Some Old Friends Revisited

by Neil Unger
Issue No. 273 - January 1996

Have you ever run up behind a friend, tapped them on the shoulder and guess what??? "Excuse me; I thought you were somebody else." You walk or slink away, very embarrassed. But you say... they looked like - a copy? A reissue? A look-alike, well, whatever.

The world of glass imitates life - with the advent of reissues/reproductions, in my case, copies of the Cambridge Flower Frogs. At this time, there are three on the market: the 6½" and 11 1/2" Bashful Charlotte and the 8½" Draped Lady. The Bashful Charlotte is bent over as if having a gas attack; differing from the Draped Lady that stands erect and has no such "discomfort."

Our story begins sometime after World War II when Cambridge decided to change the bases of three popular flower frogs. The reason for the change was probably due to excessive wear, but nobody knows for sure. The bases were originally smooth around the edge. The base was then re-tooled, making a ribbed style around the edge.

There are some glass "historians" that might indicate that Imperial Glass also changed some of the molds. That is, changed the edge from smooth to the ribbed style. They did, however, redesign the little 6½" Bashful Charlotte for a company called Mirror Images out of the state of Michigan. Imperial took the mold and bore out the entire base, leaving it hollow, no holes to put the flowers into. They made it in a multitude of colors and gave it a new name; forever to be known as Venus Rising. Her "sex" change was complete and final.

Her big sister took a different route as she was reproduced by Summit Art Glass Co. in Vaseline, Cobalt (below, right) and an opaque blue in the same Summit cobalt Bashful Charlotte mold with the existing ribbed base. These are the only colors that I'm personally aware of. However, I can't be at every mall or antique show, so there could have been more colors made. I had not seen an 11½" Bashful in a long time until yesterday when I was surprised to see a very light blue with a hollowed out base just like her 6½" sister. With that change, the original reproduction becomes an oddity, a rarity, if you will.

Think about it, a reproduction that could be worth as much as an original or close to it. Unless of course, there are two molds and the change was only made to one "twin." It could get to be very confusing and at this hour I can't take any more confusion. Maybe a phone call to the Summit Art Glass Co. might help to clear all this up? The bottom line is: Assuming there is only one mold, the 11½" Bashful Charlotte is now in the same condition as her little sister, the 6½". Good Luck?

The 8½" Draped Lady was reproduced a few years ago by the Viking Glass Co., in Cobalt, Ruby, and a Lavender-type. None of these colors were ever made by the Cambridge Glass Co. They are pretty to look at, but lack the elegance, maturity and the rarity of the original ladies. So, if your taste runs to the young, pretty, and perky ... these girls are just for you and your collection. However, if you prefer elegance, maturity and the generations of experience, plus, the factor of built-in rarity, then be patient, the right lady will eventually pass by and you will be rewarded with an everlasting pride of ownership, friendship, and be happy to add her to your collection of ladies.

A glance at the clock reminds me it is now quite late in the evening as I finish this article. The house is very quiet and the "ladies" might be listening as they are all residing in the next room. So, I must not talk too loud when I proofread this.

As always, when glass collectors gather and spin their tall tales of what, when, how old, and how much, you can't help but catch the excitement. The "I" wonders: How many were made? How many in that color? Did they make that shape? Is it a one of a kind? A sample? So many unanswered colors, but, if you remember two "Ungerisms": never say never, and the only thing for sure abut this "business" is there is nothing for sure about this "business", you'll be OK.

And finally, the glass itself - our ladies - Who were the past owners? What part of the country did they come from: What style house did they live in? What kind of families? Their secrets - the good times, the sad times. Yes, there are extraordinary stories that our ladies "whisper" in the still of the night and, if you are very quiet, you too can hear them, unless you're a cynic or a skeptic. They will not communicate unless you are a true believer.

You have a very limited amount of time, so make good use of it. Sit back, relax, close your eyes and listen. Let your imagination take over and repeat: I believe, I believe, and PRESTO! For after you depart this good earth (or just decide to sell them), they will move on to another owner and will continue to whisper their stories in the still of the night.