Cambridge in the 1920s - Part II

by Mark Nye
Issue No. 294 - October 1997

"Living up to the reputation gained when they introduced the 'Azurite' and 'Ebony' glass last year, the Cambridge Glass Co. comes forward this year with some unusual originations in colored ware as well as additions to former lines. The display in Room 728 at the Fort Pitt is one of the most colorful and attractive showings of glassware ever seen at the Pittsburgh Exhibit. Leading the offerings in colored ware--and the color runs clear through as it is a body color--are the new 'Primrose Yellow,' 'Hello,' and 'Carrara.' In color selections and shapes as well as choice of decorations, the new colors are worthy of the Cambridge line. The 'Primrose Yellow' is just what the name implies, a yellow of warmth and volume but not extreme. There is a great variety of shapes ranging from small vases to vases suitable for lamp bases. There are several decorations in gold and also in white gold. The latter is somewhat of an innovation. It has the appearance of silver, but, unlike silver, it does not tarnish. There are also several narrow band decorations in green, blue and black treatment. (The latter decorations were most likely enamel encrusted border etchings.)

'Helio is the name of an exceptionally attractive color. It is of the purple family, but delicate in tone and very rich in appearance. The shapes in this color are extensive in number and there is a choice of decorations as wide as that in the 'Azurite' and 'Primrose Yellow.' The 'Carrara' is a brilliant white and stands in strong contrast to the deep-black 'Ebony.' This colored ware is especially attractive with gold decorations and a number of ideas in this connection are shown. A large number of new pieces have been added to the 'ebony' line, making this line one of the most extensive ever offered the trade. Some new decorative conceptions also are shown. One of the new things in the colored glass is a smoking tray, consisting of a tray with match-box holder in the center and three receptacles for ashes all of which are moveable In crystal, the Cambridge Glass Co. is offering some new ideas in gold bands and encrustations as well as some new etchings and light cuttings." CGL January 15, 1923.

"An extensive line of salad plates in colored glass recently has been added to the lines of the Cambridge Glass Co., Cambridge, O. The plates come in 'Ebony,' 'Azurite,' 'Helio',' Primrose Yellow' and in new shades of topaz, light green and mulberry. Made of colored glass, the plates have both plain and star bottoms. The Cambridge factory offers the plates in plain colors as well as in decorations such as contrasting colored edges and in light cuttings and gold encrustations. in stemware, the Cambridge line has been increased by additions in colored glass. The new shades are topaz, light green and mulberry. The most wanted shapes come in the new colors, which should be of interest to those desiring something new and attractive in stemware." CGL May 14, 1923. (The "light green" is what we today call Light Emerald. )
"When such a wealth of beauty as in the display of the Cambridge Glass Co., of Cambridge, O., stares the reporter in the face, it is hard to pick the most distinctive things to write about. The Cambridge display is in Room 728 at the Fort Pitt Hotel. Here was a compote set in Azurite, that lovely bright blue, done in the Wedgewood manner, with the embossment and the ram's head handles we have always associated with the Wedgewood earthenware pattern known as Belmar. Candlesticks with square top and base match the bowl. Here also was a mottled gold and colored line in five colors, with gold edge line on all pieces, and a black glass base for some. Especially good was a line of black glass with gold encrusted fleur de lis design in wide bands, and some black vases with encrusted gold border an inch and a half wide. Perfume bottle of cut crystal in colored optic and others with gold encrustation, all with long stoppers have been selling most satisfactorily. Since we haven't one, we were told we must be the only woman in the world who hasn't. A new line of amber glass, deep and rich in tone, is offered for the first time. This is flat ware, and the pattern looks like very wide optic, but is pressed into the flange of the bowl. There is a very complete line of mulberry, topaz and emerald glass, of candlesticks, jugs, bowls, tumblers and stemware that is colorful and interesting. A very comprehensive line of colored glass salad plates made us wonder why salad was ever served on any other sort of plate, for the pale green of lettuce would enhance the value of these colors, and the glass would make the salad all the more tempting. These plates match every style of glass ware they make. Another interesting pattern in colored glassware had reserves in the gold border where flowers of the undecorated glass showed through. The various matching items are available in many colors." CGL January 14, 1924
"The Cambridge Glass Co. has some new refreshment sets of glass decorated in gold encrustations. The colors in which these are made are transparent blue, green and amethyst. Reproduced in gold encrustations on the rim are Mah Jong tiles. Two more gold tiles appear on the sides of the sherbets. Three Chinese characters appear in gold on one side of the bottom of the plate, opposite the indentation for holding the sherbet glass, gold edge lines complete the decoration. The same design is used in ice tea sets and in boudoir sets. All of these are ready for Christmas business. The samples arrived in New York only last week." CGL November 17, 1924
"Living up to its reputation of introducing each January most interesting developments in table and decorative glassware, the Cambridge Glass Co., of Cambridge, O., has on display in room 728 at the Fort Pitt Hotel unusual lines in block optic and a new color glass called 'Rubina.' The block optic in the 'Rubina' and new transparent colors, plain and decorated, are among the outstanding offerings in glassware. In 'Rubina Glass,' which can be had both plain and in block optic, new shapes in comports, bowls, vases, candlesticks and other pieces have been developed. Especially attractive is the refreshment set in block optic 'Rubina.' The new glass is not one color but a natural three or more tone glass in which the predominating shades are red, green and blue, each tone diverging into the other. Another new glass is the 'Onyx' which is a light tan shade with or without decorations. In specialties there is an assortment of oval shapes, oval cheese and cracker, oval sandwich tray, oval sugar and cream, and oval candy box. Other things are boudoir sets and two piece party sets, both oval and round in crystal and transparent colors, and gold encrustations; an owl lamp, new glass lamp bases in assorted colors and shapes; transparent glass aquariums with ebony feet; console sets in wide variety and wine sets in transparent colors. A striking novelty is a wine set which consists of a black tray bearing a keg shaped container with a nickel plated spigot on a rustic stand and which is completed by six rustic glasses. In stemware and tumblers there is a wide choice in transparent colors, plate etchings and gold encrustations and other treatments. There is also a wide assortment of cologne bottles in varying colors and sizes and a very complete display of decorated and plain salad plates which have been a very popular number with this factory." CGL January 12, 1925

To be continued ...

For illustrations of many of the items referenced in this article, especially those from 1925 and after, the reader is referred to the 1925-1929 Cambridge Glass Co. catalog as reprinted by the late Bill Smith and his wife Phyllis. This reprint is available through N.C.C., Inc.

The two catalog pages below are from Cambridge Catalog #10, issued circa 1920. The paste mould vases are those referred to in the quote from the January 15, 1923, issue of China, Glass and Lamps (referred to previously as CGL). The cuttings shown on the page captioned "Cut Vases" are typical of the light cuttings from the early 1920s.

Paste Mold Vases
Paste Moulds- Illustrated
Paste Mold Vases with Cuttings
Cut Vases Illustrated