Cambridge in the 1950s - Part I

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 181 - May 1988

Webmaster's Note: Along with this article, and the one for June 1988, we have constructed a separate page which contains illustrations of Cambridge advertisements and Catalog items from the 1950s. It is intended as the reference page for this article by Mark A. Nye and Part II to follow.

The theme of this year's N.C.C. Convention is "Cambridge and the 1950s." For the next several months, my monthly article will be devoted to some aspect of this topic. This month we will take a look at what Cambridge was doing during the years 1950-54 by means of articles or paid company advertising in the two trade journals, China, Glass and Decorative Accessories (CG&DA) and Crockery and Glass Journal (CGJ).

1950s ad "Cambridge Arms - clever, fast-selling decorative table accessories in fine American hand-made crystal. They are the sales hit of every glassware department, these sensational new "Cambridge Arms" crystal decorations for table and buffet. Units shown in sketch below interlock and can be combined in no less than thirty beautiful, inexpensive centerpieces - each one different! Simple demonstration sells "Cambridge Arms" on sight. Nationally advertised - a real volume builder! Immediate delivery. See your Cambridge representative or write - The Cambridge Glass Company, Cambridge, Ohio." CG&DA - Feb. 1950

"New at Cambridge Glass is the "Esquire" line of "stemware without stems," with crystal bowls and feet of crystal, ebony, emerald, carmine or amber, to retail at $18 per dozen. Very modern, too, is the "Ebony" line of vases, bowls and ashtrays, candlesticks, etc. And the figure cocktail and cordial glasses are back with the crystal figure and foot, and bowl in amber, emerald, amethyst or mandarin gold, to retail at $1.50 apiece. Cambridge, too, has just brought out a stemware cutting to match its "Ivy" flatware, a beautiful pattern of polished and unpolished cut with mitered cutting near the base, to retail at $38 per dozen." C,G&DA - Mar. 1950.

"A new line of ruby stemware, with bowls of clear deep red on crystal stems, is being shown by Cambridge Glass Company, Room 1547 in the Mart. A liquor set in the same ruby color has little round glasses and the jug is finished with round crystal stopper. The liquor set is priced to retail at $6, and the stemware at $18 per dozen. A set of miniature vases, 50-cent sellers, come in four different colors, light and dark amber, emerald and amethyst, and in four different shapes. "Rosalind" is the name of a delicate new etched pattern inspired by a climbing rose. The stemware retails at $1.60 each, and there are matching square salad plates and a complete line of matching tableware. The "Aurora" line of goblets now comes in crystal as well as in several colors. This optic goblet with blown bowl and pressed stem and foot, retails at $1.25. New items have been added to the lovely, clear "Pristine" line, including a handblown tort plate retailing at $5.95, a hand polished rose bowl at $1.60, a new jug and a nite set consisting of glass and pitcher." C,G&DA - Aug. 1950.

"Highlighting" puts the extra sparkle in Cambridge etchings ... " (Author"s note: This quote appears in the full page advertisement that first appeared in the Oct. 1950 issue of C,G&DA.) REPRINT OF HIGHLIGHTING AD GOES WITH THIS Page

The May 1950 issue of Crockery and Glass had a feature written by Merey Dobell entitled "Here"s how to sell more stemware" and it was illustrated with photographs taken in the New York showrooms of Cambridge Glass Company. The text of that feature is reprinted here as it was short.

"Polish up on your selling technique. Check your demonstration methods against the ten proven ways that are pictured here.

Hold crystal, pastel or deep-toned glassware toward the light. Invite your customer to note the clear sparkle of the crystal and the even brilliance of tinted or deep toned stemware.

Sell more stemware by letting your customer see how it looks on a table. Show it with harmonious china and other table appointments. Have table settings of leading patterns set up.

Show your customer that the design she is selecting is an open stock pattern. Tell her it means she can replace broken glasses; can build her set by adding pieces from time to time.

If the stemware is the work of a famous maker, point out the maker"s name or trademark. Explain that the name stands for quality and beauty and has nationwide recognition for excellence.

Hand a glass to your customer. Invite her to feel its balance, call her attention to shape of bowl, stem, foot; how each harmonizes with the other. Stress ease of grasping and holding.

Invite your customer to run her finger around the edge of glass. Explain that the edges are processed to make them chip resistant or what ever is the feature of the particular glass you show her.

Coordinate stemware with dinnerware. Show simple stemware if customer"s service is elaborate, decorated stemware if dinnerware is unadorned, special glass to accompany certain chinaware.

Point out the beauty and daintiness of etching or cutting. Call attention to grace of design and perfection of workmanship. If designed by a well-known artist, stress the fact.

Tap edge of lead glass with your fingernail or a pencil. Invite the customer to note the sustained, clear bell-like tone. Glass of lime gives off a hollow ping with little ring.

After the sale, show other pieces in matching design or color to complete set. If she bought stemware, show bowls, compotes and serving dishes to lend personality to her setting."

Other quotes from the 1950's:

"50th year Cambridge Fine Glass Making - "America"s Best!" That"s how Life Magazine lists Cambridge crystal, one of but two brands to be so honored. A timely and most welcome tribute as we come to the close of our first half century. It is satisfying to look back over 50 years during which, with your able selling help, Cambridge has become the favored Crystal in millions of American homes. It is more satisfying to look to the years ahead, to plan for even bigger and better business ... for more beautiful designs and finer quality at prices that will always enable you to offer your customers "America"s Best" in find hand-made crystal. Thanks to you for the past. You can count on us for the future. - The Cambridge Glass Company, Cambridge, Ohio" C,G&DA - Feb. 1951.

" ... clear to see it"s Caprice that"s caught her eye! ... as it"s doing with millions like her through the powerful pages of (Ladies Home Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, Living). No question about it. Cambridge"s ever popular Caprice takes the ladies "eyes." Its swirling brilliance; its matchless grace; its honest invitation to use it, enjoy it every day, mark it a steady best seller you"ll want to feature! Especially right now when three of America"s leading women"s magazines are carrying sales-boosting Caprice advertisements! How"s your stock of Caprice? Order or re-order today ... fine American hand-made crystal by Cambridge." C,G&DA - June 1951.

1950s ad " ... on the square ... Cambridge will present at the Pittsburgh China and Glass Show one of the most distinctive new crystal shapes ever created by American Glassmakers. It is a pattern aloof from the conventional - an ultra-smart, imaginative design brilliant with the beauty of flawless crystal and astir with the mood of the times. ... You are cordially invited to see this exciting new pattern at room 101-103 in the William Penn hotel. On the square ... we believe you will like it." C,G&DA - Dec. 1951.

"The popular Cambridge Square Accessory line which Cambridge Glass Co., Cambridge Ohio, introduced at the Pittsburgh show will appear again in July in many new serving and decorative items. The accessory line had been coordinated originally with the successful shape of Cambridge Square stemware.

Its sleek modern lines, featuring the hand-made look, have made it such a hit that it is only natural that Cambridge designers would plan more items in this line.

Among the many new things this firm will show is a new Cambridge Square cigarette set packaged in a beautiful white hake-home gift box. Consisting of a handsome cigarette urn and two ashtrays, the set will be an approximate $2 retailer." C&G - July 1952.

1950s ad "A new addition to the CAMBRIDGE GLASS line is "Cambridge Heirloom." A combination of plain and blocked surfaces in hand-pressed glassware. Representative retail prices in the line which included stemware, tumblers and serving pieces are: $2.80 for a 12½ inch platter, $2.50 for a creamer and sugar. Also new is "Magnolia," an etched floral design available in both flatware and stemware." C,G&DA - Feb. 1953.

"New! Wanted! Wonderful! MILK GLASS by CAMBRIDGE. They"re the hit of the year ... these charming and popular new milk glass shapes handcrafted by Cambridge! With this best-seller line you can offer nearly 75 pieces for table service, for decoration, for gift giving. Everything from bowls to pitchers, goblets and candlesticks. Immediate delivery. Phone or wire your Cambridge representative today." C&G - March 1954.

1950s ad "BLACK VELVET IN GLASS! Never before a black glass like ultra-smart Ebon! Its velvety mat finish has a lustrous sheen unique in fine glassware. Its distinctive modern lines and square-cut base are direct descendents of justly popular Cambridge Square. Ebon has been a top hit with buyers at the shows. You can expect it to be an even bigger attraction on retail shelves, as its 20 smart shapes give customers new ideas for gift-giving and for their own discriminating use. Immediate delivery. Phone or wire your Cambridge representative today." C&G - May 1954.

"It was announced Friday that Sidney L. Albert, nationally known Akron Industrialist has acquired 100% of the stock of the 50 year old Cambridge Glass Company for an undisclosed sum." The Daily Jeffersonian, Cambridge, Ohio - Friday, September 3, 1954.

"New Management of the Cambridge Glass Co. is hopeful of resuming production at the plant as soon as numerous cost reducing measures can be investigated and put into effect ... " The Daily Jeffersonian, Cambridge, Ohio - Saturday, September 4, 1954.