Connoisseur Stemware

by Mark Nye
Issue 291 - July 1997

The Connoisseur stemware line was introduced in 1956 and remained in the Cambridge catalog until operations ceased for good in 1959. A crystal line without optics, Connoisseur was designed by Kathi Urbach, a freelance designer from New York City. This is a difficult line to identify as Cambridge unless found etched or with a Cambridge label still intact as it is a very plain line, very similar to other glassware still being produced today. The Connoisseur line consists of nine items, beerbrandy, burgundy wine, goblet, white wine, Bordeaux wine, champagne, tall sherbet, sherry, and a cocktail or brandy. Connoisseur Champagne

Orders for the molds to produce the line were recorded in December 1955 (the actual orders could have been placed earlier) and shipments of Connoisseur stemware were under way by February 23, 1956. Ms. Urbach retained an interest in her design as she was paid a 3% royalty on all shipments. The total value of Connoisseur shipments during March 1956 was $789.50 and, on April 27, a cashier's check in the amount of $23.69 was mailed to her.

Connoisseur was included in both 1956 Cambridge price lists, available plain or etched Leaf, Mimosa or Woodland. While still offered in the 1958 price list, it was no longer available etched nor was there any mention of the etchings Mimosa, Leaf or Woodland.

No documentation has been found, but a single example of the engraving Belfast on a Connoisseur stem is known to exist. Surviving factory records indicate the production of a few pieces of Connoisseur in Smoke. These were probably samples since Connoisseur in color does not appear on any known price list.

On February 25, 1956, Cambridge was billed for the printing of a four page Connoisseur promotional folder. The author of the text for this folder remains unknown. It could very well have been Kathi Urbach herself, an associate, or an advertising company copywriter.

The catalog page below is from the Cambridge catalog issued in late 1956.

Catalog page