AKA Syracuse China

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.

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Syracuse China Lady Louise Teacup and Saucer (available at Vintage Eve’s)

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.

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O.P.Co. Tea Pot (available at Pungo Vintage)

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.

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O.P.Co. Syracuse China Indian Tree Plate (available at The Little Things N More)

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.

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Railroad Dishes by Syracuse China (available at Sweetest Stella)

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.

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Syracuse China Coralbel Creamer and Sugar (available at Jo’s China Shop)

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.

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Syracuse China Trend Cups (available at Vintage Rescuer)

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.”

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Mustard Pot by Syracuse China (available at TreasureWares)

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.

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Syracuse China Adobe Ware Egg Cups (available at SuzyQVintage)

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).

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Syracuse China Drip Bowl (available at Treasures We Love)

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.

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Syracuse China Grill Plate Shanghai (available at LexyLady’sTreasures)

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!

The Real McCoy (I couldn’t resist)

Over the years I have seen many pieces of pottery. As you all know, I love pottery, especially kitchen stuff like bowls. There’s probably some psychological stuff about all that, but I choose not to delve too deep into it. Suffice it to say, pottery catches my eye. One company that is a name to look for in pottery is McCoy. Just watch Antiques Roadshow, one of my favorite shows, and once in a while you will see some McCoy come up.

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McCoy by Lancaster Colony Company (available at Vintage Eve’s)

I have these pieces in the shop which are McCoy but they are also marked LCC which I will get into further down into this post. They are still McCoy — but not before it was bought out by Lancaster. Let’s take a look at where McCoy started as I wait out this snow storm that is supposed to drop about 14″ of snow on my small NH town.

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McCoy Squirrel Planters (available at Magpie Mary’s Market)

According to the McCoy Pottery website, The Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company in Roseville, Ohio was formed in 1910 by Nelson McCoy and his father J.W. McCoy. This company made functional and decorative stoneware. They also provided clay to lots of potteries in their area as well, mining and selling it as part of their business.

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McCoy Jardiniere & Pedestal (available at Constance Collections)

After 15 years, in 1925, they began to expand the company. They increased their production and added more modern equipment to their facility. They were the first in their area to install a tunnel kiln which was over 300 feet long. It allowed them to increase their production considerably and expand into specialty art pottery.

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McCoy Clown Cookie Jar (available at Goshen Pickers)

On a side note, there was Brush-McCoy Pottery which really didn’t involve Nelson McCoy. In 1911 George Brush and J.W. McCoy Pottery joined forces until 1918 which is a completely separate story with some of the same players. The McCoy name in Brush-McCoy was not dropped until 1925, however.

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Brush-McCoy Cleo Vase (available at 521 Vintage Elements)

So back to Nelson McCoy and his 300 foot tunnel kiln. This kiln allowed them to make more and bigger pieces which included pieces such as Jardinieres and their pedestals, umbrella stands, vases and other pieces for a more affluent customer. With this increase is more art pottery pieces they hired more designers and artisans. However, we haven’t reached the Great Depression era yet. This was during the early to mid 1920s.

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Vintage McCoy Bowl (available at Even Stephen Antiques)

As the Depression loomed McCoy had to scale back slightly. They did a lot of blended glazes and earth tones. Lots of green which seemed to be the most inexpensive. Their motifs during this time were a lot of leaf and berry designs. Made in mass during the 1930s, they were back to functional but attractive.

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McCoy Sprinkler Turtle (available at Amity Leigh’s Vintage)

The Depression took its toll in the 1930s. An alliance of potteries formed in order to stay in business. The co-op was called American Clay Products Company. It included among others the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co., Burley Pottery Co., Crooksville Pottery Co., Muskingum Pottery Co., Star Stoneware Co. and Logan Pottery Co.

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McCoy Green Spinning Wheel Planter (available at RetroRea)

The way it worked was that they had one marketing and sales program that all funneled through the same sales force. At this time these companies all produced many similar products and designs. The Co-op eventually lost its usefulness as the economy picked up and McCoy went on.

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McCoys WWII Sailor Bank (available at 2Numerous)

As a need for sanitary wares decreased in the 1930s the name was eventually changed to Nelson McCoy Pottery Co. Apparently, they didn’t use any marks prior to the 1930s so you just have to know what they made to identify early pieces. Their first mark was a large M superimposed on a small n that was used from 1934 to the late 1930s (Lehner, 1988, p. 287). They had a few marks through the years but not too many.

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McCoy Feather Bowl (available at Jeannerrondeau)

There doesn’t seem to be any particular reason why they were sold when they were doing great; in the 1960s they were known all over the world, with over 300 employees, facility covered over 150,000 square feet. But sold they were to David T. Chase and Chase Enterprises in 1967. They in turn sold it to Lancaster Colony Company (where the LCC mark comes from) in 1974. It was sold again in the 1980s.

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McCoy Coal Kitty Cookie Jar (available at Plethora of Junk)

McCoy is one of the most well-known names in the pottery business. It managed to outlive the Great Depression and other economic downturns. Due to their lack of markings on their pieces, knowing which pieces they made will take some research and just getting to know what you are looking for.

Thanks for sharing your time with me today. Join me at the link parties on the right and have a great week!

 

 

Vernon Kilns’ Deep Roots

Now this is an interesting history! I love these bowls I picked up for the shop a few months ago. Aren’t they pretty?! I love the design.

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Vernon Kilns Hibiscus Lugged Chowder Bowls (available at Vintage Eve’s)

Well, these particular bowls are from a company I had never heard of before I found these. They are by a pottery known as Vernon Kilns, out of Vernon, California. I say the history is interesting because I’m going to back it up to a period just before Vernon Kilns came into existence.

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Vernon Kilns Butter Dish May Flower (available at Coming Around Again)

According to “Collectible Vernon Kilns” by Maxine Feek Nelson, the beginning of the story starts with 2 brothers, Robert and James Furlong. They lived in Ireland and set out to find their fortune in the California Gold Rush in about 1848.

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Vernon Kilns Lei Lani Pitcher & Glasses (available at Mid Century Kind of Mood)

The weird thing is that they set out separately and somehow they managed to find each other in San Francisco a few years later. They actually found gold, unlike some unlucky souls who searched for years and found nothing. They decided to settle in Bakersfield, California, as ranchers and sent for their wives in Ireland.

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Vernon Kilns Plaid Coffee Pot Homespun Line (available at Alveta Vintage Items)

When Robert’s wife, Martha, arrived, they decided to move to Southern California and bought a ranch in Vernon, a town with a population of a few hundred people. It was a pretty good sized ranch where they raised their 4 children, Tom, James, Annie and Judith.

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Vernon Kilns Rockwell Kent Our America Transferware Commemorative Plate (available at Well Picked)

Tom and James became leaders of their community and well into the 20th century kept their hand in the government of Vernon. It was Judith where the Vernon Kilns piece of this gets going. As she grew up and became a teacher, a guy over in England with relatives in the pottery business set out for the States. His name was George J.W.(Wade) Poxon.

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Vernon Kilns Rio Vista Coffee Pot (available at Memories to Restore)

He worked his way through the states once he got here visiting many potteries along the way, especially those in Ohio. Until, lo and behold, he found himself in Vernon and decided to buy the ranch adjacent to the Furlong ranch. There he met, fell in love with and wooed Judith into marriage.

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Vernon Kilns Carafe and Mug Set (available at Quince Cottage Home)

As he settled down into married life, the china company he had started the year before, Poxon China, began taking off. They eventually had 65 people working at Poxon. They started making tile but switched to heavy hotel restaurant ware with the onset of WWI. So what does this have to do with Vernon Kilns? I’m almost there.

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Poxon Bowl (Worthpoint)

Sometime in July of 1931 Poxon China, which had had a good run, was sold to Faye G. Bennison. Vernon, by this time, had become part of Los Angeles, CA. Bennison continued to produce many of the successful lines of the Poxon China Company until an earthquake in 1933 destroyed the molds. This meant they had to develop their own shapes.

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Metlox Poppy Trail Pitcher (available at DK Collectibles)

In the late 1940s they almost closed due to fires but they kept going. They actually did quite well until, in a story we’ve seen many times, a flood of foreign imports sank the company. Vernon Kilns sold out to Metlox in 1958. Metlox continued to use the Vernon Kilns shapes under the Vernonware line until 1989.

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Metlox Vernonware Ovoid Bowls (available at Vintage Pottery)

The Vernon Kilns products were made from clay from Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and England (Oocities.org). Many of their patterns were hand-painted.

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Metlox Poppy Trails Butter Dish (available at This and That 4 You)

So that is the story of Vernon Kilns. It started as one thing and ended as another. It didn’t have a long run, only 27 years. But since Vernon Kilns used Poxon molds and Metlox used Vernon Kilns molds, it can be difficult to tell from the shape which manufacturer you have when you are trying to date something.

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Vernon Kilns Disney Designed Dish or Planter (available at Butterfly Wing Vintage)

Am I the only person who found it amazing that 2 brothers managed to find each other in the Old West during the gold rush?! If it wasn’t for them settling in California and one of them moving to Vernon, this might have had a very different ending.

Join me at the link parties on the right this week! Do you have any Poxon or Vernon Kilns china? Tell me about it. I’d love to hear your story! Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

Fiesta at the Laughlins!

If you’ve written a blog for any length of time, it is hard to keep track of all the things you’ve talked about. Luckily, I can do a search, which is what I did today to make sure I hadn’t covered what I wanted to talk about today. I was honestly surprised to realize I haven’t done a post on Homer Laughlin! It’s one of those companies that has given us some really well-known lines.

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Homer Laughlin Creamer Hotel Ware Line (available at Vintage Eve’s)

I myself have a number of Homer Laughlin pieces in my shop. The piece above and the piece below, both Homer Laughlin.

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Homer Laughlin Ferndale Nautilus Salt & Pepper Shakers (available at Vintage Eve’s)

This company is actually still in business today which is commendable considering they rode out the Great Depression, recession and other economic issues that have taken down any number of great pottery houses. They began in 1871 on the banks of the Ohio River in Liverpool, Ohio. A lot of potteries started in Ohio during the turn of twentieth century.

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Homer Laughlin Art Pottery circa 1910 (available at Wild Crockophile)

According to the Homer Laughlin website, the Laughlin Brothers, Homer and Shakespeare, wanted to make quality china at a fair price. They started out making yellow ware and stoneware. In 1873, the town of East Liverpool kicked in $5,000 (a lot of money in those days!) to build a “white ware plant which was still to be known as the Laughlin Brothers.” (Lehner, 1988, p. 245).

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Homer Laughlin Kwaker Rosewood 4 Piece Set circa 1920 (available at Lindsay Jane’s Cottage)

By 1903 they had outgrown their factory and expanded to Newell Farm in West Virginia which was just across the Ohio River. They also began the framework for what was to become the town of Newell. So definitely an important company to that area of West Virginia!

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Homer Laughlin Riviera Sugar and Creamer circa 1930 (available at Antiques by Granny)

They landed some government contracts supplying hotelware known as “double thick” in both WWI and WWII. In 1949 they started to produce hotelware full time. This includes products for the restaurant and food service business. That market is still a large part of their business today. Their Best China, a vitrified china product, puts them in the top 3 leaders in this field (Lehner, 1988, p. 245).

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Homer Laughlin Best China Dishes (available at Mud in the USA)

They continued to expand through the 1930s when in 1936 they introduced a line of china that became a huge success. Any guesses? Fiesta!! Yes Homer Laughlin is the maker of Fiesta ware. Fiesta was made in a bold range of colors with some really unique designs. Fiesta has many collectors that seek out the vintage pieces. It was discontinued in 1973 but then reintroduced in 1986. The colors are slightly different on the new pieces so it can be difficult to determine old and new but the marking will be different. Check out this section on Laurel Hollow Park on identifying them.

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Vintage Homer Laughlin Fiestaware (available at The Freckled Berry)

Interesting fact…from 1943 to 1959 the most popular Fiesta color, Fiesta Red, was not produced due to government control of the depleted uranium that went into making the color. During the 40s and 50s the color choices of Fiesta were forest green, chartreuse, grey and rose.

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Homer Laughlin Fiesta Red Pitcher (available at Molto Belle)

Apparently Fiesta Red was a complicated color to produce because when most of the original technicians who worked on producing the color retired by 1972, the new manufacturing processes could not reproduce the color and they decided, rather than make an inferior product, they would stop producing it. By 1973 all Fiesta production ceased.

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Homer Laughlin Kitchen Kraft Covered Casserole Dish (available at Blue Plate Special 2005)

There are A LOT of different backstamps identifying Homer Laughlin. Check out Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay for a comprehensive list. Some of their lines include Sunrise, Zylco, Kenmark, Royal, Priscilla, Swing and many, many more.

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Homer Laughlin Harlequin Nut Bowls (available at Coleblk)

Homer Laughlin China has innovated over the years becoming a multi-generational employer. They worked hard to introduce some green production, and actually have always produced and manufactured what they sell. I loved learning their story and sharing it with you. Hats off to one of the remaining great American potteries!

I will be partying at the blogs to the right all week, please join me if you have some time. Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

Hall of Fame

Hall China Company. I see so many pieces with the Hall or Hall’s mark and for good reason; they have been in business since August 14, 1903! And they are still in business! There are so few companies that have lasted that long that they deserve a little fame.

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Hall’s Superior Quality Bowl (available at Vintage Eve’s)

Hall China Company is one of those companies that came out of Ohio. They were started at East Fourth and Walnut Streets in East Liverpool, Ohio. According to one of my favorite sources, “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner, the company was founded by Robert Hall and his son, Robert T. Hall. Unfortunately, the elder Hall died in 1904!

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Hall’s Superior Quality Decorated Teapot circa 1940s (available at Buy The Lake Vintage)

Originally the company made whiteware from 1905 to 1911. This helped get the company off the ground. Robert T. Hall wanted more for the company, though. He had an idea that proved to be the product that made the company stand out above the rest. He developed a new glaze that was “single fire, non-lead, hard, non-porous and craze proof” (Lehner, 1988, p. 187). They called this their “Secret Process.”

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Hall China Co. Hotpoint Refrigerator Pitcher circa 1930s (available at Lovettsville)

From this point in 1914, they began to grow and expand quite a lot. They got into cookware such as casseroles, teapots and coffee urn liners (for industrial uses). In 1919 they bought the Goodwin Pottery Plant to make decorated teapots. They were soon the leader in teapots. In 1920 Robert T. Hall passed away and Malcolm W. Thompson took over.

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Hall Super-Ceram Graduated Set (available at Abundancy)
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Hall Super-Ceram Mark (available at Abundancy)

They continued to grow acquiring other plants until in 1930 they abandoned all the other buildings and moved into a large facility which they added to 8 times over the years. It is the facility they still use and encompasses 12 acres!

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Hall’s China Co. Covered Casserole (available at Ric’s Relics)

As time marched on, their lines grew. There is Hall Fireproof China which covers casseroles and other baking dishes, teapots, coffee pots, serving dishes and storage dishes. Many of these pieces have been produced for the industrial/restaurant sectors. Hall’s Superior Quality, like the piece at the top of this post, was available through stamp stores and large merchandising centers.

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Hall’s Flare-Ware Teapot (available at Lilly’s Vintage Cupboard)
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Hall China Flare Ware Mark (available at Lilly’s Vintage Cupboard)

Super-Ceram is their’s, too. It’s a tough, white ceramic. There are over 100 marks associated with Hall China Co. They help to identify them as made for the railroads, airlines, restaurants and stores like Montgomery Wards, Sears and Roebuck and the Jewell Tea Company. At one point they even had a partnership with Longaberger Baskets. They are now joined with Homer Laughlin China under the HLC Inc. umbrella.

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Hall Covered Refrigerator Dish for Montgomery Ward (available at Classy Vintage Glass)
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Hall China Co. Mark for Montgomery Ward & Co. (available at Classy Vintage Glass)

As you can see, Hall China Co. knew how to stay in business. They diversified and managed to make a good product which they moved through many different venues. If you can get your hands on Lehner’s book, she has an extensive number of marks for identifying years of manufacture. I don’t receive any monetary compensation for recommending her book, it’s just a great resource.

If you have any stories of a favorite Hall China piece, leave me a comment. I love hearing from everyone! Please join me at the link parties on the right and have a great week!

 

 

 

Napco Time!

Look at this adorable little cat figurine I unearthed the other day for the shop!

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Napco Kitty circa 1960s (available at Vintage Eve’s)

Look at that happy face! The kitty has lost its original foil sticker but has some numbers on the bottom that helped identify it as a piece of Napco pottery. Napco has been around for awhile. According to my favorite source for ceramic and pottery, “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner, they started in 1938.

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Napco Deer Salt Shaker (available at The Laden Branch)

Their whole name is National Potteries Corporation and they were located in Bedford, OH. They were actually distributors of pottery and glass. They manufactured only a few pieces themselves. Mainly they imported and distributed.

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Napco Rooster Sugar Bowl (available at Max and Maddie Vintage)

The original founders of Napco were Irwin Garber, a guy named Payner, and David Rein. Garber eventually left to start his own company, Inarco (which you may have heard of) in the 1960s. At first Napco manufactured planters and utilitarian items.

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Napco August Birthday Girl (available at Paula D Jewelry)

They eventually moved to importing from their Asian factories in Seto and Nagoya, Japan. From these factories came those famous lady-head vases, figurines like mine above, and other decorative items.

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Napco March Angel (available at Old World Country)

During the early 1980s they moved from Ohio to Florida to be closer to a new distribution facility and ocean ports. I do not believe they are still in business from what I am able to see. It seems as if their last annual report came from 1989. In 1990 they filed for admin dissolution, which says to me that they closed.

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Napco Lady Head Vase (available at Fem By Design)

Napco was a prolific distributor during the 20th century. They, along with Lefton, gave us some of our favorite knick knacks, kitschkies, and collectibles. If you have a story about one of your favorite Napco pieces, let me know. I love to hear your stories! Also, join me at the link parties listed on the right this week.

Here’s to a Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

Mid Mod Meet Buenilum

Buenilum. If you can say that 10 times fast you should get an award! It does not exactly trip off the tongue. It is, however, an important name from the last century. As I am always on the look out for cool vintage pieces for the shop, hammered aluminum with that mid-century vibe catches my eye. Over the last year I’ve picked up this piece …

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Buenilum Covered Dish (available at Vintage Eve’s)

And this one, too…

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Buenilum Hammered Aluminum and Wood Covered Casserole Holder (available at Vintage Eve’s)

Buenilum is a brand name of the Buehner-Wanner Company. It was produced from the 1930s through the 1960s when the the company was sold to Pfaltzgraff in 1969.

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Buenilum Aqua and Aluminium Chafing Dish (available at Gazaboo)

One of the owners, Frederick Buehner, was a craftsman from Germany. He had studied at the Deutscher Werkbund which was an association of artists, craftsmen, architects and industrial designers. The other owner was Franz Wanner. The castle that is featured in their BW logo represents Buehner’s home town of Lindach and came into use around 1945.

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Buenilum Leaf Dishes (available at GRITSGirlz)

The name “Buenilum” was a smash-up of Fredereick’s last name and aluminum. It wasn’t a new formulation for aluminum but a brand name for the BW Company. Many of these pieces have Pyrex liners so there has to be some connection there.

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Buenilum Bowl (available at Fourth Estate Sale)

The company started in New York in an office near the 59th Street Bridge but eventually moved to Norwalk, Connecticut where they stayed until they closed for good in 1973.

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Buenilum Ice Bucket with Tongs (available at Night Shift Vintage)

 

There is not a lot of information on this company. I needed to use multiple sources to put this post together; each with just a little bit of info. I did want to highlight this company though, because a lot of their pieces epitomize the mid-century modern aesthetic. The hammered aluminum mixed with teak and other woods is, in my book, beautiful.

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Buenilum and Corning Carafe (available at Vintaretto)

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any memories of Buenilum at your table growing up, please share! I will be on the link-parties to the right this week; if you have a second, check them out. Have a great week!