Vases - Part II

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 177 - January 1988

On a separate page, find eight pages of catalog illustrations, some of which are be used for this article. (NOTE: The supplemental page will load very slowly on dial-up connections due to the number of Catalog images.)

Continuing from where we left off last month in our discussion of the vases shown in the September 1987 issue of the CRYSTAL BALL, the first items to be discussed are those shown on the fifth page of the brochure. While not shown with a #3400 Line designation, two of the vases on this page, #1335 and #1242, do carry the #3400 Line design. As such, they would have been brought out sometime in the early 1930s, even though, like most of the other vases on this page, the basic shape dates to some years earlier. The #1242 vase was a popular one and will be found in many, if not all, of the colors of the 1930, including ebony, plain, etched and engraved. The #1335 vase is shown on a 1931 catalog page in ebony, etched Lorna and silver encrusted, and on a 1932 catalog page etched #758.

The #1228 vase first appeared on a Cambridge catalog page in 1931 etched Gloria, but this is no assurance it was new at that time. In this same catalog supplement it was shown in ebony with D/970-S or etched Apple Blossom silver encrusted. Later in 1932 it was offered etched #629 and when crown tuscan was introduced, in this color with a gold encrusted Portia etching or D/1001. The #1228 was also made in many of the other 1930s colors, crystal, amber, emerald, dianthus pink, forest green, royal blue and carmen. This vase does not appear to have been carried over into the 1940s.

The #1417, #1430 and #779 vases have their origins in the years preceding 1930. The #779 is illustrated on a 1931 catalog page in ebony with D/971-S, otherwise known as silver encrusted Gloria, and is one of the larger Cambridge vases, measuring 14" in height. The #1418 and #1430 vases are shown in crown tuscan in the 1934 Cambridge catalog supplement.

The remaining vase on this page is the #1336 or floor vase and it was covered in the previous article (December 1987).

The #1446, #1447 and #1448 vases shown on the following pages are an Aero Optic version of the #3400 Line. These first appear on a 1934 catalog page and remained in the Cambridge line until sometime during the 1940s. Because of their optic design, these vases will not be found decorated, but will be found as indicated on the catalog pages, in color.

The roots of #402, #783 and #782, like those of so many Cambridge vases, can be traced to the 1920s. Popular vases, these are relatively easy to find in color, plain and etched, since they were made in many, if not most or all, of the 1930s colors. Of the three, only #402 made it into the 1940s. Based on its design feature, #402 technically is a part of the #3400 line.

Two of the three remaining vases on this page are from the #3400 Line and are frequently seen today, plain and etched, crystal and color. While strongly resembling the other two in shape, #1309 is not from the #3400 Line since it does not have the characteristic design features. It too was a popular vase and is easily acquired by today's collectors.

The Gadroon Line was brought out in 1933 and the #3500/44 and #3500/45 vases were shown on a catalog page issued that year. The #3500/122 vase does not appear on the 1933 catalog pages covering the Gadroon Line and is infrequently found today. The other two Gadroon vases shown on page 7 are easier to acquire, although none of the three were shown in the 1940 Cambridge catalog.

Dating to a year earlier, the Tally-Ho Line was first shown on Cambridge catalog pages issued in 1932. The #1402/79 vase appears to be made from the same mold as the #1402/48 footed cocktail shaker, the only difference being the finish on the top. Infrequently seen, the vase was manufactured in all of the Tally-Ho colors, several of which were also etched. The vase was not included in the Tally-Ho offered in the 1940 catalog.

The vase designated as #3450 9" footed vase (#1130) was illustrated in the 1930 Cambridge catalog as the #1130 11" vase. Later when the Nautilus Line was introduced, the 9" version appeared as a part of it and is shown in the 1934 Cambridge catalog supplement. The #3450 7" vase is just what it appears to be, a cut off version of the 9" vase. An ebony #1130 vase etched Windsor Castle and silver encrusted (D/972-S) was shown in the 1931 catalog supplement and later the same vase in crown tuscan and decorated with D/1007-8 was manufactured.

The #1431 8" bulb vase was originally promoted as a Narcissus bulb vase. Quoting from the October 1934 issue of China, Glass and Lamps, "The Narcissus Bulb Vase, above, sells readily and profitable because it is attractive. Designed to hold four bulbs, it is useful for other bulbs, such as Hyacinth and Lily-of the Valley, as well as Narcissus. Done in the wide selection of masterful CAMBRIDGE colors." The masterful Cambridge colors included: amber, forest green, royal blue, amethyst and carmen.

The #3400/93 Ivy Ball is a part of the #3400 Ball Shaped Line brought out in late 1931 and is notable for its side opening. This ivy ball was featured in an advertisement published in the February 1932 issue of China, Glass and Lamps, and part of the caption read, "The Most Interesting Glass Novelty of the Season." Not too often seen today, the #3400/93 Ivy Ball was made in crystal, amber, forest green, plain or etched; and in royal blue, amethyst and carmen, plain.

The remaining vase on this page, the #1236 footed Ivy Ball needs little introduction or comment; as it is frequently seen today and is well known to most Cambridge collectors.

Five of the eight vases shown on the first two rows of the last page of the brochure or catalog supplement, as well as one from the third row, are vases whose basic shapes appear in many Cambridge lines in addition to being sold as shown here. These are the #306, #561, #6004 (both sizes), #308 and #309. A notable example of these shapes being used elsewhere is the Caprice pattern where the #306, #561 and #309 shapes were incorporated into the line.

Why Cambridge elected to picture the #3450 sugar as a vase is a question that probably will never be answered. However, what is shown with the caption "3450 3" 2-hdl," is just that, the #3450 sugar bowl!

Next to it is another member of the #3400 Line and it needs no further comment. At the end of the second row is shown the #2707 7" miniature vase and this is a shape seen in Cambridge catalogs as early as 1920 and certainly is not unique to Cambridge.

The #1330 Sweet Potato Vase was featured in a full-page advertisement published in the October 1932 issue of China, Glass and Lamps. The use of the sweet potato vine for decorative foliage (in the manner of ivy) was popular during the 1930s and the advertisement for this vase included instructions on how to proceed with the growing of such vines. The following month, the following appeared, again in China, Glass and Lamps, "The indoor days have arrived and many housewives seek green foliage. To meet this need, either as an addition to or as a substitute for ivy, the Cambridge Glass company ... suggests the sweet potato vine and has brought out an interesting vase which it calls the Sweet Potato Vase. The new vase is so shaped as to hold the sweet potato in just the proper way and with the vase there is obtainable a wrought iron holder. Rich, green foliage comes from the potato in three weeks. An actual example of a sweet potato vine in one of these vases ought to sell many of them in the retail stores. The vases are made in forest green, ruby, amethyst and ruby glass." Note that ruby appears twice. This is without a doubt an error and one of them should probably have been royal blue as previous ads stated the vase was made in this color.

The floating rose bowls were apparently brought out during the early to mid-1930s and remained in the Cambridge line until sometime in the 1940s. It is hardly likely these vases were intended for use as floating rose bowls when made in the darker colors of royal blue, carmen, amethyst and amber; however, they were made in these colors. The mystery is solved by an advertisement in the October 1934 issue of China, Glass and Lamps; "Quite appealing is the Floating Rose Bowl, for use as a centerpiece or on the occasional table. Beautifully blown, it has a design, which increases the beauty of the rose floating on the water as illustrated. The bowls also may be used as vases." Obviously when made in the darker colors, the intended use was as vases.

Future articles will cover vases in production during the 1940s and 1950s.