Our featured museum piece for this month is a gorgeous Gyro Optic vase in the Moonlight Blue color by Cambridge. The “keyhole” stem of this vase is a distinctive Cambridge design element that was applied to a variety of the company’s glassware items, from candlesticks to relish trays. The keyhole design was commonly incorporated into the stems of different pieces, but it was also used to create knobs and handles as well. This unique keyhole element first began appearing on Cambridge glassware in the late 1920s, and remained a common design motif until the company’s closing in 1958. Some of the most popular items to use the keyhole design were vases, like the one featured here. Glassware items showcasing this iconic keyhole design remain very popular with Cambridge collectors.
The Cambridge Glass Company was founded in 1873 in the town of Cambridge, Ohio. Most of the company’s early designs were heavy, pressed-glass patterns – many designed by Arthur J. Bennett, an English native who was hired to manage the new Cambridge factory. In addition to designing many of the company’s early patterns, Bennett also designed the company’s first backstamp, which read “Near Cut.”
The company achieved steady growth during the early part of the 20th century, and during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s the company released its most successful shapes, colors, and designs. In 1931, the company debuted its very successful “Rose Point” etching. Many of the company’s most famous colors were developed during this period, including "Carmen," "Crown Tuscan," "Royal Blue," and "Heatherbloom".
Soon after the end of the World War II, the company began to experience declining sales (fine crystal was in less demand during this time, as more Americans began to purchase cheap, imported glassware). Cambridge closed its doors in 1958, and the company’s molds and equipment were acquired by Imperial Glass in 1960. While the Cambridge Glass Company is now closed, its legacy lives on at Replacements.
The Cambridge Gyro Optic keyhole vase in our museum is not for sale, but we do have many Cambridge items available for purchase in our inventory; be sure to browse our web site. And remember that we always invite you to visit our facilities – here you’ll see a stunning variety of silver, china, crystal, and collectibles. Our showroom and museum are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm ET, 7 days (except holidays); free tours are available from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ET, 7 days. The showroom and museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you.