Apr 21, 2009

road trip: gussy up with glass (cambridge, ohio)

last stop while in cambridge, ohio: the national museum of cambridge glass.

not exactly the best place to bring a three year old who is amped up on sugar from kennedy's bakery....but very interesting to visit indeed.

full of wares from the early 1900s onward, there were colors + patterns galore - a tabletop lover's dream. 

a short history lesson: 
the glass company created its first pressed piece of glass in 1902. back in the day, customers could also order hand blown glass in their mold of choice. sadly, the company ceased production in 1959 due to the onslaught of mass produced foreign glass + plastics of that era. 

cambridge used color palette to define the various styles of production runs. color was influenced both by ease of production + pop culture. a rainbow of hues with fun names like "amber-glo," "pistachio," "peach-blo," "larose pink," "mulberry," "mandarin gold," and "tahoe blue."

some of my favorite patterns (see collage): 
  • "rubina" - circa 1925 to late 20s, shows layers of color (apparently, these pieces had to be put into the oven three times!). rare, gorgeous...if i were a collector, this one would be my first pick.
  • "moonlight" - from 1936-1956, transparent glass of a pale, icy blue. quite romantic, i think.
  • "avocado" - made in the late 1920s, opaque glass, sometimes etched in gold. very "now."
other notable patterns:
  • "ebony" - opaque black glass sometimes with gold that was produced from 1916-50s. given its deep color, it can show deep amythest, red, shades of brown when held in bright light.
  • "rosepoint" - inspired by antique lace + crafted from the 1930s until the company closed, an opaque pale pink with a rose bud pattern etched in gold. was the most popular pattern for cambridge. lore has it that the ladies gave these pieces as wedding gifts; thus, collections began. (you could start a similar tradition for a bride-to-be...)
  • "japonica" - a lovely pattern with etched cherry blossoms on the glass that was produced in the late 1930s. despite its beauty, WWII put the kibosh on its appeal. for obvious reasons, its japanese style was not sought or bought. however, these pieces are quite rare + valuable.
after touring the museum, i am fairly certain that a small "ruby" (or "carmen") candy dish that i inherited from my great grandmother is cambridge glass. what a cool discovery! 

collectibles can be found on Ebay and other auction sites.

so, ladies, go gussy up your tabletop with some historic glass.

midwest must:
the non-profit museum is open wednesday - sunday. admission is $4 to general public; $3 for AAA members. by the way, betty is the most charming tour guide.

(photo credits: lissa lowe)

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