How Green It Was - Part III

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 244 - August 1993

This article, the last in its series, should probably be entitled "How Green It Was Not." As often mentioned in this column and elsewhere, the period when colored glass tableware and accessory items were at their peak popularity ended during the 1940s. While colored glassware continued to he made and sold into the 1950s, the range of colors and the items available were nothing like that seen during the 1930s. This was true for Cambridge and the other handmade glass factories and for the companies that produced machine made glass, such as Macbeth Evans and Anchor Hocking, as well.

For six years, from 1943 to 1949, there was no green glass produced by Cambridge. Then, in the summer of 1949, Cambridge brought out two new colors, Mandarin Gold and Emerald. Mandarin Gold replaced the earlier color, Gold Krystol and Emerald was the updated version of Forest Green. As stated in Part II, todays collectors generally call this late green color "late dark Emerald" to avoid confusion with earlier colors that used the same name.

Since the emphasis was no longer on colored glassware, there were few references to color (as compared to the 1930s) in trade journals.

Crockery and Glass Journal in July 1949 contained a news item that referenced two new colors being produced by Cambridge and it referred to them as "apple green" and "honey gold." These were a reporters names for the colors and they did not come from any Cambridge advertising or press release. What was being described, of course, was Emerald and Mandarin Gold. All known Cambridge documents refer to the 1950s green and yellow as Emerald and Mandarin Gold.

A March 1950 China, Glass and Decorative Accessories news item had this to say:

"New at Cambridge Glass is the "Esquire" line of "stemware without stems," with crystal bowls and feet of crystal, ebony, emerald, carmine [sic] or amber, to retail at $18 per dozen ... And the figure cocktail and cordial glasses are back with the crystal figure in the foot and bowl in amber, emerald, amethyst or mandarin gold, to retail at $1.50 apiece.

From an August 1951 description of the Cambridge showrooms in the Chicago Merchandise Mart published in China, Glass and Decorative Accessories come these lines:

"Another promising gift item is a set of ash trays that double as candle holders when turned upside down. Sets of four come individually boxed and retail for $2. They are available in clear crystal, emerald, and a pale yellow called 'mandarin gold.' "

There was an upswing in the popularity of colored glassware during the early 1950s, but it never achieved the heights seen twenty years earlier. It may have been more in the minds of decorators than in actual sales. The following quotation is taken from the November 1951 issue of China, Glass and Decorative Accessories.

"No trend in home furnishings today is more dynamic than the free rise of color. Open room planning has increased the popularity of light, clear shades, while modern oil has stimulated the color sense of the customer. The once timid homemaker now boldly mixes chartreuse coral, chocolate, black, white, emerald, mustard, red, amethyst. The effects of this trend have been strongly felt in glassware.

Late dark Emerald is similar to Forest Green, and the two colors are often confused. Forest Green does have a yellow cast but when used for pressed items, this is not always apparent. Forest Green and late dark Emerald were never produced concurrently. Many items produced in Forest Green were discontinued before the introduction of late dark Emerald. Similarly, some items produced in late dark Emerald were introduced after Forest Green had been discontinued. The 3900 or Corinth line falls into the latter category. There are, however, items that are known to have been produced in both colors and it may be difficult to determine the actual color of a specific item.

During the summer of 1949, Cambridge issued six supplemental catalog pages that showed items available in their two new colors, Emerald and Mandarin Gold. All six of these pages are included in the 1949-53 Cambridge Catalog reprint available through NCC.

The September 1950 Cambridge price list contained 69 catalog items under the heading "EMERALD [and] MANDARIN GOLD." A number of these were sets and thus there were not 69 individual items made in Emerald. In addition, 1066 stemware (known at the time as Aurora) was available with an Emerald bowl, crystal stem and foot.

Items known to have been produced in both Forest Green and late dark Emerald include, but are not limited to: No. 1066 stemware, vases Nos. 1237, 1238, 306, 307, 309, 310 and 6004 (six and eight inch sizes), No. 319 9 oz. Georgian tumbler, No. 1066 blown comport, 3400/90 6 inch, 2 part relish, and the 3400/71 3 inch 4 footed nut cup.

Produced in late dark Emerald but not in Forest Green are the Caprice No. 66 bowl, the Caprice 151 5 inch two handled jelly, the Caprice 133 low footed square bonbon and the No. 1338 3 lite candlestick. Items from the Corinth and Pristine lines made in late dark Emerald would not have been made in Forest Green.

The Sea Shell items shown in late dark Emerald could have been made in Forest Green during the early years of the line.

The last Cambridge price list offered only 17 items in late dark Emerald, including 3 pieces of No. 1066 stemware and 8 pieces of Jefferson or No. 1401 stemware. The remaining items were three Georgian tumblers, a Georgian sherbet, a Georgian basket and the No. 497 16 ounce ranch tumbler.

After the reorganized Cambridge Glass Company resumed operations in 1955, several new colors were introduced. Among them was a green that was named Pistachio. It is a light transparent color that has less sparkle than the Pistachio of earlier years and Caprice fame. According to Colors In Cambridge Glass, late Pistachio, when observed under black light, does not produce the glow apparent in each of the other light greens including the original Pistachio.

There will be no difficulty in identifying late Pistachio since, as far as is known, there are no pieces that were produced in both colors. Late Pistachio is seldom encountered by today's collectors and when found the piece, if not the color itself, will distinguish which color it is. Late Pistachio was used in the Crackle Line, the 1956 line, the Lady Figure Line, the No. 1528 vase plain and engraved Starlite and Wedding Rings. Also produced in the late Pistachio were the Georgian candy box and cover, two sty1es of Georgian baskets and the 317S Georgian sherbet. The 3011 goblet, saucer champagne and cocktail were made in Pistachio Crackle.

The last Cambridge price list, dated January 1958, did not include any items in Pistachio.