1950s Stemware - Part II

by Mark Nye
Issue No. 290 - June 1997

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In the April issue, stemware introduced by the original Cambridge Glass Co. during the 1950s was discussed. This month's subject is stemware introduced by the company formed after the sale of the original company and also known as the Cambridge Glass Co. While much of the management was new, the second Cambridge Glass Co. employed many of the workers from the original company and the glassware it produced remained essentially unchanged.

The new company began producing glass in March 1955 and ceased production in 1958. During that period, eight new lines of stemware were brought out, these being: Sonata, Allegro, A-56, Invitation, and Connoisseur in 1956; and Queen Mary, Doric, and No. 3799 in 1957.

The Sonata line molds were ordered during the summer of 1956 and the first trade journal advertisement appeared in December 1956. A February 1957 trade advertisement read in part: "...For everyday living, formal or casual entertaining, the oval line of Sonata joins in the festivities. Quietly, in complete harmony with other favorites, it adds to every happy occasion throughout a lifetime, it is destined to become a part of the future's inheritance." The Sonata goblet is illustrated in a Cambridge catalog issued in late 1956. Sonata stemware, made in Crystal only, will be found etched Leaves and engraved Anniversary, Charm, Spring, and First Lady. Sonata stemware and other items remained available until the company ceased all operations in 1959. Sonata stemware consists of goblet, sherbet, low sherbet, claret, cocktail, wine, cordial, and footed ice tea.

Surviving Cambridge records show that in December 1955 the molds used for the Sweetheart stemware line were reworked. The new line was described as having "pumpkin ball shape stem" and was originally designated as B-56.

Allegro stemNot long after the molds were changed the company began using the same line number, 3795, used for Sweetheart for the new line and then named it Allegro. An advertisement for Allegro appeared in the March 1, 1956, issue of Crockery and Glass Journal. The July 1956 issue of CGL contained an illustration of a Paisley etched Allegro goblet with this caption: "Paisley, crystal with delicately etched design, low fluted stem, is $2.35 retail." While primarily a Crystal line, Allegro was also made in a very limited amount in Smoke and Smoke Crackle. Engravings on this line include Fascination, Fiesta, Fire Fly, Peter Pan, and Spring.

The molds for the line of stemware designated A-56 were ordered in early October 1955. Actual production probably started in early 1956 when the line became known as Today. Cambridge price lists from 1956 and 1958 listed A-56 only in Crystal. A December 1956 trade journal advertisement stated the line was available in four color combinations: Crystal/Amber, Pistachio/Crystal, Charcoal/Gold, and Pink/Charcoal. Charcoal as a color name does not appear in any known Cambridge catalogs, price lists or other surviving documentation. It is possible that Charcoal is simply another name for the color listed as Smoke. The collector will on rare occasion come across a piece of this line heavily encrusted with gold.

Imperial Glass Co. produced the Today line with Crystal bowls and stems in the Imperial colors of Antique, Emerald, Sapphire, and Topaz. They also made it in all-Crystal version as well. The latter cannot easily, if at all, be distinguished from Cambridge production. Engravings on the Today line include Formal, New Star, Roses, Starlite, and Tomorrow. Items in the Today line were those found in most stemware lines: goblet, sherbet, claret, cocktail, wine, cordial, and two footed tumblers, 12 ounce and 5 ounce.

Invitation is another in the series of non-traditional drinking vessels produced by both Cambridge companies. A "stemless" line of stemware Invitation or 3791 was apparently produced using existing bowl molds and a cast foot. Invitation was included in the 1956 price lists but is not mentioned in the 1958 list. As Invitation, it was included in the 1956 price lists in Crystal with all items available. The line with a single platinum rim band was offered in Pink and Crystal and in this instance was known as Modern. Not available as Modern were the wine and cordial. Other items in the Invitation or No. 3791 line are: goblet, sherbet, claret, cocktail, 12 oz. footed tumbler, and 5 oz. footed tumbler.

The last of the 1956 lines, Connoisseur, will be covered in a future article.