Viking/New Martinsville "Prelude"

by Virginia Scott
Glass Review - May 1981

"Good-looking glass, isn't it?" This heading in a glass ad caught my eye recently as I was looking through the ads in old magazines in the library at University of Georgia.

Prelude Ads "Yes," I thought to myself, "Cambridge glass is always good-looking." But as I looked at the ad more closely, I discovered that the glass was not Cambridge, but was the "Prelude" pattern made by Viking Glass Company of New Martinsville, WV.

There is definitely something about Prelude that is reminiscent of Cambridge "Rosepoint". Perhaps it is the medallion surrounded by the small flowers. However, a close look at Prelude discloses the "medallion" is actually a partially open "bud" or "cone" or "pod" and the scattered flowers are a field of wild flowers, not roses.

Our illustration is a composite of several ads which were in House Beautiful and House & Garden from 1948 through 1954. A 1948 full page ad shows a large plate and three pieces of stemware. "Where there's pride, there's Prelude ... made by hand by Viking" was almost the complete text used. The remainder was "Choose yours from the complete display of Viking's lovely new Prelude etched glassware featured at your favorite store". The words, "new Prelude" give us a clue that this was a new pattern in 1948.

In our illustration (at right), the three pieces along the left side were from a 1949 ad, the one which had the "Good-looking glass" heading. In this ad, we were told that complete table settings, including pressed or blown stemware, were available in "open stock" assortment.

A 1951 ad is at top right. This ad mentioned that the full Prelude line had over "60 lovely pieces". The Viking trademark (top, left), features a Viking ship. The trademark and the words, "Treasured American Glass" appeared in all the ads.

Some of the Prelude pieces are interesting. Notice the difference in the candleholders. It is also apparent the divided relish trays at top right and at center, are etched on different blanks as the handles and edges are not the same. The same is true of the plates at center right and bottom left. The larger plate is quite similar to the "Radiance" blank, as is the crimped bowl above it.

The Lazy Susan, upper center, was described in a 1951 ad: "The plate ... 18" wide with a wave-rolled upturned edge ... use the shrimp server for relish and things ... both are gleaming hand-made crystal ... each fits the chrome-bright Lazy Susan that glides on smooth, smooth ball bearings. Plate and server may be used individually, too." The shrimp server part is shown at the center.

The beautiful 11" cake salver, bottom right, appeared in a 1954 ad with the 14" plate, right center, and the 10" relish, lower center. This had had the heading, "Prelude ... with everlasting beauty" shown at top left. These three pieces were advertised in the ad at $5 each.

Yes, Viking Prelude is really "good-looking glass". As one ad stated, "Viking Prelude etching always wears its party dress".