Hidden Treasures

by Rich Bennett
Issue No. 273 - January 1996

It's been since December 1993 that I've written an article about something I truly enjoy doing: digging in the Cambridge Glass Dump.

No one can imagine what I feel when walking the area where this most famous glass factory once stood. One must realize that digging is not a "walk in the park." It has taken many hours to accumulate the amount of glass that I have found. In the beginning, I was very anxious and picked up almost anything that resembled a piece of ware. Now, I've become very selective. I look for unusual colors and shapes and possibly experimental pieces (which I HAVE found).

The glass in the dump is laid out the way it was made. Most of the earlier pieces, such as Nearcut, are at the south end of the grounds, which is the farthest away from the factory. As the years went by, the glassware would inch its way closer to the factory. There have been some exceptions. Near the front fence line (north), I've found a few pieces of Helio Community pattern, which was made in the early '20s. Another exception is Mardi Gras. Here is a color that was the very last to be made; yet, the only place I've found it is on the south end. But there was very little digging, because most of it was laying on top of the ground. The shapes of these are all very familiar, except for part of a decanter.

One particular day I remember digging in an area where I had found many pieces of carmen swans. The sizes were 3½" and 6½". This was, and is, a very popular spot for me to dig, considering carmen is one of my favorite colors. While I was digging here, many different thoughts went through my head, such as: Wouldn't it be nice to find a 16½" carmen swan punch bowl or even a cover for a 8½" carmen swan (which I know exist in crystal, moonlight blue and light emerald).

After digging this area, I was walking along, looking at the ground, hoping for something to catch my eye. To my amazement, I found something I had been looking for for almost five years. It was a prism sign in amber, only partially buried. As I started to dig it out, I noticed it was only two-thirds intact. But it did have gold letters! This, for me, was a great find, because I had a feeling there would be more to come. Unfortunately, it was late in the afternoon and I had to leave. I marked the area where I had found the prism sign and went home to tell my wife and kids about my fantastic finds.

More to come .... " A dream come true."