Merry Cambridge Christmas

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 200 - December 1989

As far as it is known, there is no Cambridge pattern that was designed specifically with Christmas in mind. However, several of the patterns from the Nearcut years do have designs appropriate to the season. For the December 1987 issue of the Cambridge CRYSTAL BALL, I wrote a short article entitled "Start a Christmas Tradition" that described two patterns that make prominent use of a star - #2656 and #2729.

The #2656 line is known to pattern glass collectors as Star of Bethlehem. An unusual feature of this pattern is that the number of rays making up the star varies, some pieces having a star with six points or rays while others, like the covered butter dish, have a star with eight points. In addition to the usual table set, nappies and comports, the Star or #2656 line includes a punch bowl and a full line of stemware and tumblers. Probably introduced in 1908, and featured in the 1910 Cambridge catalog, the line had been discontinued by 1920.

Pattern glass collectors have named the Cambridge #2729 line, Star with handle, for somewhat obvious reasons. Never named by Cambridge, this is a small line consisting of the usual table set and nappies along with a square vase, two round vases, basket, tankards and tumblers. The star in this pattern has twelve points and was in production some time between 1910 and 1020.

I have often wondered why whoever named Cambridge patterns named #2635 Fernland and not snowflake, or some similar name. Granted, there is a fern frond in the pattern but at least to my eyes, one of the other design elements very much resembles a snowflake and does play a prominent role. Because of this, I include it here.

Star patterns The #2635 appears as the first pattern in the 1906 Cambridge "Catalogue of Table Glassware, Lamps, Barware and Novelties," under the name Fernland. Illustrated were 46 different items, of which some 28 were comports or nappies. Other items included two vases, salt/pepper shaker, toothpick, oil with dropper stopper, tall celery, two jugs, tumbler and a table set consisting of sugar with cover, cream, butter with cover and spoon. There was also an 11" berry plate, an 8" pickle and a 10" celery tray and two rose bowls in the line as well as the condiment set tray.

The 1910 Cambridge catalog offered the #2635 line, but without a name, simply designating it as "Nearcut Design #2635." The next complete catalog available to researchers is one issued circa 1920 and it does not make mention of this line, either by name or number. Hence, we can conclude it had been discontinued prior to that date.

Christmas with Cambridge must include the use of two colors: Carmen and late Emerald Green. Use whatever pieces you have in these colors to accent your holiday service. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have a complete set of carmen Tally-Ho dinnerware or stemware; and if you do, by all means use it. Add a piece or two in emerald green and you have the perfect holiday table.