What Capote And Cambridge Glass Have in Common

What do you know about Cambridge Glass? If you’re like me, not so much; but, after I received a press release that led with a reference to Truman Capote and his 1966 Black and White Ball, I definitely was intrigued.

Nearly 60 years after the famed Cambridge Glass Co. of Cambridge, Ohio closed its doors, collectors are still in love with the elegant glassware it produced. Every summer they gather to demonstrate their enthusiasm during the annual convention to be held June 25-27 this year.

“Right now we’re at about 120 registrations, but more people will join us for the glass shows to shop,” said David Ray, National Cambridge Collectors president, who is a Westerville (Ohio) High School teacher and glass collector.

The three-day event features educational programs, two glass shows and an opportunity to visit the NCC museum, along with options to dine and mingle with fellow glass enthusiasts.

While Cambridge was known for its Rose Point etching and variety of stunning colors ranging from pastel pinks and greens to deep reds and cobalt blue, one of this summer’s educational programs will focus on the black and white glass, also known as ebony and ivory colored glass.

Ebony was introduced in the 1910s, and production continued through the 1950s. Ivory had a short production period in the 1920s. A variety of patterns and shapes will be displayed for collectors to enjoy.

“Ebony glass is not really black, it’s a very intense purple that you will notice if held up to light,” said Ray, a collector since 1989.

“Unlike Truman Capote’s ball, all are welcome to attend our black and white glass program, as well as our shows and entire convention,” he said. “Even if you are just starting to collect glass or are merely curious, this is a great way to learn more about some of the American-made glass that Ohio was famous for.”

The weekend features not one but two glass shows. The dealers at the convention show will have a variety of elegant glassware for sale, including Cambridge, Fostoria, Heisey, Morgantown, Tiffin and more. 1

The second show, called the “Glass Dash,” sounds dangerous! As vendors begin unwrapping their merchandise, buyers are let in the door, then dash from table to table, searching for items to add to their collections.

Of course, a trip to Cambridge isn’t complete without visiting the National Museum of Cambridge Glass, which features a chronological collection of the company’s production history, a display of the glass making process, tools used by factory workers, archival papers and (hooray!) a gift shop. With more than 6,000 pieces of glass, it’s a perfect spot for antique collectors to visit this summer.

“Our museum is an absolute treasure not only to the glass collecting community, but the general public,” museum director Cindy Arent said. “Collectors visit to research their patterns and discover new ones, and people who don’t know much about glass come to learn more about the illustrious history of Cambridge and marvel at the thousands of pieces we have on display in practically every imaginable color.”

In case you’re wondering if you have any Cambridge or what the mark looks like, according to Ray, it began as a capital C in a triangle. But after the 1920s, Cambridge switched to a paper label, making it tough to identify once the label slips off.

The NCC convention and glass show are held at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center, 7033 Glenn Highway, in Cambridge. Established in 1973, the collectors club maintains the museum, which is open from April through October. For a complete convention schedule and information about the club, visit cambridgeglass.org or call 740-432-4245.

Questions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, email Maureen Zambito at: zambito maureen@ hotmail.com or by writing in care of this newspaper.