Blown Candy Boxes

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 164 - December 1986

In anticipation of the upcoming holidays, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at some appropriate candy containers. May I suggest that any of the items described in the following paragraphs would make a most suitable gift and a Cambridge Blown Candy Box filled with homemade chocolate fudge would indeed be a fine and long remember gift.

This article will deal with the seven blown candy boxes shown in the 1940 Cambridge catalog. In addition, several blown comports shown in this same catalog will also be discussed since it would have been a simple task to place a lid on any or all of them and presto, a blown candy box with lid! While we have no indication that, for this particular group of blown comports, it was ever done by Cambridge, such does remain within the realm of possibility.

With two exceptions, a dimension of 5 3/8" is given for the blown candy boxes. This refers to the diameter of the box (or bowl since they are all round) and does not indicate height. There are tall and low versions of most styles, the only difference being in the height of the stem. In those instances where there are boxes in color as well as crystal, both the box and the lid will be in color while, with one exception, the stem and foot will be in crystal.

Please note before going any further the original 1940 catalog page (shown at the end of this article) has two of the candy boxes incorrectly identified. In the upper left corner, the box captioned as #3600/3 is really the #3500/103 or Gadroon candy while the box shown on the right side of the middle row is the #3600/3 not the #3500/103.

The Gadroon line first appeared in the 1933 catalog supplement and while neither the #3500/101 comport, from which the Gadroon blown candy box is made, nor the candy box itself were shown at that time, it is entirely possible at least the comport was in the line from the very beginning. The first reference for the #3500/101 comport dates to 1935 when it appeared on catalog pages issued that year. Some three years later, 1938, this particular Gadroon comport was available engraved Adonis and Croesus but so far, no reference to an Adonis or Croesus candy box has been found. In the fall of 1939, the Gadroon candy box was listed as being etched Valencia, Minerva, Rosepoint, Elaine, Diane, Portia and Wildflower on crystal blanks. Undoubtedly, most if not all had been available for some time. The 1940 price list had this box available with the Diane, Elaine, Portia, Rosepoint and Wildflower etchings. The #3500 line is one of the instances where there is only one blown candy box in the line, there being no low version.

When discussing the Gadroon #3500/101 comport, be sure to identify it by number as there are several other Gadroon comports, each of which have their own item number, not to mention a distinctly different appearance. These other comports were never used for candy boxes.

All available evidence supports a 1938 introduction for the #3600 line of stemware and it is reasonable to assume the comports and candy boxes would have been brought out at the same time. As shown on the catalog page, there are both tall and low versions of the #3600 candy box and each was made plain in addition to being etched Blossom Time and Chantilly. All indications are these particular candy boxes were not made in color.

Gyro Optic was also introduced in 1938, at approximately mid-year, and like the #3600 line, there is no reason to suspect the candy box was not brought out at the same time or shortly thereafter. This box was not further decorated since the optic pattern does not lend itself to etching or other types of decorations. The #3143/19 or Gyro Optic candy box and cover was made in color - mocha and moonlight as well as crystal. Unlike the other blown candy boxes, this is an instance where the stem and foot will be the same color as the box and lid.

The #3121/3 candy box and cover (tall) was probably in production by the mid-1930s and definitely by 1936-37. An example of the #3121/3 candy box etched Apple Blossom is known to this author and the existence of this piece indicates a relatively early introduction date for the candy box. When the low version, #3121/4 was introduced is not known at this time but we do know that it was in production by the beginning of 1939. In the fall of 1939 both styles, tall and low, were being offered to the consumer etched Diane, Portia, Elaine, Rosepoint and Wildflower, plain and gold encrusted; Elaine, Rosepoint and Wildflower also being available with a gold edge. At this time two other etchings were also being used to decorate #3121 candy boxes, namely Minerva and Valencia; these however in the late 1930s were being offered plain only, no gold enhancement. With the advent of the 1940s, the #3121 candy boxes remained available with these same etchings with the exception of Minerva and Valencia. While the etchings were placed only on crystal #3121 blown candy boxes, both styles were also made in amber.

Apparently made only in what was referred to s the low style, the #1066/4 candy box and cover nonetheless did utilize the complete #1066 stem which in itself is a short stem. The basis for the #1066 blown candy box, the #1066 low comport, was shown in the 1933 catalog supplement, but exactly when the lid was added to make a candy box has not yet been determined. The first known reference is dated 1939 but certainly they were in production before then.

In the late 1930s the #1066 comport was being made in crystal, amber, emerald, dianthus pink, moonlight, amethyst, royal blue and forest green. The candy box and cover, however, as far as is known at this time, were only available in crystal, amber and royal blue.

The crystal #1066/4 candy box was sold plain as well as etched during the mid-to-late 1930s and on into the 1940s. Etchings to be found on this candy box are Diane, Portia, Valencia, Elaine, Minerva, Rosepoint and Wildflower. Valencia and Minerva etched pieces will, of course, date to pre-1940 as these two etchings were discontinued in 1939.

The only one of the blown candy boxes to make it into the 1950s, the #1066/4 was missing from the original 1949 Cambridge catalog, but it did reappear in the September 1950 price list as well as on a supplement catalog page. In the fall of 1950, it was being offered in crystal, amber, amethyst, emerald (dark), mandarin gold and carmen. By the fall of 1953 only the crystal version remained in the Cambridge line and when the plant reopened, following the 1954 closing, it too had passed into history.

On the catalog page following the blown candy boxes (also at the end of this article), eleven blown comports were shown, seven of which had appeared on the previous page as the basis of the blown candy boxes. As said earlier, there is nothing in the design of the remaining four blown comports that would have prevented them from having been used, with the addition of a lid, by Cambridge as candy boxes. Even today, such a piece could result from a "marriage" of a lid and comport and it would be hard to say it is not an authentic item.

From the #3114 stemware line we have two comports, the #3114/2 low comport and the #3114/1 tall comport, both of which are described as 6" comports, again, referring to the diameter of the bowl, not the height. Introduced in 1936, the #3114 line was discontinued in the mid-1940s and indications are the comports as well fell victim to the war. This line was made only in crystal and did not carry an optic pattern on the bowl.

The third comport in the group derives from the #3111 stemware line and is known as the #3111 5 3/8" low comport. The #3111 stemware was brought out circa 1932 and remained in the Cambridge catalog until 1952; however, the comport was not one of the items being made in the final years of this stemware line. While the stemware is known in several colors, it is not known if prior to 1940 the comport was also made in color; however beginning in 1940, production of the comport was limited to crystal.

The #3122 5 3/8" comport (tall) is the comport most likely to have been utilized as part of a covered candy box. The #3122 line of stemware was introduced in the summer or fall of 1931 and remained in the Cambridge line until the initial plant closing in 1954. The comport, however, was discontinued sometime prior to 1949. Existing company records indicate the #3122 comport was made in crystal, amber and royal blue during the late 1930s and in 1940 as available in these same colors plus carmen. #3122 blown candy boxes in crystal, amber and royal blue would not be a surprise and chances are they were probably made at some point; however, at this time their existence is purely supposition.

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