1950s Stemware Part III

by Mark Nye
Issue 292, August 1997

Introduced in late 1956 or early 1957, No.1958 or Queen Mary stemware made use of existing stem and bowl molds. The stem shape had previously been used for both the Virginian and No. 3139 lines. Similarly, the bowl shape had been used for the No. 3725 line. By combining the two, a new stemware line was created without the expense of designing and making new molds.

Details of the stem itself are often difficult to ascertain from most illustrations. The stem is composed of rectangles that have notched corners, the latter being the hardest to see. The rectangles are separated by a short round stem.

The line consists of goblet; sherbet; cocktail; cordial; wine; and two footed tumblers, 12 ounce and five ounce.

Three engravings, Crown Prince, Radiant Rose and Elite, were cut onto, with a single exception, all pieces in the line. For an unknown reason, Elite was not offered on the cordial. An example of Laurel Wreath on this stem is in the author's collection. Company documents mention Highland and Duchess on No. 1958 stemware. It is not known if the latter three cuttings on this line were ever produced commercially.

No. 1959 stemware, also known as Doric, is identical in shape to Sonata stemware. The distinctive feature of No. 1959 is a teardrop in the stem. (Sonata stemware has a solid stem.)

The 1958 Cambridge price list offered No.1959 stemware plain, engraved Charmaine, or with a cut stem. The line consisted of a goblet, tall and low sherbets, cocktail, wine, cordial, 14-oz. footed ice tea, and a 5-oz. footed juice that also served as claret. All the items were offered with Charmaine.

The last stemware to be introduced by Cambridge was designated No. 3799. During the years the new company was in operation, 1955 to 1958, there was no consistency in numbering systems for stemware and rock crystal engravings as several different schemes were used. The use of "3799" reverts back to the stemware numbering system used by the original company.

No. 3799 stemware is listed in the 1958 Cambridge price list. It is not shown in the 1956 catalog since the stem molds were not made until late 1957. The bowl shape is

that first used for the Simplicity line. Identity of the No. 3799 line was confirmed through an advertising pamphlet, part of which is reprinted with this article, and goblets found bearing an original showroom label. The advertising pamphlet illustrates four goblets, each with a different cutting: Buttercup, JoAnn, May Time and Vogue.

Two versions of the No. 3799 stem exists, the one shown in the advertising pamphlet (see Page 9)and a second style that has a more flared bottom knob. The latter style was identified as also being called No. 3799 through means of a goblet bearing an original showroom label. Neither style is common today. Both versions consist of goblet; sherbet; cocktail; wine; and two footed tumblers, 12 and five ounces.

Omitted in Parts I and 11 of this series on 1950s stemware was any mention of the No. 1937 or Pristine line. The original Pristine line, No. 1936, came out in 1937 and remained in the Cambridge line until 1954 and the demise of the original company. No. 1937 is a shorter-stemmed version of Pristine stemware.

The changeover from the tall-stemmed Pristine line to one with a shorter stem began in late spring 1949. A supplemental catalog page issued in August 1949 illustrated both the tall and short stems. The first public mention of the 1937 line appeared in a supplemental Cambridge price list dated January 1954. During the years the new company was operational, only No. 1937 Pristine stemware was made.

While all the stems used for the No. 1937 line are shorter than those of the No.1936 line, the shortened stem is most noticeable with the goblet. The shape of the goblet bowl and its capacity serve as the means to distinguish it from a No. 1936 footed tumbler. The balance of the No. 1937 line is identified by having only one free ring in the stem; all of the No. 1936 line having two or three. By free ring, it is meant one that does not touch either the bowl or the foot.

It is not known when the No. 1936 version of Pristine stemware was discontinued and replaced by No. 1937. There may not have been a clear break between the production of the two lines while the original company remained in business. After the new Cambridge Glass Co. began operations, only the shortened stemware, No. 1937, was manufactured.