Transparent Colors, Part II

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 188 - December 1988

Crockery and Glass Journal, in the issue dated May 14, 1925, published an article entitled "New Designs in Glassware Shown by Cambridge Glass Co." It appears to have been written by a staff writer and not by Cambridge. In this article are several references to a color called "amber glow" and late in the article is this description:

"The last shade (amber glow), by the way, is a new amber tint of a rich deep hue, and is a color of wonderful warmth and of strong appeal in the many numbers in which it is featured."

References to this color continue to appear during 1925 and in 1926 Cambridge advertisements began to contain references to it with a slightly different spelling, "Amber-Glo." For the next three years, Cambridge advertising included this color name with the last found reference dated May 1929. Concurrent examination of amber colored items from various time periods (excluding known Mocha and Madeira pieces) will reveal several shades of color, indicating formula changes at various times over the years. Thus the appearance of the name amber-glo may have signaled a change in the formula, one that produced a different amber tint than previously used by Cambridge.

Included in the May 1925 article, cited above, was a reference to a console set being available in "green, amber glow, blue or mulberry."

"A new console set introduces a pair of dolphin candlesticks combined with a tall rose jar in plain or twisted optic, in four colors, green, amber-glow, blue or mulberry, the jar having black cover and stand."

Again, from the same article comes this statement:

"For the dressing table there comes a charming set consisting of two graceful perfume bottles with drip stoppers and a large powder box. These come in four decorations and three colors, blue, green and amber glow."

Prior to this, China, Glass and Lamps of January 12, 1925, in describing the annual Pittsburgh Exhibition contained this statement regarding Cambridge Glass Company:

" ... These encrustations are offered on assortments of solid and transparent colors, the latter including amber, mulberry and cobalt blue." Keg set

From the May 5, 1925 issue of China, Glass and Lamps comes the following:

"Among the new samples at their display room ... is an all-glass liquor set in the form of a keg, set on a black glass base like a rustic wooden bench, a glass tray and 6 whiskey glasses. The tray is of black glass like the base for the keg and the keg itself and glasses may be had in blue, topaz or amber."

On the cover of the June 8, 1925 issue of China, Glass and Lamps was a Cambridge advertisement for a decanter and glass stated to be had in "amber, Emerald, Mulberry and Blue."  The next month, June 1925, saw Crockery and Glass making reference to a blue color in these statements:

"Among the latest additions to their lines are three-piece vanity sets, each consisting of footed powder box and two perfumes. They come with decorative floral bands in amber glow, mulberry, emerald and the new "Night" Blue, a recent addition to the colors brought out by the Cambridge factory."Vanity set

"There are also delightful new stemware numbers, console sets and other fancy items in the "Night Blue" which is a color of great charm, especially in table ware of delicate modeling."

References to a blue color continue through 1925 and into early 1926. It is generally believed all of the above references to "blue" refer to the color now designated by Cambridge Collectors as Cobalt Blue II. The fact the term "Night" is enclosed in quotation marks in the original reference leads me to believe this was an invention by the author to describe the color as was not an official name. Cambridge experts believe the color Cobalt Blue II was discontinued some time during 1926.

During 1925, 1926 and 1927, the most commonly mentioned colors in Cambridge advertising were amber-glo, emerald and peach-blo. Seldom mentioned were ebony, mulberry, blue and topaz.

From a column published in the September 13, 1926 issue of China, Glass & Lamps comes this paragraph with its reference to another Cambridge color.

"The illustration shows the glass place card in decoration No. D160, which has a pressed wreath effect, covered with gold. The cards also can be had with gold lines on each side of the wreath and they also are furnished plain with neither gold nor wreath border. All the popular colors are available in these place cards, including Amber-Glo, Emerald, Peach-Blo, Blue Bell and Ivory."

The next reference to blue bell is found a year later, in the September 12, 1927 issue of the same journal.

" ... There is one liqueur set, with a handled tray and six tiny tumblers, the tray in peach and the tumblers in six individual colors - amber, emerald, peach, topaz, bluebell and amethyst - with a particularly inviting aspect ... Also on the list is a fine cocktail set on a glass tray, naturally on a larger scale than the liqueur and whiskey sets, consisting of a large shaker and the tray, to be had in peach, amber or emerald, and six cocktail glasses in individual colors of amber, emerald, peach, topaz, bluebell and amethyst."

Indications are the color Bluebell was only In production for a limited amount of time during the late 1920s. The color was revived during the early 1940s, for a short time, under the name Tahoe Blue. With little or no change in the formula, it was used in harlequin sets that featured eight colors. After the molds for pressed Cascade stemware were created, the color was once again tried, but apparently never reached the stage of once again being a production item.

July 23, 1928 saw the following headlines and article published in China, Glass and Lamps:

"Cambridge to Show New Blue Glassware"

"Simultaneous Display of new Shade of Pressed and Blown Table and Stemware to be Made in Leading Cities, New Blue Color is Unusually Attractive."

"A new color in transparent glass will be shown August 1 by the Cambridge Glass Co. of Cambridge, Ohio. ... The new transparent color is called "Willow Blue."

"Before placing this new color glassware on the market, the Cambridge Glass Co made a thorough survey of merchandising conditions and decided that a blue glass, "truly blue" would fill a need of the trade. Having reached this decision, the next step was to develop a blue glass up to the standard and quality desired.

"For some months, the Cambridge Glass Co. has been working on this new blue shade. Rather than rush into the market, the chemists and glassmakers at Cambridge experimented with various batch combinations. The laboratory work was completed several weeks ago and manufacturing tests have been so favorable that the company feels at liberty to announce definitely the introduction of "Willow Blue."

"The color of the new glass is totally different than any now on the market. It is not a deep color, rather it is a strong pastel shade. In the blown pieces, such as goblets, footed tumblers, and so on, the color is rather faint than strong. There is just enough color to give fascinating shadows of blue. Pressed ware in the new color, such as plates, bowls and heavy pieces, is free from preponderance of color in one place. A plate, for instance, when viewed alongside a goblet before strong sunlight at a window, shows no "bunching" of color and to the eye is of the same color and depth of color as the thin-blown goblet. Willow Blue set This, of course, leads to uniformity.

"Willow Blue" is not a heavy color. At a distance, it has the appearance of quality crystal with a blue shadow. It is hard to express just exactly the color-shade in words. It is possible only to intimate the beautiful, consistent coloring of this new glass.

"The exact shade of blue also is hard to describe, but it can be said that it virtually matches in glassware the blue of the very popular all-over Blue Willow and other decorations on semi-porcelain and china.

"The coloring is more whimsical and fanciful than solid. It is suggestive more than compelling. But such factors add to its attractiveness, because pieces in the new color do not smash the eye or offend the color sense with glaring preponderance of color. While the color, of course, is in the glass, many of the uninitiated might believe it is applied faintly as a light blue iridescence.

"The new color is most adaptable to the great variety of shapes of staple and novelty glassware made by the Cambridge company. It is certain the new color will be welcomed as a most fitting addition to the Cambridge line of colored glass, which includes, "Peach-Blo", "Emerald" and "Amber-Glo."

"We have no doubt buyers will want to see the new "Willow Blue.’ As mentioned before, the new glass will be on display simultaneously in the Cambridge Glass Co. show rooms in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Detroit on August 1."

To be continued ...