by Mark Nye
Issue No. 278 - June 1996

Shortly after the introduction of the Sea Shell line in 1935, someone at Cambridge got the idea that by producing Sea Shell in Crystal and giving it a different name, a new line could be created and sales increased. The name Krystolshell was devised and a "new" line brought out. Catalog pages dating to around 1937 included four pages that illustrated and priced Krystolshell. The available copy is not good and much of the pricing information is not legible. However, due to their historical significance, they are reprinted at the end of this article. Three of the pages with the pricing information and stylized heading removed were later used for the 1940 catalog and they are also being reprinted this month or next, as space permits. The fourth page (which was actually the third page in the sequence) showing candleholders was extensively revised prior to its inclusion in the 1940 Cambridge catalog. It too is reprinted here in its original form and the 1940 page will be reprinted as space allows.

The page of candleholders illustrated items that were, with one exception, not from the Sea Shell line. The one exception being the Sea Shell 66 4-inch footed candlestick seen in the upper right-hand corner. Cambridge included the candleholders seen on this page in several different lines as well as selling them as individual items. This was a marketing method to increase sales.

Seven of the nine items pictured on the last of the four Krystolshell pages (in both the late 1930s catalog and the 1940 catalog) often cause problems for Cambridge collectors and especially Caprice collectors. (The No. 31 8-inch oval dish and the No. 30 9-inch 4-toed, 3-compt. relish at the bottom of the page are quite clearly from the Shell line.) These pieces, the first four rows of illustrations, have a pattern, most evident in the 3-footed plate seen at the top left corner, that is very similar to Caprice but nonetheless is different. There is no evidence Cambridge ever considered the seven items to be part of the Caprice line and the pieces are properly called Krystolshell. The first six items plus the candy box bottom appear to have been made from the same mold; the different pieces created by hand-shaping the basic piece into different shapes while the glass was still hot.

Even though the Krystolshell covered candy box appears in the illustration to be identical to the Caprice covered candy, the bottom does have the Krystolshell pattern. The lid, however, is the same as used for the Caprice line.

The Krystolshell line did not survive the 1940s. When the 1949 Cambridge catalog was issued, the line was not included.

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