One of the things I love to find while I’m hunting for treasures is egg coddlers. A few months back I did a post on them which you can read in the archives. They are lots of fun and I love using my own set. They make a good egg! I’ve got my cooking time mastered to give me a nice soft yolk egg. Just the way I like them. One of the makers of these egg coddlers is Royal Worcester. They don’t just make egg coddlers though, they have a long history of making porcelain.
They actually started in 1751. According to Mallams, It was started by 13 local businessmen at the time and was originally called just Worcester Porcelain. They were successful from the beginning with their first showroom opening in 1754 on Aldersgate Street, London.
In 1756 they were one of the first to use a transfer printing process. Robert Hancock had joined the company and pioneered this process. The original pieces had all been hand painted in blue paint under the glaze. This, of course, increased their productivity. They were still Worcester Porcelain at this point.
The company’s founding fathers eventually retired and the company was bought by Thomas Flight who purchased the company for his sons, Joseph and John in 1783. Then in 1789 they got the Royal warrant by George III for making the first Royal Dinner service for the Duke of Gloucester, George’s brother. That was when they added the “Royal” to their name and became Royal Worcester.
They had a number of big orders for the Royal Family and some other notables such as Admiral Nelson in 1802. They created a book of 400 designs for the Prince Regent and the coronation service for King William IV.
Royal Worcester was bought by Richard William Binns and William Henry Kerr in 1851. From that year to 1887 the Severn Street factory grew from 70 employees to 700. I would say that was a huge amount of growth!!
In the early 1900s, Royal Worcester began making hard porcelain items for hospitals, labs and schools across England. During that time they were also branching out successfully into the U.S. At least they were until the Great Depression. They barely escaped with their shirts but they were able to remain open, due in part to innovation, with the development of fireproof porcelain.
The company was also part of the war effort creating electrical resistors and spark plugs. After the war they continued producing and growing and are still in business today. They opened a museum in 1951 which has over 10,000 pieces. According to Mallams, even though they mostly print on porcelain, they still have some designs that are hand-painted.
It’s nice to see a company with such a long history still in business. So many companies, as we’ve seen, weren’t able to compete with cheap imports but Royal Worcester is still going strong!
I hope you have enjoyed this look at Royal Worcester and will join me at the link parties on the right. Have a great week!
A few months back, I did a post on McCoy Pottery which talked about the Nelson McCoy connection. That post touched briefly on George Brush who had gone into business with Nelson McCoy, forming Brush-McCoy. This union only lasted until 1918 when they went their separate ways and Brush Pottery became its own business. The Brush-McCoy mark stopped being used in 1925.
According to Lehner’s Encyclopedia, there are 2 different Brush Potteries. The first one was only in business for a year (1907 to 1908) when the pottery burned down. In that year they produced kitchen ware and sanitary ware. One item of note was the Lucille Toilet Ware line. After the fire destroyed the 1-kiln plant, George Brush, the owner, went to McCoy Pottery. The original Brush pottery used the old Union Pottery molds so I’m not sure how to identify those pieces. If anyone knows, let me know!
On to the second Brush Pottery. Once Brush and McCoy went their separate ways with McCoy selling their interest in Brush-McCoy, Brush started turning out many well vitrified products. Lehner’s Encyclopedia lists those items as kitchen ware, vases, cookie jars, patio ware, garden ware and more. Their cookie jars are very collectible and they had quite a few designs.
During the 1920s through the 1940s, they updated their equipment, getting a new tunnel kiln which improved their production. They introduced their Colonial Mat and Art Vellum lines; going towards softer and semi-matte finishes. According to the American Association of Art Pottery some of their brightly colored glazes sold really well, too, in the 1930s. They had a faux Rockingham Nurock glaze that was popular during this time.
Brush Pottery is remembered for a few key pieces, mainly frogs of every shape and attitude, as well as cookie jars. And to combine those two, a frog cookie jar called “Hill Billy Frog” which is rare and can sell upwards of $4,000! Their main business turned more towards the floral and novelty. Just like the planter at the top from the Vintage Eve’s shop and this one here.
Here is the “Hill Billy Frog” cookie jar. The link will take you to a website to help you know the difference between the original and the repro.
You will still see a lot of items listed as “Brush McCoy” when you shop even if they are just marked “Brush.” Anything produced after 1925 is either a McCoy or a Brush, not the combined name. Also, the Brush name was always impressed into the clay. The new repros out there have “Brush McCoy” in raised letters. In December 1978, Brush Pottery was sold to C.S.C. Inc. of Chicago, then in 1979 to Virgil Cole and John O. Everhart. They closed for good in 1982.
They were around from the 1920s through to the 1980s. I can’t find the information as to what finally shut them down. They may have gone the same way many of the others did, with cheap imports taking over the market or it could have been lack of interest of the new owners. Hard to say. But it closed down in 1982 and burned down sometime around the turn of this century.
Again, I find it interesting to untangle the threads of all these companies, to follow one to its roots. I hope you have enjoyed this post and will join me at the link parties on the right. Have a great week!
I have been away for a bit from the blog due to a very hectic schedule over the last few months! In my other life, I am a Special Ed Teacher and as such, the last few months before school ends are rounds of grading papers, meetings, testing and taking advantage of the good weather if at all possible! But here we are, together again, and I’d like to touch on a company that we have probably all invited into our houses at one point or another.
Anchor Hocking. This company has been around more than a century in many different forms. We’ve all seen their stuff. I have a couple of their pieces in the shop currently. Like these ones.
They originally started as the Hocking Company back in 1905 near the Hocking River — hence the name. At the time, according to the Anchor Hocking Museum website (AH), Isaac J. Collins and 6 of his friends had raised about $8,000 to buy Lancaster Carbon Company when they went into receivership. Even back then, though, $8k was not enough and they needed to bring on one more investor by the name of Mr. E.B. Good. He gave them another $17,000 which sealed the deal and Mr. Collins had himself a glass factory.
During their first year in business, with 50 employees, Hocking Glass Company sold about $20,000 worth of glassware. Not too shabby! As they expanded they began to sell some stock in the company.
They were going along pretty good until there was a huge fire which destroyed their main facility. How many times have we seen this played out with some of these early 20th century companies?! They worked it out, though because out of those ashes rose a new facility called Plant 1 — specifically designed to produce glassware. The one that burned down had originally been a carbon company when they bought the facility.
Hocking Glass began buying up some other companies such as the Lancaster Glass Company (Plant 2) and the Standard Glass Manufacturing Company. This was all during the 1920s. Just before the Great Depression hit, they developed a revolutionary machine that pressed glass automatically. It allowed them to make over 30 items per minute, whereas before they could only make 1 per minute.
Once that was perfected, they then created a machine with 15 molds that could turn out 90 pieces of glass per minute! That allowed them to lower their costs considerably. During the Depression they were able to sell tumblers “two for a nickel” and still stay in business.
In 1931 they purchased a 50% share of the General Glass Company which was in the process of acquiring Turner Glass Company of Winchester, Indiana. The information on the Anchor Hocking Museum website (AH) says that this merger is what ended up creating the Anchor Hocking name. What happened was that Hocking Glass and the companies it was now merged with developed the first one-way beer bottle. Before that, beer was sold in refillable bottles.
On December 31, 1937, Anchor Cap and Closure and all its subsidiaries merged with Hocking Glass. They had closure plants all over the Eastern seaboard and in Canada. They also had glass container plants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This led the now Anchor-Hocking Glass Company into glassware, containers and then into tableware, toiletries, cosmetic containers, and more.
They continued to expand through the next decades. In 1969 they dropped the “Glass” part of their name because they were so far beyond just producing glass. Actually during the prior year, 1968, they had entered the plastics market after their acquisition of Plastics Incorporated.
In 1970 they purchased Phoenix Glass Company in Pennsylvania and entered the lighting field. They also bought Taylor, Smith & Taylor putting them squarely into the earthenware, fine stoneware, and institutional china dinnerware business.
Over the years they have bought and sold different divisions. You can go to the Anchor Hocking Museum website (AH) for a very detailed listing of all the subsidiaries and divisions that have been acquired, merged, or sold. The list gets complicated. In 2006 Anchor-Hocking filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to heavier than expected losses. They were bought by Oneida which in turn was acquired by EverywhereWare, Inc. So they are still in business under the Anchor-Hocking name.
They apparently only used 3 marks during their production years. There is a mark that has an “HG” over “Co.” which was used from 1905 to 1937. The anchor with an H in the middle used from 1937 to 1968. Finally, the anchor inside a square used from 1968 until now.
It is amazing how intertwined so many of these companies became. It is like trying to unravel a knotted ball of yarn; they start out simple and then it’s almost impossible to separate one from the other. It’s all interesting though!
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post. Please join me at the link parties on the right — lots of wonderful blogs — and have a great week!!
I’ve been adding a lot of glassware recently to the Vintage Eve’s shop when I realized I never did a post on Federal Glass. I did touch on it briefly in my post about Depression Glass but it deserves a post of its own.
In 1900, George and Robert J. Beatty, who came from a successful glass-making family, banded together with some other glass makers to start Federal Glass in Columbus, Ohio. At that time, they were only making tumblers and jellies.
By 1906 they had expanded their line to include bottles and jars. Mostly utilitarian stuff which was common around this time in a number of glass houses. By 1914 they were making some pressed glass pieces. According to the Glass Encyclopedia, many of their designs were from molds acquired from other companies.
They used a lot of designs that originated with US Glass Company such as “Peacock Feather,” “Kansas,” and “Caledonia” all of which were made originally by US Glass. Their glassware was still clear flint glass at this point, they hadn’t made any colored glass. Some other companies were using the same patterns as Federal during this time, too, which can be slightly confusing.
Around 1913, old catalogs show that they were also making items for groceries such as salt, pepper and spice shakers. They also made measuring jugs and other items. I was not able to track down a picture of the catalog but it’s out there somewhere.
During the early years they were plagued with union strikes from the flint workers. One strike lasted almost 2 years. They tried to keep their shop non-union while paying their workers more than most people in the business (www.FOHBC.org).
During the 1920s they continued to expand their lines into full tableware sets, colored glass, and more. By the 1920s and 1930s they were creating some patterns in Depression Glass that are looked for by collectors today. Some of those patterns are “Diana (1937-1941),” “Mayfair (1934),” “Parrot (1931-1932),” “Sharon,” and a number of others. One of their more popular designs in 1940s was the “Park Avenue.”
Around 1927 the Federal Glass mark started being used in catalogs. It is an “F” inside a shield. The mark itself was not registered until 1944.
From what I uncovered in my research, Federal Glass Company was good to its employees. When their employees returned from WWII, they were given back their jobs or received better ones, and they closed for a day to honor those who had died in the war.
In 1949, Corning Glass Works sued Federal saying they had infringed on 2 of their patents. Both patents were related to heat-treated glass they used in their tumblers under the “STURDEE” name. It took 6 years to bring to trial and was dismissed as unfounded in 1956. Then there was a company named “Federal Glass Company” in Dover, Delaware that Federal Glass sued asking them to stop using the “Federal” name. The Ohio Federal Glass won and was awarded the right to rename the Delaware company (www.FOHBC.org).
They were quite prosperous through the 1950s and 1960s. So why did they go out of business? One reason, according to FOHBC, is that a lot of their business was wrapped up in premiums that gas stations gave away. When the gas shortages hit in the early 1970s, their business took a $5 million hit. Then the Federal Paper Board, with whom they had merged in 1957, decided to sell the glass division to Lancaster Colony. That sale didn’t go through.
After a lot of back and forth, Lancaster tried again but wanted the right to reduce wages and remove pensions. The results were that in 1979 they ceased making glass. FOHBC goes into a lot more detail on what caused the complete collapse such as the wide-spread use of plastics and more. They had made it through the Great Depression but after 79 years in business, the doors closed.
Well, that is a quick look at the Federal Glass Company. They made some great and enduring pieces that we still love today. I hope you enjoyed reading and remember to join me at the link parties on the right this week! Have a great week!
I love Mid-Century Modern. In fact, my dream is to have a house filled with Mid-Mod furniture. Not sure if I’ll ever get that dream fulfilled but it’s out there. It definitely sells well in the Vintage Eve’s shop.
What I like about Mid-Century Modern are the lines of the furniture and other items that came out of this era and while it can be said that Danish Modern is part of the Mid-Century Modern movement, not all Mid-Century Modern is Danish Modern. So what exactly is Danish Modern?
Danish Modern started in the early part of the 20th century. According to Collectors Weekly, the grandfather of Danish Modern is considered to be Kaare Klint. He was a founder of the furniture school at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen around 1924. Klint believed that we didn’t need to reinvent furniture, just change the lines to give it a more modern look. Many of Klint’s followers were trained as architects which explains the architectural lines to the furniture.
Danish Modern is a period of time that runs from the 1930s to the 1970s. Collectors Weekly says it really took off post-WWII, though. It sort of grew out of the Bauhaus movement which used geometric design and art. This movement was about showing the structure, not hiding it. Danish Modern used these tenets.
Another designer that was big in the Danish Modern movement was Arne Jacobsen. He was the creator of the Ant chair. It had 3 metal legs and was made out of a single piece of plywood. Danish Modern is all about keeping the materials real. They wanted people to see the structure of the furniture.
He is also the guy who developed the Egg chair in 1958. The chair completely enveloped the sitter creating its own mini interior space around them. It was very sculptural. The material used in Danish Modern design was of the highest quality while still appealing to the middle class.
One of the materials that you will see a lot of in Danish Modern design is teak and other woods. Teak done right can be beautiful, as well as functional. It’s lightweight, too. Another wood was rosewood — paired with steel or other metals it gives these pieces their distinctive look. These items were always meant to appeal to the masses. Although they were made with the best of materials, they were meant to be mass produced for the middle class. The pieces were not just modern in line but also very functional for family life.
According to Andrew Hollingsworth in “For the Love of Danish Modern Furniture” (Collectors Weekly, Keane & Monte), the reason Danish Modernism came to an end was progress. New ways of making furniture with colorful molded plastics, the late 60s and 70s, quality of materials declining to meet the demands of lower prices, all sort of converged to bring about the end of the movement.
It’s definitely a look you either love or hate. I happen to love it, but many older people who grew up with it hate it. Go figure! Well, that is Danish Modern in a nutshell. Collectors Weekly has a great article on it for more in depth info. Have a great week and join me in the link parties to the right!
Oh my! It has been a whirlwind month! An exchange student from Japan came to our home and for two and a half weeks, shared her culture with us as we shared ours. It was an experience that I know our family will never forget. It was an awesome 2 1/2 weeks and I was surprised how much we missed her when she left. I say all of this to explain my absence for the last few weeks. Along with other obligations the blog has been a little neglected!
But here we are, together again and I would like to take a look at a prolific importer and designer of the mid-century, Holt-Howard. Their designs, like these cat S&P shakers, started off my small S&P collection. Here are the cats …
And some more of my collection. These are not for sale in the shop, because I love them too much!
The cats actually have a meowing canister in them so when you turn them upside down they meow. They don’t meow anymore, but they would have back in the day. Holt-Howard imported, designed and sold a lot of these cute items using cats, pixies and other animals. They started back in 1949 when John and Robert Howard and Grant Holt started the company.
According to Kovels the company started selling Christmas items made and sold in the U.S. Holt-Howard was originally based in New York City and moved to Stamford, Connecticut in 1955. Over the years they were sold a couple of times before closing in the 1990s. During their heyday, though, they produced different lines that are well-known in the vintage world.
As I said, they started with U.S. made goods but soon turned to overseas manufacturing to keep costs low. Some of their U.S. made Christmas stuff included the winking Santa and Merry Whiskers beverage sets.
As their manufacturing moved overseas, they began to produce sort of cartoon type figures made into useful kitchen/household items. One of their lines was Pixieware. These are brightly colored kitchen items like the ones below.
This line was produced from about 1958 to the early 1960s. Many of the condiment jars are pretty easy to find but some of them are rarer than others. Those ones are the honey or chili sauce jars and there is also one for instant coffee (ahh can’t you just smell the Sanka!).
The Pixieware line also included Spoofy Spoons, liquor decanters, salt and pepper sets, teapots and more. Another line was the Cozy Cats and Kittens line. That’s where my S&P shakers come in. In this line there were all sorts of things from string holders to ashtrays, spice sets and grease crocks.
They also produced the Exotic Rooster Line. I personally love roosters and during the 50’s and 60s they were very popular for decoration. Holt-Howard’s Red Rooster Coq Rouge dinnerware line, introduced in the 1960s, was designed by Bob Howard. This line was carried through the 1970s in finer department stores.
Holt-Howard was copied by any number of copy cats. ThoughtCo., another blog, has a list of these copy cats and how to tell the difference between the knock offs and the real HH.
As the years wore on, Holt-Howard was bought by General Housewares Corporation in 1968. By 1974 the Howard brothers and Holt had left to follow other dreams. The company was then again sold to Kay Dee Designs of Rhode Island in 1990. In fact Grant Holt and John Howard formed another company called Grant-Howard Associates which produced Pixieware pieces but nothing from the original Holt-Howard Pixieware line.
I love the Holt-Howard pieces myself. Whimsical and fun but with a definite mid-century look. The pieces today just don’t capture the same look. Well, I hope you have enjoyed this post. Have a great week and look for me at the link parties on the right all week!
Hi! I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write! We have been getting ready for an exchange student and it’s amazing how much stuff builds up in your house when you’ve been somewhere for 10+ years. I have a full time job, as well, so the blog took the hit this month. But I wanted to talk about a company that is known as Syracuse China.
I found this pretty little cup and saucer the other day for the shop.
I love the rich colors! This particular pattern is called Lady Louise and comes from about the 1940s. It’s marked Old Ivory, which is the shape, by Syracuse China. I was curious about who they were so if you are, too, let’s find out who they are.
In 1871, according to Syracuse Then and Now, The Onondaga Pottery Company opened it’s doors when sixteen local businessmen banded together and bought a local struggling pottery. This company was also called, O.P.Co. and was located in Geddes, New York, which is now part of Syracuse. The name came from the county in which it was located, as well as a nod to the native Iroquois tribe.
After they capitalized the company for $50,000, they began to expand their white earthenware lines that the old pottery manufactured. O.P.Co. was not located close to the other big potteries in the area. They settled where there were no natural clay sources or coal for running the kilns. No one in the area were clay workers but they were located on the Erie Canal and the railroads so they were able to bring in what they needed easily enough.
The first of O.P.Co.’s Superintendents had hired English potters and trained the local men in making English pottery. In fact, the first company backstamp was a Lion and Unicorn Arms until it was changed in 1873 to the Great Seal of the State of New York. The pottery went undecorated until 1884 when Boston China Decorating Works opened up across the street. They now had access to a designer, printer and hand decorator, at least until a fire destroyed the Boston China Decorating Works in 1886.
So O.P.Co. decided to take everyone into their building thereby establishing one of the earliest in-house decorating departments. At this point, they are still O.P.Co. Syracuse Then and Now says that in 1888 James Pass, the Superintendent at that time who later became president, created America’s “first truly vitreous china body.” (syracusethenandnow.org). Imperial Geddo was a line of fancy accessory pieces that were introduced at the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 where it won the award for most translucent china.
Two years after the award, the name Syracuse China started showing up on these pieces as a backstamp. Eventually they dropped their other earthenware body pieces and all of their products were vitreous “Syracuse China.”
They became big in the hotel market with a chip-resistant round edge shape introduced in 1896. In 1908 they led the industry in perfecting the under glaze decal process. Then in 1913 Bert Salisbury became president with the death of James Pass. New products that came to market from Salisbury’s time were Old Ivory in 1926 and Adobe in 1931. They also specialized in china for the nation’s railroads.
During WWII, Richard Pass was president and helped the war effort by manufacturing non-detectable ceramic anti-tank land mines. In the 1950s they opened the Onondaga Pottery Electronics Division where they produced “reliable printed circuit components for radio and television manufacturers” (syracusethenandnow.org).
Up until 1971, the company had been been owned by 2 Syracuse families. In 1971 new management took over. They purchased the assets of the company and formed Syracuse China Corporation. In 1978 they merged with Canadian Pacific Investments, Ltd. With this new backing they continued to thrive. There were a few more changes of hands including Susquehanna-Pfaltzgraff and then Libbey owning the company.
Again, we see the merging of all these big industry names as the company morphs over the years. This is how these companies survive in order to weather difficult times and changes in management. It’s interesting how they are interconnected!
Well, that’s it for this week! Please join me at the link parties listed on the right and have a great week!