Moonlight BlueBy

Moonlight Blue

Cambridge

butter dish & flower figures

Moonlight is the original name given to a particular color of blue first introduced by the Cambridge Glass Company in 1936. Most collectors and dealers add the word "blue" to "Moonlight" making up the most commonly used name for this color "Moonlight Blue." That's the name which is used in this article.

Original Cambridge Moonlight Blue is a light transparent blue; the color is darker in thick parts of a pattern, lighter in thinner areas. Cambridge made Moonlight Blue during two periods of time: the first, from June 1936 to September 1950; the second, from late 1955 or early 1956 to just before Cambridge closed in 1958.

A new blue glass similar to original Moonlight Blue is currently being produced in original Cambridge Caprice molds and at least one flower figure. In this article, we'll look at two of the new items: the Caprice pattern butterdish, and the so-called Bashful Charlotte flower holder (original Cambridge catalog #1115).

Caprice Butterdish

Approximately 31 of the original Caprice pattern molds are now owned by the Summit Art Glass company of Mogador, Ohio. The 1/4 lb. butterdish (Fig. 1), original Cambridge #52, is one of the molds that has been used in production. Some of the Caprice molds, but not all, have been reworked to produce a small raised bump on the new pieces of glass (Fig. 2). This bump is supposed to identify the pieces as new. As a practical matter, though, these small bumps are easily removed. A better way to catch new butterdishes is to examine how new and old are made.

To begin with, original Caprice butterdishes were never made in Moonlight Blue. According to the best evidence available, Caprice pattern butterdishes were made only in crystal -- all other colors should be highly suspect. In addition to simple color, another good test of age is to check the seam lines around the butterdish handles. The handles of originals were polished and have virtually no trace of a mold seam; seams on new butterdishes are obvious (Fig. 3).

The new butterdish also suffers from a characteristic found in almost all reproduction glassware -- a slick, greasy feeling surface. This is caused by large amounts of sodium in new glass formulas. The sodium attracts moisture to the surface of the glass which in turn attracts airborne dust particles. The dust and moisture combine to produce microscopic 'mud' which creates the greasy feeling. It occurs on all colors of new glass and is found on pressed as well as blown glass. The slick feeling is almost always proof of a glass reproduction.

Bashful Charlotte Flower Holder

The Cambridge flower holder commonly called "Bashful Charlotte" was originally made in two sizes: #1115 which was 11 1/2" high, and figure #1114 which was 6 1/2" high. Both sizes have been reproduced from original molds but slight changes to the mold can be used to tell old from new.

When Cambridge closed, most of their molds, including the Bashful Charlotte and other flower figure molds, were acquired by Imperial Glass Company. Imperial altered the original molds by adding vertical ribbing to all the flower figure bases except the seagull.

In the 1980s, the original molds were further altered for Mirror Images (MI), a Lansing, MI firm. Mirror Images had the flower holes removed and made the base walls thinner (Figs. 7-9). This revised version of the 6 1/2" Charlotte figure-- no flower holes and with vertical ribs-- was marketed during the 1980s by Mirror Images as "Venus Rising". They were sold in seven colors including frosted and carnival finishes and a caramel slag. Some of the 6 1/2" figures are marked IG-81 while others are said to be marked MI.

Summit Art Glass now owns the original large Charlotte mold. The base has been shortened so the new figures (in addition to vertical ribs and no flower holes) are only 10" high (originals are 11 1/2"). Various colors have been produced including cobalt, vaseline and a light blue similar to original Moonlight Blue.

According to JD Hanes, Chairman of the Museum Committee of the National Museum of Cambridge Glass, here are some of the keys to identifying original Bashful Charlotte flower figures:

1. All old pieces have flower holes-- some MI pieces do have holes, but most reproductions do not (and most MI pieces are marked).

2. All old pieces have thicker bases-- the side walls in original bases are 1/2" or wider; the walls in the reproductions are 1/4" or less;

3. All old pieces have smooth sided bases-- the reproductions have vertical ribbing (there is some evidence to suggest Cambridge did make some figures with ribbing shortly before closing in the late 1950s. However, the general rule is that ribbing is found on only reproductions.

4. All etched C in triangle marks on general line Cambridge are fake marks. (Fig. 10).

List of Caprice pattern molds owned by Summit Art Glass

In addition to these, there may be others. Not all the molds have necessarily been used to make reproductions but the molds could be used to make reproductions in the future.

Ashtray, 3"Salad dressing, 3 pc,
Ashtray, 4"footed with handles
Ashtray, 5"Salt & Pepper, flat style
Bowl, 5" 2 hdled jellyStem, 3 oz wine
Bowl, 8", 3 part relishStem, 3 1/2 oz cocktail
Bowl, 11" 2 handled,Stem, 4 1/2" oz, claret
oval with 4 feetStem, 7 oz sherbet
Butterdish, quarter lb.Sugar, large
Creamer, largeSugar, medium
Creamer, mediumSugar, individual
Creamer, individualTray (for sg. & crm)
Mayonnaise, 6 1/2",Tumbler, 2 oz.
3 pc setTumbler, 9 oz
Mayonnaise, 8", 3 pcsTumbler, 10 oz
Oil, 3 ozTumbler, 12 oz
Oil, 5 oz.
Plate, 9 1/2"

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Fig. 1

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Fig. 2

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Fig. 3

Figs. 1-3 The new Moonlight Blue Caprice butterdishes in Fig. 1 are fantasies, no original Caprice butterdishes were ever made in the Moonlight Blue color. On the top of the new bases is a small raised bump, Fig. 2, about actual size. However, the bumps are not on all the new Caprice pieces. A better check for age is to examine the handles. New handles have an obvious seam line, Fig. 3. Old handles are polished smooth without a raised mold seam.

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Fig. 4

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Fig. 5

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Fig. 6

Figs. 4-6 The base of the reproduction in Fig. 4 does not have holes for flowers and the sides have vertical ribbing. The original piece in Fig. 5 has holes for flowers and has a smooth sided base. Fig. 6 shows an original piece as it would have been originally used-- with flowers and a centerpiece dish.

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Fig. 7

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Fig. 8

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Fig.9

Figs. 7-9 These are views of the bases on old and new Bashful Charlottes. The wall of the bases on new pieces is much thinner than the wall on original bases. The outer wall on new bases has vertical ribs; the outer wall of old bases is smooth. Fig. 7 shows a photograph of a new base about actual size.

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Fig. 10 This etched C in a triangle mark is a fake mark found on some of the reproduced flower figures. Note the gaps on the sides. The only authentic etched mark used by Cambridge was on laboratory glassware.