The More I Learn, the Less I Seem to Know

by R. R. "Bud" Walker
Issue No. 252 - April 1994

Many of us who collect Cambridge glass think of A. J. Bennett and his accomplishments as the head and later the owner of the Cambridge Glass Company. We tend to forget that the National Glass Company purchased the land and raised the money to construct the Cambridge Glass factory. According to all that I have read and heard, this was the only new factory that The National Glass Company ever constructed.

In reading books about glass companies of the Ohio Valley area, we learn that the new Cambridge plant caused a great deal of concern and anxiety among those members of the National Glass organization who were having problems in keeping their operations profitable. One of the companies that was subject to much of the speculation was the Findlay Glass Company of Findlay, Ohio. There were rumors that the plant was to be closed, and much of the equipment such as presses and moulds would be moved to the new plant in Cambridge. As history shows, many of the rumors turned out to be true.

I have always heard that glass companies often lent and borrowed moulds, so it is easy to believe that the National Glass Company would move moulds among their member companies.

Due to the ice and snow this winter, which has been the worst we have had in years, I have been catching up on my reading. One book I read was "Dugan/Diamond The Story of Indiana Pennsylvania Glass" by William Heacock, James Measell and Berry Wiggins. It is an outstanding book on the history of this glass company.

You can imagine my surprise when I turned to page 15 of this book and saw a picture of the Northwood Company's "Crystal Queen Pattern." This picture showed a bowl and tumbler that could be had in several sizes. The pattern looked so familiar; I started looking through the Cambridge 1903 catalog. On page 26 there it was. Cambridge pattern number 2589. This is Northwood's "Crystal Queen Line." The pieces are identical, which would lead one to believe that the Northwood moulds went to the new factory at Cambridge when it opened.

One has to wonder how many other patterns are out there waiting to be discovered? So much of the history of these glass companies has been obscured by time, that it gives one a thrill to find the smallest piece of new information that can help increase our knowledge of the glass companies we collect.

[Editor's Note: Bud added a P.S. pointing out that Dr. James Measell wrote an article addressing this very subject that was published in the January 1992 Crystal Ball. Bud found Jim Measell's article after having finished writing this article. The information about mold swapping does bear repeating.]