A Federal Case

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.

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Federal Glass Depression Glass in Sharon Pattern (available at Vintage Eve’s)

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.

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Federal Glass “Jack Frost” Tumbler (available at Straits Antiques)

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.

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Federal Glass Salt and Pepper Madrid Pattern (available at MilkWhite)

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.

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Sugar in Peacock Feather (available at Cherished Tidbits)

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.

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Covered Candy Dish in Diana Pattern by Federal Glass (available at Lubie’s Vintage Finds)

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).

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Federal Glass Refrigerator Dishes (available at Viewridge Vintage)

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.”

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Federal Glass Horse-Head Book Ends (available at Red River Antiques)

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.

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Federal Glass Petal Serving Dish with Holder and Spoon (available at Grandes Treasures)

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.

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Federal Glass Covered Casserole Dishes Sunflower Pattern (available at Elementree Old Skool)

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.

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Federal Glass Patio Snack Set (available at Ruby Blue Lane)

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.

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Federal Glass Sugar and Creamer in Normandie Pattern Amber (available at CrochetNCollectibles)

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!

 

Danish Modern

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.

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Lundtofte Danish Modern Pans (available at Vintage Eve’s)

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?

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Chair by Kaare Klint circa 1930s (available at MidCenturyMobler)

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.

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Fritz Hansen Tray Table (available at Hearthside Home)

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.

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Danish Modern Teak Candle Holder (available at The Groove Vintage)

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.

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Arne Jacobsen Ant Chair (available at Xcape Vintage)

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.

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Original Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair (available at Retro Appeal)

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.

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Danish Modern Condiment Set circa 1960s (available at Little Cows)

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.

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Georg Jensen Stainless Blue Shark Dinner Forks (available at Luola)

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!

 

 

 

 

Kitties and Pixies

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 …

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Holt Howard Cozy Cats S&P

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.

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Cocktail Mice by Holt Howard circa 1960s (available at The Log Chateau)

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.

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1958 Holt Howard Christmas Planter (available at Vintage Quality Finds)

 

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Double Taper Holder Holt Howard (available at Burst of Bambino)

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.

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Holt Howard Merry Whiskers (available at The Pokey Poodle)

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.

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Holt Howard Pixieware Jam’n Jelly Jars with Spoons (available at House of Alexie)

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!).

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Rare Liquor Decanter (available at My Daughters Matter)
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Rare Chili Sauce Pixieware by Holt Howard (available at My Daughters Matter)

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.

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Holt Howard Cozy Kitten Cottage Cheese Container (available at Paul’s Retro Lounge)

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.

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Holt Howard Rooster S&P (available at So Fresh So Vintage)

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.

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Holt Howard Trivet in Coq Rouge Pattern (available at Rediscovered Retro)

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.

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Holt Howard Instant Coffee Jar (available at Mary’s Business)

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!

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!