Another Look at Blossom Time

by Mark A. Nye 
Issue No. 270 - October 1995

This month we begin a series of articles that will revisit some of the topics covered in previous columns, some of which were published a number of years ago. While we all need "refresher courses" from time to time, these columns, that will deal with some of the basic Cambridge patterns, are primarily designed to meet the needs of the new collectors and new members. And, who knows, the "old-timers" might just find a new tidbit or two of information.

Versions of this article on Blossom Time have previously appeared in the Crystal Ball, The DAZE, and the now defunct Glass Review.

A new Cambridge catalog went into effect on January 1, 1940 and it included illustrations and listings for eight plate etchings. These are Blossom Time, Candlelight, Chantilly, Diane, Elaine, Portia, Rose Point, and Wildflower. Of these, Blossom Time is the only one that appeared in a single Cambridge catalog. Diane, Elaine and Portia were introduced in the early 1930's and appeared in supplements to the 1930 catalog and in the 1949 catalog. Candlelight also appeared in the 1949 catalog while Chantilly, Wildflower and Rose Point were in the 1949 and 1956 catalogs.

Blossom Time is probably less frequently seen than most of the other 1940's etchings. It is an attractive etching composed of, as the name implies, flowers. A detail of the etching, taken from an etching plate, is shown below.

Blossom Time etching Why Blossom Time never became as popular as the other etchings from the same time period remains a mystery. Perhaps it was over-shadowed by Wildflower, another floral etching and similar in nature, an already established etching when Blossom Time was introduced.

Blossom Time first became available to the trade in late 1938 or early 1939. The first known references to this etching date to early 1939 and one deals with the introduction of the Martha punch bowl and its availability etched Blossom Time. Another trade journal item dated February 1939 makes reference to two "new" etchings from Cambridge, Chantilly and Blossom Time, the latter described as "a charming flower treatment."

The January 1940 catalog contained 13 pages devoted to the Blossom Time etching and the only one of these pages to show the actual etching is reprinted with this article. (The balance of the pages simply showed the blanks on which the etching could be had. This was also true for the other seven etchings in the 1940 catalog.) Cambridge did feature Blossom Time in its national consumer advertising, the last known ad appeared in the June 1932 Ladies' Home Journal. The last reference to the etching is a "Supplemental Price List" dated January 1946 that contained a listing of eight pieces available etched Blossom Time. No other price list between 1940 and 1949 is currently known and it is not clear what this list is a supplement to. When the 1949 catalog was issued, Blossom Time was no longer in the Cambridge line.

While basically a Crystal pattern, Blossom Time was etched onto selected Ebony blanks and then gold encrusted. Excluding the No. 643 Ash Receiver, all of the Ebony items shown in the accompanying illustration were available with D/1061, gold encrusted Blossom Time as well as with the decorations shown. In addition to these items, the Nos. 646 and 647 "keyhole" candlesticks were also offered in Ebony with D/1061, with and without crystal bobeches and prisms. Blossom Time is not known on any other colored blanks.

From the 1940 catalog price list it is learned Blossom Time was made in a complete dinnerware line that utilized the Martha blank. Blossom Time is one of the few etchings to be found on this blank. Rounding out the dinnerware line, which did include a 10½ inch dinner plate, was the No. 3675 stemware. This is the only full line of stemware known to have been etched Blossom Time. Three individual stemware items with the etching are known; the No. 7801 line 12 oz. Footed tumbler, the No. 7966 line 2 oz. sherry, and the cocktail from the No. 3650 line. Illustrated on a supplemental page to the 1940 catalog is a Blossom Time bell made from a No. 3700 goblet. However, no reference to 3700 stemware being etched Blossom Time has been located.

Rounding out the Blossom Time dinnerware line was a full range of serving, accessory and decorative items. While the blanks were primarily from the Martha line, pieces from other lines were also utilized.

The Martha line, with its distinctive outer rims, did not include oil bottles, or salt and pepper shakers. In order to provide purchasers of Blossom Time with these items, Cambridge etched shakers and oil bottles from the No. 3400 line. To be found etched Blossom Time are Nos. 76 and 77 shakers and the No. 161 six ounce oil bottle with ground stopper.

Several other items from the 3400 line were also etched Blossom Time. Included in this group are two jugs, Nos. 3400/38 or ball shape jug and the Doulton jug, No. 3400/152, and two decanters, Nos. 3400/119 and 3400/92.

Candy box collectors take note. There are three covered candy boxes to be had etched Blossom Time: the Martha 311 candy box and cover; the 3600/3 tall candy box and cover; and the 3600/4 low candy box and cover.

A challenge would be to collect all of the Blossom Time etched candlesticks, candelabra, epergne and hurricane lamps, of which there are eleven. The No. 1601 hurricane lamp was offered with a Blossom Time etched shade while the No. 1603 hurricane lamp has only its base etched.

The largest of all the etched pieces from the 1940's is the Martha punch set. The bowl holds ten quarts and it, the eighteen inch under plate and the five ounce punch cup were all etched Blossom Time. It appears two ladles may have been used, neither of which were ever etched; the Tally Ho 1402/111 or the Pristine 485.

Blossom Time, like many other Cambridge etchings was offered plain, with a gold edge or gold encrusted. With a gold edge it is known as D/1058 and gold encrusted it becomes D/1059. Available with these decorations was the No. 3675 stemware, three jugs, two sizes of salad plates and many serving and accessory items. There was not, however, a dinnerware or luncheon set available nor was the Blossom Time punch set decorated in this manner.

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