this latter type of Cambridge ware.

As time marched on, some lines lost their popularity with the buying public and were, except for a few pieces, eventually discontinued; while others retained their public acceptance and of the latter, Caprice again is a prime example.

The lines that were discontinued were usually replaced by a new pattern or line, and this brings us around to the subject of this month's article. During the 1940s (no firm date has yet been established) many of the pieces in the #3400 and Gadroon (or #3500) lines were dropped from the Cambridge catalog and replacing them was the #3900 or Corinth Line!

The first specific mention of the Corinth line in trade publications occurred in the summer of 1949. Prior to that however, an advertisement placed by the Cambridge Glass Company in the December 1945 issues of both China, Glass and Lamps and Crockery and Glass Journal illustrated what now appears to be a Corinth plate and goblet. The accompanying text did not identify the ware shown nor does it promote a line, but its purpose becomes evident as one reads the words written over 40 years ago:

"'Crystal by Cambridge'

... top public acceptance!

Unsurpassed quality - .beautiful, patented popular shapes and patterns - consistent national advertising - .these are the plusses that have won for Cambridge crystal the esteem and confidence of critical-buying Mrs. American Consumer. When Cambridge again becomes plentiful, look for several merchandising announcements of special interest to you."

In addition to Corinth, there is also evidence that indicates the Cascade line was also conceived during the early to mid-1940s and it did not go into production until 1947 for initial sales in 1948. One can assume with some degree of accuracy that these delays were the result of war time shortages in supplies and manpower and once the resources become available in the post-war years, Cambridge began attempts to resume a full production schedule.

The first known announcement of Corinth production occurred with the publication of the 1949 Cambridge catalog, an event that took place in June of that year, with the line being illustrated plain as well as decorated. The following month a large Corinth advertisement appeared in Crockery and Glass Journal and the illustration was of a plate and goblet with the text reading as follows:

"CORINTH - Classic new beauty in fine crystal - nationally advertised. Corinth is a magnificent pattern that was virtually pushed into the market by enthusiastic glassware buyers who first saw it and were enchanted with its clean, unembellished lines, medium weight and sparkling clarity. It is truly a crystal of exceptional charm and one that is equally in good taste for casual or formal use. The line consists of a wide variety of pieces in flatware, stemware and serving pieces. The stemware includes optic cordials, sherbets, cocktails, wines, footed tumblers and goblets. For a new, fast selling crystal, be sure to stock Corinth."

The following month, August 1949, the same advertisement was again published, this time in China, Glass and Decorative Accessories.

The same illustration was used for a Corinth advertisement in the October 1949 issue of China, Glass and Decorative Accessories where the text went thusly:

"CORINTH - classic beauty of infinite charm in this gracious new crystal.

There is a timeless quality about Corinth. You can see it in the clean, graceful lines and perfect proportions of the design - in the matchless, rich brilliance of the crystal itself - in the dainty yet sturdy appearance of every piece. Truly a supreme achievement in fine glass making. Corinth is destined to be a best-seller everywhere. Backed by national advertising during your peak glassware selling months. See your Cambridge representative or write for catalog sheets and price list."

A new illustration was designed and used in an advertisement that was published in the September 1949 issue of Crockery and Glass Journal and the December 1949 issue of China, Glass and Decorative Accessories. In it were pictured the Corinth cream and sugar, cup and saucer, comport, dinner plate, a four footed bowl and two pieces of stemware, the goblet and cocktail. The text was essentially the same as quoted in the preceding paragraph. One of the changes was in the opening line which in these advertisements read: "Corinth - classic beauty forever yours in this gracious new crystal."

Corinth or #3900 stemware is not a unique design. Cambridge elected to take the existing #3700 stemware with its non-optic bowls, make the bowls optic and call the resulting pieces Corinth stemware. Made only in crystal, no documentation has been found that would indicate Corinth stemware was ever etched or engraved.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the Corinth line replaced the #3400 and #3500 (Gadroon) lines and as thus was the primary blank available for etchings from that point right up to the time of the final plant closing. The 1949 Cambridge catalog and price list offered seven etchings on Corinth blanks; Candlelight; Chantilly; Diane; Elaine; Portia; Rose Point; and Wildflower. In all cases, the blanks used were crystal. Corinth, as a line was never made in color.

In addition to the plain etchings, six pieces of etched Corinth were further adorned with gold. The individual cream and sugar, the regular cream and sugar, the #3900/72 6" 2-lite candlestick and the #3900/57 3-part candy and cover etched Rose Point and Wildflower also came gold encrusted or with a gold edge; while the same pieces were made etched Chantilly with a gold edge.

The gold decoration D/460 or "Wedding Band" (gold band edge with hairline) was used on a selected group of Corinth items that included bonbons, cream and sugar, (both sizes), relishes and the salad plate.

A similar group of items was decorated with the popular rock crystal cuttings; Adonis; Achilles; Lucia; Manor; and Maryland. Not included among the items found with D/460 is the #3900/165 candy box and cover; it, however, will be found with all of these engravings.

No single blank was predominantly used for the Roselyn etching when it was introduced. Nine Corinth blanks were used for this etching, including three jugs; the #3900/115 76oz. jug, the #3900/116 80 oz. ball jug, and the #3900/118 32 oz. jug.

Never a large line, the Magnolia etching will be found on three pieces from the Corinth line, these being: the #19 2-piece mayonnaise set; the #72 2-lite candlestick and the #114 32 oz. martini jug. The same is true for the Daffodil etching except that there are only two pieces from the Corinth line with this etching, #19 and #72.

In the early spring of 1954, the molds for the #3900/52 quarter pound butter dish and cover were ordered. At this point in time we have no indication whether or not the molds were put into use prior to the summer of 1954 and the initial plant closing. During the reopen period the #3900/52 butter was produced and etched Rose Point, Chantilly, Wildflower and Paisley. The butter, incidentally, was the only item from the Corinth line to receive the Paisley etching.

During the reopen period additional rock crystal engravings were cut on a few items from the Corinth line. Harvest was done on a relish, #120, as well as the martini jug and the #115 76 oz. jug; while King Edward will be found on three jugs; #114, #115 and #117. Other cuttings used in a similar manner were Laurel Wreath, Lynbrook, Rondo, Tempo, Roxbury and Wedding Rings.

Etched, plain, etched and gold treated or engraved, Corinth remains, in the words of an unknown writer, "classic new beauty in fine crystal."

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