Cambridge Ritz Blue

by Mark A. Nye
Issue 319 - November 1999

On October 18, 1929, seventy years ago last month, a letter went out frown the office of W. C. McCartney, Cambridge Sales Manager, to all Cambridge agents. The text of that letter is reprinted here.


We have just produced a new blue color. It will be known as the Ritz Blue. This color has been quite popular in New England and we find that there is becoming quite a little demand for it in other sections.

We are therefore sending you a short sample line and attached herewith is price list covering the items that we are manufacturing in this particular color.

It is a most rich shade of blue and if anything you might call it somewhat delicate, as it is not a harsh color as blue is generally considered.

We trust that we may see some very nice business from you on this line.

The book Colors in Cambridge Glass states production dates for Ritz Blue are elusive. At the time the book was published, the earliest mention of Ritz Blue that could be found was in an internal Cambridge letter dated November 23, 1929. This circular Letter, dated a month earlier, appears to definitively indicate the color Ritz Blue was new that fall.

The price list that accompanied the letter listed a number of items. First was No. 3077 stemware, plain or etched E-739. The full line was listed including fingerbowl and plate. On the same page was listed a 12-oz. ice tea, along with three other sizes of tumblers: 10, 5, and 2 ounces. However, no line or item number was given. There was a significant difference in price from the 3077 footed tumblers; the latter three being less expensive, and a larger quantity per standard package. This perhaps indicates these unidentified tumblers were flat, rather than footed.

Luncheon sets, service for four, six, or eight were also featured on the price list that accompanied C/L #331. These sets came from the Decagon line end consisted of the 698 8-in. plate, 865 cup and saucer, 979 cream and sugar, and the 870 sandwich tray. These two came plain or etched E-739. Plain and in lots of 100, the net price per set for the 15-pc. service for four was $2.45 for six, $3.25; and a 27-pc. set, service for eight, had a net price of $4.15.

All of the items in the luncheon sets were also available separately as were the Decagon 842 12-in. bowl, the 1090 tall comport, and the 627 4-in. candlestick.

Not quite a month later, on November 14, 1929, Circular Letter #333 was issued and it, too, discussed the new color, Ritz Blue. While not listing any additional pieces, it is a "marketing letter."

We have sent you samples of Ritz Blue, and want to call your attention to a Table Ensemble which is being used largely in this color as well as all other colors, both plain and etched, in the New England States. This consists of:

a Luncheon Set, and sold with it our #842 Center Bowl, with either two or four #627 candlesticks and two 1090 Comports.

This makes a very handsome combination in the decagon shape and we believe that if you when selling Luncheon Sets will make the suggestion and show with the Luncheon set, this Console Set and the pair of Comports, that you will be able to sell quite a few of these along with the Luncheon Sets. Remember to make the suggestion and show these both in the plain and etched.

We trust this will aid you in obtaining some nice orders for these sets.

Surprisingly, there is no mention of Ritz Blue in the trade journals or Cambridge advertising during 1930. The 1931 Cambridge pocket calendar/diary included Ritz Blue in its list of Cambridge colors. Again, during 1931 various Cambridge advertisements as well as articles in trade journals mentioned and/or listed Cambridge colors with no further mention of Ritz Blue. The reason behind this absence remains a mystery. Perhaps it didn't sell well and was soon discontinued. And yet we have the listing in the 1931 calendar/diary. Maybe someday the answer will be found.

Ritz Blue is very similar to Cobalt Blue 2. Ritz Blue is slightly darker and mere evenly colored than Cobalt Blue 2. One of the best ways to identify the color is by the piece. If the piece is from the Decagon line it is most likely Ritz Blue rather than Cobalt Blue 1 or 2, both of which were discontinued before the introduction of the Decagon line.