Cambridge Showrooms - Part II

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 160 - August, 1986

Continuing with last month's topic, we take a verbal "look" at another Cambridge showroom this month. For some period of time, beginning in the summer of 1930, Cambridge maintained a permanent showroom in Pittsburgh. Prior to this, exhibits of Cambridge glass in that city where limited to trade shows, particularly the one held in January and known as the "Pittsburgh Show."

There is evidence to indicate this "permanent showroom" was not so permanent after all. By late spring 1931 the location of the Pittsburgh showroom had already been changed. Cambridge advertising from the summer and fall of 1932 still refers to the Pittsburgh showroom. A listing of Cambridge showrooms appearing in the February 1935 issue of China, Glass & Lamps did not include one in Pittsburgh. Hence, it would appear the original Pittsburgh showroom existed for less than a year and at its second location lasted for a maximum of a little over three years.

Our "observation" of the Pittsburgh showroom at the time of its opening is taken from the September 1930 issue of China, Glass & Lamps and the headline is original.


Enlarging its facilities to serve the trade, the Cambridge Glass Co. has completed an extensive display of its lines in Pittsburgh. This first permanent display of Cambridge wares in Pittsburgh is in the charge of Roy F. Murray, representative in the Pittsburgh district. It is located in the Smithfield Building at Smithfield Street and Sixth Avenue, near the center of Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle.

All those who have inspected the new display since it was opened early in August have congratulated Mr. Murray and his aides on its beauty, its almost perfect layout and the ease with which various fixtures similar to those in use in the sample rooms in the factory in Cambridge, Ohio are used. Another feature is the use of small rooms for special wares.

There is an extensive display of Cambridge dinnerware in Emerald, Peach-Blo, Willow Blue, Crystal and the new gold color, Gold Krystol. Two shapes are shown in choice of etched decorations in the various colors. In recent months, the Cambridge factory has added to its stemware pieces to be used with the dinnerware and the dinnerware, especially in the new 3400 shape - a fancy Early American - offers a complete range of every possible item for dinner service.

Each color or etching or shape of dinnerware is shown on a separate table, properly set and with flowers in the center bowl. At the sides of the large alcove are the wall cases displaying the stemware and special pieces. There are separate cases for the extensive lines of vases, the successful swan pieces and other decorative specialties. Included in the separate rooms is one devoted to Crystal and Ebony glass.

Another section of the large room is given over to specialties such as assortments, gift articles, smokers' articles and condiment items and sets. All items are shown in a variety of decorations, etchings, cutting and gold, and in all colors. A table in Amber-Glo showing a luncheon set with etched design stands out.

The attractiveness of the display strikes the visitor at once. The arrangement for ease of inspection could hardly be improved. Each form or variation of any particular item or items is placed near the other. Handsome mirrors have been placed on the walls adding further to the effect of the brilliantly colored glass and white napery. The mirrors are from the Conroy-Prugh Glass Co., Pittsburgh."

From a different article in the same issue of China, Glass & Lamps and also covering the opening of the new Cambridge showroom in Pittsburgh comes the following paragraph.

"The Cambridge Glass Co.'s large display is more formal. Display cases and tables in Italian oak finish give an attractive background for the varied Cambridge wares. In this display, the various lines are shown in separate alcoves. For instance, there is an extensive showing of vases in many shapes, sizes, treatments and colors. The vases are shown together. One section of the large room is given over to crystal, both plain and decorated, pressed and blown. The Cambridge Glass Co. is featuring their No. 3400 dinnerware shape in the new "Gloria" and "Appleblossom" patterns. The former is especially outstanding on the Gold Krystol, or light gold color. Like the other companies, this factory endeavors to make a complete showing of its most active lines."

Unfortunately, no pictures of the Pittsburgh showroom appeared in the trade journals or Cambridge advertising. Thus, we must rely on the above description to visualize how it must have appeared on that summer day, 56 years ago this month, when it opened.

Sometime in the summer or early fall of 1930, Cambridge also opened a new showroom in Chicago. In this case, we are most fortunate in that China, Glass & Lamps published two pictures, showing both the exterior and interior of this showroom, along with a short description of its furnishing. This page, taken from the October 1930 issue, is reproduced below. The Chicago showroom remained in use until the 1954 initial plant closing.

By Christmas time, 1930, the Cambridge Glass Co. had permanent displays located in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Detroit, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Wellesley Hills, Mass as well as in Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago and in the display room at the factory. Overseas, a display was also being maintained in London, England.

Chicago Showroom ad