Martha Washington

by Mark Nye
Issue No. 269 - September 1995

One of the longest running Cambridge lines, this line had several names over the years and in all probability was an inactive pattern during certain periods. The line was first produced under the name Centennial. A Centennial fan vase appeared on the cover of the July 18, 1927 issue of China, Glass and Lamps. The 1927 Cambridge Glass Co. catalog contained two pages of Centennial line illustrations that included a goblet and a ten ounce footed tumbler. In 1927, the line was being made in Amber-Glo, Peach-Blo and Emerald.

The line next appeared in 1931 when it was shown in supplements to the 1930 Cambridge catalog. On one page of this supplement, the line is referred to as "Victorian Period" Glassware and on a second page, simply as Victorian Line. Whether or not the line had continued to be available since 1927 is unknown. In view of the name change, it probably had been discontinued and then revived with the different name. A March 1931 advertisement in CGL featured the tall candlestick and stated it was available in Gold Krystol, Carmen and Crystal. Most likely the complete line, as then made, was available in these three colors and perhaps others as well.

In 1932, with the publication of another catalog supplement, the third name change occurred, this time to Martha Washington. In the 1932 catalog supplement the same name was also used for the 1400 and 1401 stemware lines and the 1203 line of flat tumblers. A 1932 trade journal advertisement had this to say about the Martha Washington line:

"MARTHA WASHINGTON GLASSWARE. 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."

The 1932 catalog supplement indicates the etching Grape was available on at least six Martha Washington blanks; a footed tumbler, three sizes of bowls and two sizes of plates.

It appears that after 1934 or 1935, Cambridge issued a series of booklets specific to a pattern or line rather than a complete general catalog. These served as the Cambridge catalog until the next general catalog was issued in 1940. The one for the Martha Washington line consisted of eight pages, illustrated the complete line, provided prices for crystal and stated the line was also available in Amber, Royal Blue, Forest Green, Ruby, Gold Krystol and Heatherbloom.

Martha Washington was the name used when the pattern was shown in the January 1940 Cambridge catalog. By this time, however, it was offered in Crystal only. Following its appearance in the 1940 catalog, the Martha Washington line remained available for several more years. By 1946, however, it had become an inactive pattern. From its beginning in the 1920's until the line was retired in the 1940's, no line number was associated with it in any of the Cambridge catalogs. The line was simply known by its current name.

In 1953 the line was reactivated, some new molds made and the line reissued as Heirloom. This time it had a line number, 5000, and was produced only in crystal, with a few exceptions. All three styles of Heirloom creams and sugars were made in Milk Glass as was the 5000/79 32 oz. jug and the 5000/77 fan vase.

When the company resumed operations, in 1955, under new owners, most of the Heirloom line had been discontinued. Remaining was the stemware and salad plate. These continued to be available until all production ceased and the company went out of business.

Illustrations can be found as follows:

  • 1927-29 Catalog: pages 18-19
  • 1930-34 Catalog: pages 31-7, 31-7-A
  • 1935-1939 Brochure
  • 1940 Catalog: Pages 25-28
  • 1949-53 Catalog: Pages 169-174 (original numbers)

NOTE: The original article was followed by four of the eight pages of a Brochure on Martha Washington. The remaining pages were published in the following month's issue. Because the scans take some time to load, we have moved all eight pages of the brochure to a separate page. This allows members on low-speed internet connections to still enjoy the article without having to wait for the images to load. If you wish to view the brochure pages, simply follow the link.