Our featured museum piece for this month is a gorgeous epergne in the Harvest pattern by Cambridge. Produced from 1937 to 1958, the Harvest pattern features a beautiful wheat motif design that adorns a number of piece types, from water goblets to salt & pepper sets. Epergnes first appeared in the early 18th century as a way to serve condiments, spices, desserts, pickles, nuts, and other items to guests during a meal. Originally, epergnes were elaborate silver centerpieces that consisted of one central bowl surrounded by a group of smaller attached dishes. Over time, epergnes began being used more as decorative centerpieces, predominately used to display flower arrangements and candles.
The Cambridge Glass Company was founded in 1873, when a group of businessmen from the town of Cambridge, Ohio chartered a glass producing facility. However, construction of the new factory wasn’t completed until 1902. 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 twentieth 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, as well as the popular Nude Stems collection. Many of the company’s most famous colors were developed during this period, including " Carmen," " Crown Tuscan," " Royal Blue," and " Heatherbloom". Evidence suggests Cambridge first began producing epergnes like the one featured here around 1934.
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). In 1958, Cambridge closed its doors, and Imperial Glass acquired the company’s molds and equipment in 1960. While the Cambridge Glass Company is now closed, its legacy lives on at Replacements.
The Cambridge Harvest epergne in our museum is not for sale, but we do have a variety of Harvest and other Cambridge pieces 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 500,000-square-foot facilities hold more than 12 million individual pieces in more than 425,000 patterns! 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!