Minerva & Valencia - A Revisit

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 325 - May 2000

Minerva and Valencia were first discussed during the early 1980s. Since many of the Crystal Ball back issues are no longer available from time to time topics covered during the 198Os will be given a second look or revisit so to speak

Indications are the Cambridge plate etchings known as Minerva and Valencia made their debut during early 1933, perhaps not at a trade show but rather in one or more of the display rooms Cambridge maintained in New York, Pittsburgh, and Chicago.

Valencia was featured in a full-page advertisement apparently first published in the April 1933 issue of China Glass and Lamps. This ad was republished in the September 1933 issue. The copy read:

"Valencia continues CAMBRIDGE leadership in etching. The beautiful lattice work is set off with a bowknot effect. This etching is particularly striking on the new No. 3500 Gadroon patented shape. In stemware and accessory pieces."

Shown in the advertisement were six pieces from the Gadroon line; the goblet and tall sherbet, cup & saucer, salad plate, and a large Valencia etching Minerva etching footed bowl. In addition, the No. 1338 three light candelabrum etched Valencia was included.

While no trade reference to Minerva have been found, it is almost certain this etching was introduced at the same time.

Valencia and Minerva am similar designs but at the same time are distinctive etchings. The bows in Minerva appear only as a part of the main design. In the Valencia etching, they appear as an element of the main design as well as a secondary element that separates the repetitions of the primarily design. In addition, Minerva incorporates as a secondary design element tiny floral clusters (a Chintz-type pattern) not seen in Valencia. Another distinguishing feature is that the lines in Valencia meet at right angles while those in Minerva do not. While seldom used, both etchings had numbers as well as names. Minerva was Etching No. 763 and Valencia, No. 761. (Cambridge assigned No. 762 to Elaine, brought out the same year, 1933.)

Minerva and Valencia were pictured on pages included in the 1933 Cambridge catalog supplement. However the number of items shown was rather limited. Use of the etchings was much more extensive than the 1933 and 1934 Cambridge Catalog supplements indicate. A price list from the last years of their production tells us Valencia and Minerva were used extensively on three Cambridge lines: Nos. 3400, 3500 (aka Gadroon), and 1402 or Tally Ho. A complete dinnerware service from the No. 3400 line including both the regular and square plates was offered as were many serving and accessory items. There were, for example, four different sets of salt & pepper shakers, various oil bottles, five jugs including the 3400/152 Doulton jug, and several decanter sets.

Available pieces from the Gadroon (3500) line were the cup and saucer, cream soup and underplate, fruit and cereal bowls, sugar and creamer (both full size and individual), serving bowls and trays, some 17 different relishes, covered candy boxes, covered urns, ash trays and mayonnaise sets. (One of the mysteries about the Gadroon line is the absence of a dinner plate.)

Dinner and service plates from the 1402 or Tally Ho line were etched both Minerva and Valencia as were bread and butter and salad plates. Other Tally Ho items to be found with these etchings are twin salad dressing sets, cheese and cracker sets, serving bowls, relishes, and comports. For beverage service, six sizes of Tally Ho flat tumblers, the 1402/78 punch cup and the 1402/77 13-inch footed punch bowl were decorated Minerva and Valencia.

Both Valencia and Minerva are shown on a number of stemware lines: 1402/100 (blown Tally Ho), 3121, 3122, 3124, 3126, and 3500 or Gadroon.

In their last year, Minerva and Valencia were placed only on Crystal blanks. A few pieces have been seen in the transparent colors Amber, Peach-Blo and Forest Green. It is not known to what extent the two etchings were placed on colored blanks. In a 1934 Cambridge catalog supplement, Crown Tuscan blanks were illustrated with D/1015, gold-encrusted Minerva. No doubt these same blanks were available with gold-encrusted Valencia. Gold-encrusted Minerva and Valencia will be found on Crystal blanks as well.

An advertisement in the September 1933 issue of China Glass and Lamps was illustrated with a picture of the 3500/25 Rams Head Bowl etched Valencia and flanking it were two covered Gadroon line urns, one etched Minerva, the other Elaine. The copy, in part read:

"Here we introduce some of the new numbers in the Cambridge Glass Co's fall line. The picture shows the No. 3500 Gadroon Ram's Head bowl with a pair of covered urns. Three separate designs are illustrated in this group, each of them beautifully etched and decorated with gold ..."

Both Minerva and Valencia are somewhat infrequently seen today. Todays collectors can readily find examples of both but to assemble a dinnerware set of any size would be a difficult task.

Catalog page