Cambridge Etchings, A Synopsis

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 172 - August 1987

I find myself once again facing a deadline and no time to do the research necessary to complete any of my current series of articles: Baskets and Butter Dishes. I promise I will complete both of these during the coming months now that the Convention is over; and since hopefully that means available time for research and writing.

However, this does not resolve the issue of what to do for August! I have been at an impasse, attempting to come up with a subject that could be handled easily from a preparation aspect as well as illustration. (Our Editor has been ill and I want to make it as easy as possible for her.) After much thought, I decided to start a new series, based on a slide program presented for the first time during the 1987 Convention.

Since (with only a few exceptions) etchings shown in the slide program are illustrated in Catalog Reprints available thru the Club, as well as in the slide program, limited illustrations will be provided with this series. If you are not familiar with the etchings and would like to know what its design features are, the original source will be provided with each article. Later, those few etchings not illustrated in available published material will be shown.

This series is not intended to be an in-depth review of Cambridge etchings; rather it is just what the title states - a synopsis of representative Cambridge plate etchings produced and sold during the 50 plus years the company existed. Perhaps in the months and even years to come, we may cover all of the Cambridge etchings, but that remains to be seen. For the foreseeable future, we will only cover those etchings included in the current Etching slide program; which, by the way, will be available for rental after September 1st.

All of the etchings in the following descriptions were illustrated in the 1930 Cambridge Glass Company catalog and its subsequent supplemental pages; and thus will be found in the reprint of this catalog issued by N.C.C., Inc. and popularly referred to as the 1930-34 Catalog Reprint. Several have also been the subject of detailed articles in past issues of the CRYSTAL BALL.

CLEO: In production by at least 1922, Cleo was not discontinued until sometime in the mid-to-late 1930s. There are full lines of tableware, dinnerware and stemware etched Cleo in crystal as well as peach-blo, light emerald green, amber, willow blue and gold krystol. Cleo remains easy to locate and sets may be assembled by today's collectors.

NO. 717: Introduced in the late 1920s, use of the #717 etching was possibly limited to vases. Unseen in this illustration is a butterfly located on the reverse side of the vase. Discontinued during the 1930s and not often seen today, #717 is known on amber, light emerald green and willow blue blanks.

WINDSOR CASTLE: This is a rarely seen etching produced for a short period of time (beginning in January 1931): and one that exhibits a great amount of detail. Shown in the 1930-34 Catalog, silver encrusted on an ebony blank, the Windsor Castle etching is also known on crystal, peach-blo, light emerald green and gold krystol blanks. Other colors are entirely possible. Use of the Windsor Castle etching was probably limited to items such as jugs, tumblers and vases.

IMPERIAL HUNT SCENE: Correctly known as Imperial Hunt Scene or etching #718, this etching was introduced in the mid-to-late 1920s and remained in the Cambridge line until sometime in the 1930s. Found on a variety of blanks in color and crystal, plain and gold encrusted. Included in the items to be found etched Imperial Hunt Scene are two full lines of stemware and dinner plates.

GOLD SCENE: Although dating to the same era as the Imperial Hunt Scene, the etching known as Golf Scene is found less frequently. Not visible in published illustrations, the design does include a gold ball in flight. Production of this etching was probably limited to use on select items such as drinking vessels and related items. Known in peach-blo, amber and light emerald green, trade journal advertisements implied this design was also available in willow blue, gold krystol and black.

DRAGON: The Dragon etching was in production in February 1922 and remained in the Cambridge Catalog until sometime after 1930, as it is shown on a vase in the 1930 Catalog. The Dragon etching is known on azurite, helio, primrose and ebony blanks, where it is encrusted with gold, black or red enamel and red eyes.

NO. 520: Known only as #520, this etching was in production by the fall of 1928 and may date to several years earlier. Discontinued during the 1930s, #520 will be found on complete sets of dinnerware and stemware in crystal and the colors of amber, peach-blo and light emerald green. Other colors are possible.

NO. 704: Etching #704 was introduced in the mid 1920s and remained in production until the mid-to-late 1930s. It will be found on complete sets of dinnerware and stemware as well as on miscellaneous items, in such colors as amber, peach-blo, light emerald green and crystal. Other colors cannot be ruled out.

TULIP: Tulip is known to have been in production by the fall of 1928 and was illustrated in the 1930 Cambridge Catalog. Shown in Cambridge catalogs on tumblers, a jug and an ice pail, it may have been used on other blanks as well. Discontinued sometime during the 1930s, Tulip, or #518, will be found in most of the prevailing transparent colors of the 1920s and early 1930s, including light emerald green and peach-blo.

NO. 726: Found in transparent colors as well as crystal, #726 most likely was introduced in the late 1920s, only to be discontinued sometime during the 1930s. Use of the #726 etching may well have been limited to such items as tumblers and jugs.

NO. 731: Rosalie, or #731, was in production by the fall of 1928 and will be found on blanks made in the transparent colors prevalent during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Etched onto a full line of dinnerware and stemware, Rosalie will also be found enamel encrusted and on unusual color combinations. Production of this etching ceased during the mid-to-late 1930s.

NO. 736: Another etching dating to the late 1920s and early 1930s, #736 was not intended for use on tableware. Shown here on an aquarium, it will probably be found on crystal and transparent colored blanks. This #736 remains an infrequently seen etching.

NO. 737: From the same time period as the previous etchings, #737 was perhaps intended primarily for use on vases. Rarely seen today, #737 was probably made in most of the prevailing colors of the period.

NO. 740: Probably brought out in the late 1920s, #740 is a seldom seen etching done on stemware and tableware in crystal and the transparent colors of the 1920s and 1930s.

NO. 741: Shown in the 1930 Catalog, this rarely seen #741 etching, is known in two versions. One with leaves at the top and another having a flower at the top rather than the leaves. Discontinued during the 1930s, #741 was most likely placed on both colored and crystal blanks.

NO. 742: A seldom seen etching, #742 is known on stemware and a salad plate in addition to a jug. Shown in the 1930 Catalog, #742 was most likely made in color as well as crystal. It is highly unlikely this etching remained in the Cambridge line for more than a few years.

NO. 743: Another rarely seen etching, #743 like the previous etching, was illustrated in the 1930 Cambridge Catalog and was out of production by the mid-to-late 1930s. Known in peach-blo, #743 was, without a doubt, placed on blanks in other colors as well.

APPLE BLOSSOM: Etching #744, or Apple Blossom, was introduced in 1930 and remained in the Cambridge line until the late 1930s. It will be found in a wide range of stemware, dinnerware and tableware, along with accessory and decorative items in most, if not all of the transparent colors of the 1930s. Colors such as willow blue, gold krystol, peach-blo and heatherbloom. Apple Blossom, Etching #744, was produced in large quantities and today is easy to find, although some colors are less abundant than others, willow blue being a good example of the latter.

GLORIA: Gloria, or Etching #746, like Apple Blossom, was brought out in 1930 but was discontinued before the late 1930s. Less frequently seen than Apple Blossom, Gloria is by no means rare, although it apparently did not achieve the planned for level of acceptance. Produced in most of the transparent colors of the 1930s, there is an extensive array of Gloria etched stemware, tableware and dinnerware, as well as decorative pieces.

LORNA: Lorna was introduced during the second half of 1930 and discontinued by 1939. Lorna was cataloged in a full line of stemware and dinnerware, but is infrequently seen today. Produced to an unknown extent in all of the transparent colors of the 1930s, including heatherbloom, Lorna, or #748, has also been seen on royal blue tumblers and is shown in a Cambridge catalog supplement on ebony blanks, silver encrusted.

DIANE: One of the more popular Cambridge etchings, Diane, also known as etching #752, and first seen in the Fall of 1931, was not to be dropped from the Cambridge line until 1954 with the initial plant closing. Diane will be found on most of the prevailing Cambridge colors of the 1930s and early 1940s. Complete stemware and dinnerware sets were made in willow blue, amber, peach-blo, crystal and possibly in gold krystol, forest green and heatherbloom. There are four lines of stemware etched Diane and two lines of dinnerware. Many pieces will be found gold encrusted or with a gold edge, as well as plain.

PORTIA: Portia, or #754, is another of the well-known Cambridge etchings and was brought out in early 1932, remaining as an open stock pattern for twenty years. Most often seen on crystal blanks, Portia was made in colors and pieces are known in heatherbloom, gold krystol, forest green, royal blue and carmen. Portia will be found on at least five lines of stemware and two lines of dinnerware blanks. Similar to most of the major etchings, many items in the Portia line were available gold encrusted or with a gold rim, in addition to being sold plain.

To be continued ...