1950s Stemware

by Mark Nye
Issue No. 288 - April 1997

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The last years of the original Cambridge Glass Co., 1950 to 1954, saw nine stemware lines introduced. Two of these, Nos. 3797 and 3798, were part of the Square line, the subject of last month's article, and will not be discussed here. The remaining seven lines are Nos. 3779, 3790, 3795, 3796, 5000, 7967, and Caprice 301. All made it into the Cambridge catalog prior to the demise and sale of the company during the summer and fall of 1954.

Actually No. 5000, or Heirloom as it was called, was not a new line, being a continuation of a pattern first produced by Cambridge in the 1920s and initially named Centennial. In 1931 it was called Victorian, and the following year, Martha Washington. The original line was discontinued sometime during the early 1940s. When the decision was made in 1952 to revive the line, Cambridge elected to rename it and chose the name Heirloom. Existing molds were used to manufacture six of the nine 5000 stemware items. New molds were made for the cocktail, five ounce footed juice, and the six-ounce footed sherbet. As can be seen in the reprinted catalog page, there are two shapes in the line and these same shapes also appeared in the line's forerunners, Martha Washington and Victorian. Nothing exists to indicate production of Heirloom in any color other than Crystal. (Earlier version of the line will be found in color.) The reorganized Cambridge Glass Co., successor to the original, continued production of Heirloom. The last Cambridge price list, issued by the new company in 1958, offered five of the original nine items: the goblet; tall sherbet; cocktail; and two footed tumblers, 12 ounce and 5 ounce, Nos. 4 and 5 on the reprinted catalog page.

The molds for the No. 3779 stems were first ordered in October 1942 and were to be used in conjunction with the bowls then in use for the No. 3130 line. A note added in 1944 to the mold log book states the molds had not been worked as of that date. A 1950 note stated the molds had been worked but only after the stems had been shortened. The No. 3779 stemware first appears in the Cambridge catalog on a supplemental page issued September 1950. Chantilly and Roselyn appeared on No. 3779 blanks at the time it was issued. A year later following its introduction, the Daffodil etching was available on this blank. A number of other etchings, including one featuring an orchid, were designed for use on No. 3779 stemware. However, none were ever put into production, and samples were limited to the goblet. Examples of these are seldom, if ever, found today. No. 3779 was produced for a short time during the reopen years, 1955-1959.

No. 3790 or Simplicity stemware was brought out in the summer of 1950. Included in the September 1950 price list, the line was illustrated on a supplemental catalog page issued roughly the same time. From then on Simplicity stemware was in the Cambridge catalog right up until the final closing in 1959. The line was made in Crystal only by the original company. However, during the years the second Cambridge Glass Co. was in operation, Simplicity was made in Carmen, Moonlight Blue, and Smoke. While only one etching, Magnolia, appears on this line, there is a large list of engravings that can be found on 3790 blanks. Autumn, Tropical, Lily of the Valley, Lynbrook, and Festoon were first cut onto 3790 blanks prior to the summer of 1954. The engravings Crown, Danube, Flight, Miss Flowers, Orion, Royal, Snowflower, Starburst, Starlite, and three known only by numbers (S-1, S-2, S-3), date to the reopen years. Four pieces of Simplicity - the goblet, low sherbet, cocktail, and ice tea - were made in Moonlight Blue and cut Danube. These pieces were then sold as Blue Danube stemware.

Production of No. 3795 or Sweetheart stemware began in very late 1950 or early 1951. One trade journal had this to say: "Sweetheart, a complete new line of stemware, will please the bride to be, and the multitude a little on the sentimental side." Named Sweetheart because of the heart-shaped stem, No. 3795 stemware was made in Crystal only and apparently not decorated. In production for two years at most and probably less than that, Sweetheart stemware is infrequently seen and a collector should not pass up an opportunity to acquire a piece.

Cambridge Circle, No. 3796, was initially called Horizon in a trade journal report. The name Horizon is not found in any Cambridge document. Made only in Crystal with non-optic bowls, Cambridge Circle was in the catalog from 1951 until 1954. However, it is seldom seen today and will be found in few stemware collections.

Melody or No. 7967 stemware is a hybrid line using the low shape bowl from the No. 7966 line and the Pristine line foot. The first dated reference to the line is the October 1953 Cambridge price list but how long the line had been in production prior to that date is not known. The line is illustrated on two undated supplemental catalog pages issued after 1950 and maybe as late as October 1953. Shown etched Dawn on one of these two catalog pages, a few pieces of this line were also etched Magnolia and gold-encrusted, probably for sample purposes only and never put into commercial production. Likewise, a few pieces were cut Rondo, again most likely as samples and the combination never put into commercial production. Melody, made only in Crystal, was not produced after 1954 and is not easily found today.

In an effort to take advantage of the past popularity of the Caprice line, Cambridge introduced a new style of stemware circa 1951. Known as Caprice 301, the line was nothing more than Simplicity or 3790 stemware with the Caprice pattern imparted to the bowls by use of optic blocks. Known only in Crystal, Caprice 301 stemware continued in the Cambridge line up until the final 1959 closing. While not plentiful, samples will be found in most Cambridge stemware collections.