Transparent Colors, Part VII

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 194 - June 1989

Each year the National Glass Budget published a Glass Factory Directory and the following was in the 1932 edition:

"MANUFACTURERS of Pressed and Blown Glassware in Stemware - Dinnerware - Luncheon Sets - Refreshment Sets - Decorative Centerpieces - Novelties - as well as a general line of ETCHED and DECORATED TABLEWARE and Novelty Glass. Lines complete in Etchings, Engravings, Gold and Silver Encrustations and Plain Ware in Cambridge Colors: Gold Krystol, Emerald, Willow Blue, Peach-Blo, Amber-Glo, Ebony, Royal Blue, Carmen, Forest Green, Amethyst, Heatherbloom.

Cambridge, Ohio."

During the next few years, no new transparent colors were brought out. In fact, it was not until 1936 that any new transparent colors were introduced. By the beginning of 1932, the Cambridge line included all of the major color families then being used for glass, and emphasis was placed on using the existing colors for various items and lines. This month's article is devoted to items from the trade journals describing how Cambridge used color during the years 1932-35. Unless otherwise stated, the source of the items is China, Glass & Lamps.

From February 1932 comes this, regarding the Mount Vernon Line:

"The Mount Vernon pattern ... which is shown at their display room at 184 Fifth Avenue, is a brilliant crystal. It naturally lends itself to the early American dining room ensemble. The Mount Vernon is made in the finest Cambridge antique colors of amber, royal blue, forest green, carmen and crystal."

It is nice to know Cambridge considered their colors "antique!"

No illustration is available for the following taken from the March 1932 issue, so we don't know what items made up the set, but it is included for the interesting wording:

"A clever beverage set is offered by the Cambridge Glass Co. in their Merchandise Mart showroom. (Author's note: this would be the Chicago showroom.) It is made up of eight 10 ounce tumblers, handled ice-bucket, ice tongs and tray. In the deep beauty of Cambridge amethyst, forest green or royal blue glass this beverage set should crash through any sales resistance quicker than Walter Winchell okays the Golden Gate."

The following two items date to May 1932:

" ... A table of Cambridge "heatherbloom" was one of the centers of interest. And speaking of Cambridge and interest, the alluring rock crystal cuttings of this line have been steadily soaring in popularity at this store. (Author's note: Mandels of Chicago.) Miss Jean Abbey, the Women's Home Companion shopper who talks over the Chicago station WBBM, devoted time on one of her Tuesday talks to "Heatherbloom.""

"Cambridge Glass Co. are showing a new ice tea set in their Chicago showroom in the Merchandise Mart. This is made up of a graceful jug with crystal handle and crystal foot in combination with a half dozen footed tumblers. These tumblers have a crystal ball stem and foot. The sets are available in Forest Green, Royal Blue and Amethyst in conjunction with crystal."

The following month the Martha Washington line was featured in a full-page advertisement with this caption:


In Cambridge reproductions of Authentic early American Patterns. A full and complete line obtainable in sparkling crystal, the antique colors of amber, royal blue, forest green and ruby and in the modern colorings, Heatherbloom and Gold Krystol."

It is highly unlikely "ruby" refers to a new color, but rather is a synonym for carmen.

The fall of 1932 saw a full page advertisement (found at the end of this article), again in China, Glass and Lamps, for sweet potato vases and it was stated these items were furnished in Forest Green, Ruby, Amethyst and Royal Blue.

October 1932 saw an advertisement for a "new handled decanter set" consisting of the #3400/113 decanter and six #1341 cordials. "It is one of their new smart Fall items and is shown in amber, forest green, carmine, amethyst, royal blue as well as crystal ... " Note that the Cambridge red color is once again referred to as carmen, but note the spelling.

May 1933 saw an Everglade console set, consisting of the #1 10" bowl and two #3 candelabrum, advertised with the following text:

"This leaf bowl and two way leaf candelabra are shown by the Cambridge Glass Co. The bowl is one of the newest numbers brought out by the firm and was designed to match the candelabra which were brought out some time ago. The sets are in crystal, amber, forest green, willow blue and carmen (ruby)."

Throughout the spring of 1933, the Tally-Ho line was featured and it was stated "to be had in the full range of Cambridge colors."

"At the right is a tricky little oil and vinegar set made by the Cambridge Glass Co. The bottles come in various colors, set in a crystal holder, and is a smart accessory for Summer salads." June, 1933.

I have no idea why the set was thought to be "tricky," but it consisted of two of the #3400/96 2 oz. oil and their handled holder.

Accompanying an illustration showing four pieces of the Everglade line, the #25 8" plate, the #26 sugar and cream, and the #24 sherbet, was this text:

"One of the new lines to be brought out this fall by the Cambridge Glass Company is their Everglades. The few pieces of this which we illustrated will give an idea of its attractiveness. In addition to the items pictured this line also consists of three or four types of candlesticks, high, low and double candelabra, various bowls of different types and shapes and four different types of vases. It is to be had in colors of crystal, Eleanor blue, Forest green and amber with a few pieces made in Carmen (ruby)."

All indications are that Eleanor blue was not a new color, simply a new name for the color Willow Blue. Why the change, we may never know for sure, but it might have something to do with the fact Eleanor was the first name of President Roosevelt's wife.

The listing of colors for 1934 omits Willow Blue but adds Eleanor Blue, and the opaque color, Crown Tuscan.

Under the general heading of "DISTINCTIVE WARES FOR PROFIT." October 1934 saw the Nautilus design, along with other items, advertised for the Holiday Gift Season.

"The Nautilus design is an outstanding creation. Wine sets are especially attractive because of the striking decanter and the handsome glasses. Done in crystal, Amber, Royal Blue, Forest Green, Amethyst and Carmen and combinations of crystal and color. Protected by Design patents 84482 and 89828."

With the coming of 1935, the array of Cambridge colors remained the same except that now their pink color was known by the name of Dianthus Pink. Legal difficulties arose over the use of the name Peach-Blo and thus the forced name change.

Featured in March 1935, was the Sea Shell line and the following text was part of a full-page advertisement.

"As refreshing as a May breeze is this new and delightful "Sea Shell" line decorated with the modeled figure of a sea maid. Embracing such items as compotes, candlesticks, centerpieces, seafood cocktails, bowls, plates, vases and relishes, its colors of Amber, Carmen, Royal Blue, Coral, Amethyst and Forest Green present a variety of the widest range. Shells, dolphins and sea maids motifs have inspired these shapes. You will be delighted to sell them."

Shown in the advertisement was the Sea Shell #40 bowl and is the only piece in the line to have the lady figure. This same bowl is also listed as a part of the #3011 or Nude Line.

These are by no means all of the references to color published during the years 1932 - 35, and should not be construed as such. They are simply what I found to be the most interesting based on text and items being described. The spelling and the use of capitals adhere to the original copy and there are some interesting variation.

To be continued ...