Duncan and Miller's "Symphony"

by Virginia Scott
Glass Review - March 1978

Do you know Duncan & Miller's "Symphony" pattern? I didn't until I found an ad for it. And I must admit that the ad is still about all I know about it as "Symphony" is not shown in any of the glass books that Duncan Symphony Ad I have. The pattern is probably shown in some of the books devoted to Duncan glass but, unfortunately, I do not have any of those books. Neither are there any Duncan glass books in the library of the University of Georgia where I do what I euphemistically call my glass-ad research -- (look for ads in the old magazines). Perhaps some of our writers or readers who know more about Duncan glass than I do can give us more information on "Symphony."

Webmaster's NOTE: Be sure to read the accompanying article originally published in July 1978 regarding the Chartiers Division.

I am showing "Symphony" here because I always contend that glass ads are interesting of themselves and that they can be a valuable source of information to collectors. This ad, for example, shows a not-too-well-known pattern made by Duncan & Miller during their late years of glass production. This pattern was probably not made for very long but is an interesting pattern and the glass is sure to be of high quality. So this would be a good pattern for collectors to be able to recognize should they come across it.

"Symphony" has a simple round shape with a design of swirled contours which would catch and reflect light like the ripples on a poo1. It is one of those pure, unadorned patterns that Duncan executed so well during their later years. Many of the late Duncan patterns had little ornamentation except for flowing lines or molded-in shape. The clarity and sparkle of the handmade glass added elegance and charm to the simple patterns.

The illustration shown at the end of this article has been condensed from a 3 page advertisement which appeared in the December 1948 issue of House and Garden Magazine. Notice that "Symphony" was made for the Chartiers Division of Duncan & Miller and sold under the Chartiers Crystal label. (See No. 6 bottom left). Due to lack of space I am unable to show all the gift and starter sets which appear in the ad. The l0 piece All-Purpose Set (No. 1) shows a 10" bowl, a 14" plate and eight 7½" plates which, according to the ad, had the new flat 'coupe' bottoms. This set sold for $4.50. The 16 piece Luncheon Set (No. 2) consisted of four cups, four saucers, four 8½" plates and four tumblers and was only $4.50. The Entertainment Set (No. 4) had eight cups and eight 8½" divided plates for $4.95. The Sugar and Cream Set was $1 and the 3 piece Mayonnaise Set with a glass ladle (No. 5) was $1.25. Also advertised was a 12 piece Tumbler Starter Set which had four each of water tumblers, fruit juice glasses and iced-tea glasses. (See No. 2 for shape of the glasses.) That set was $1.95.