The Cambridge Glass Company & the 1920s

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 255 - July 1994

Things New & Different

This article will deal with some "out of the ordinary" items introduced and produced by Cambridge during the 1920s. In reading this article, remember the times in which the piece, or set being described, was made. What we take for granted today, or have become accustomed to seeing in glass, was quite innovative during the decade of the 1920s.

Much of the material presented is directly quoted from trade journals. I see no sense in trying to rewrite something when there is no real need. Besides, part of the enjoyment of the quotes is the writing style. "Madison Avenue" was alive and well during the 1920s. Where clarification of color names is required, the correct names are enclosed in ( ).

"Glassware for Summer Needs Shown by Cambridge Glass Co."

Perfume Set "Colored glassware is decidedly a needed accessory to the housewife's summer equipment. It lends itself to regular table service so well, and also to out-of-door, porch and garden party entertaining. The Cambridge Glass Co., . . . are constantly displaying new numbers in their showrooms at 184 Fifth Ave., New York. 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. (Amber-glo was another name for Amber while Night blue is probably what we today call Cobalt Blue 2.) These sets are lovely for the dressing table ..." Crockery & Glass Journal, July 2, 1925.

Powder Set "One of the cleverest of the new items on the market is that shown by O. C. Graham, New York manager for the Cambridge Glass Co., at the concern's salesroom, 184 Fifth Avenue. This is a glass compact set consisting of a bottom and cover in a fancy oblong shape. The lower part has recesses for rouge, powder, and puff, eye brow pencil and lip stick. This is made in amber, green, peach blo and crystal (Amber, Emerald, Peach-Blo, Crystal) in polished or satin finish and comes in various decorations. The item is sure to prove a ready seller through its popularity with the fair sex. Another very attractive and practical number is a five piece handled high ball or bridge set.

This consists of a handled tray with compartments holding four 8 oz. tumblers. This is also made in amber, peach blo and green (Amber, Peach-Blo, Emerald) and may be procured in crackled, plain or optic glass in various decorations. Somewhat similar to this is a very tasteful and attractive sugar and cream with tray. The colorings of this are the same as in above mentioned items and may be had both plain or decorated. Another departure from the ordinary is a glass place card. This is made with a center space in frosted finish suitable for writing on, the same principle as a slate, upon which may be written the name of the guest. By the simple means of a moist rag the writing may be erased. This is also produced in various colors." Crockery & Glass Journal, July 8, 1926.

The compact set is number 680 and number 681, the latter have a rose knob; the five-piece bridge set is number 623; the cream and sugar is number 620; and the place card is number 700 and number 701. All these may be seen in the 1927-1929 Cambridge Catalog reprint.


Flower Pot "For brightening the display of potted flowers whether indoors or out, the new CAMBRIDGE glass flower pots are winners. The pots are made in the attractive CAMBRIDGE colors in a unique design. Order now, asking for No. 705 flower pot and saucer." Cambridge advertisement on the cover of the August 23, 1926, issue of China, Glass & Lamps.

"In the way of novelties for the department store or the gift shop, what about this well thought-out desk set illustrated herewith? It is in colored glass and comes from the Cambridge Glass Co., of Cambridge, Ohio. The set consists of four pieces and is entirely of glass. There is a corrugated rest for pens and pencils, an ink bottle with stopper, a receptacle for pins and clips and a holder for paper and letters.

"The new desk set is made in colored glass and can be had either plain or in a variety of gold and etched decorations. The particular design shown here is a rose-motif spray in gold on Amber-Glo, one of the leading Cambridge colors in glass. The set also can be had in Peach-Blo, an outstanding pink glass, and also in Emerald, an attractive green. As a gift favor out of the ordinary in glass, this desk set ought to please any woman." China, Glass & Lamps, March 21, 1927.

Unfortunately the illustration mentioned in the preceding is too poor to reprint. The desk set is pictured in the 1927 - 1929 Cambridge Catalog reprint issued by the late Bill Smith and his wife Phyllis.

"A New Cambridge Number for Shavers"

"Upon visiting the New York showroom ... of the Cambridge Glass Co., ... one is always certain to find some new item of interest. One of the latest numbers that the firm have just recently placed on view is a most compact and useful shaving outfit holder. It would be hard to find a more pleasing item and one that by reason of its practicability is destined to prove a real seller. It is rather simple in its construction being made up of two pieces, a bottom compartment holder and an overset cover. Five spaces have been provided to hold a safety razor, package of blades, a caustic pencil, tube of shaving cream and a brush. On either side of the bottom piece two flanges running lengthwise serve the double purpose of providing a compartment wall and a side over which the cover is fitted. In all it is about ten inches in length and is made to readily fit into the average bathroom medicine cabinet. A choice of this number is to be had in amber, green and pink. (Amber, Emerald, Peach-Blo) The decorative ideas in which it is shown offer some very attractive encrusted designs as well as plain gold lines and etchings while other pieces are featured in the plain glass." Crockery & Glass Journal, July 28, 1927.

The shaving outfit holder is pictured in the 1927-1929 Cambridge Catalog reprint on the same page as the compacts and desk set.

"Another New Cambridge Item"

Night Set "The No. 3075 Boudoir Set, herewith illustrated made by Cambridge Glass Co., . . . presents an old idea in a new form. This is certain to receive the stamp of approval. It is shown in a full range of Cambridge colors, amber, emerald and peach (Amber, Emerald and Peach-Blo) in a selection of any number of decorative ideas such as encrustations, gold lines, etchings, and plain optic effects. As will be noted this number consists of three pieces, a 22 oz. covered jug, glass and a tray. The glass and jug carry a straight narrow optic while their base is finished in a very pretty ridged effect. Adding further to the charm of this jug is its handle which is twisted. The tray is oval and carries a handle at either end." Crockery & Glass Journal, August 11, 1927.

This set appears in the 1927-1929 Cambridge catalog as the No. 489 4-piece set. The illustration above appeared in China, Glass and Lamps, March 21, 1927.

"The Cambridge Glass Co., . . . are showing a new figured flower holder called "The Two Kids." This is about 9 inches high and portrays the figures of a little boy and his lamb. It is an unusual subject and comes in either satin glass or plain finish, in all colors." Crockery & Glass Journal, October 6, 1927.

"One of the New Cambridge Numbers"

"Irrespective of the pros and cons relative to the liquid that cheers and its relationship to pre-war days or the vintage of present date, the necessary receptacles for it still continue to be most timely and interesting. This particularly applies to cocktail sets and for those who wish to see a selection of these that are most exceptional, a visit to the sales room of the Cambridge Glass Co., . . . will well repay one. These sets, of course, consist of a shaker and six blown stem cocktails which are offered in colors of green and peach in a satin finish. The body of the shaker is in a panel effect, while the glasses carry a wide optic to match. The glasses, by the way, are delightful in their shape which is perhaps best described by saying they somewhat resemble a pear. In this decorative idea the set features a double game cock in natural colors with which is combined a gold line border treatment. As a touch of variety there is another set made in a number of plain tints. Here the shaker and eighteen inch tray are in different colors, while the six glasses are in blue, topaz, amethyst, green, peach and amber (The exact identity of the blue is unknown. The other colors are Topaz, Mulberry, Emerald, Peach-Blo and Amber) Crockery & Glass Journal, December 29, 1927.

The exact identity of these sets could not be determined. With the description of the decoration it should not be too hard to identify the set.