As I add things to my shop I find it is getting easier to name the makers of different patterns. I still have to research a lot of my pieces, but as I’m looking through the thrift stores for vintage treasures, I can hear my mind cataloging patterns and the companies that made them
One of those companies which created a number of well-loved and collectible patterns is Taylor, Smith & Taylor. If you try to pinpoint a pattern, be prepared to sift through hundreds of them; they were very prolific.
Taylor, Smith & Taylor began in business around 1899 in West Virginia. According to Laurel Hollow Park, two brothers, William and Charles Smith who lived in Chester, West Virgina were 2 of the founders. William owned a large lumber yard and was part of the Chester land trust and the East Liverpool Bridge Company. What does that have to do with pottery, you ask? We are almost there, I promise. In 1895 a suspension bridge was started which was to cross the Ohio River. It was opened to the public in 1897.
There was already a pottery, the Edwin M. Knowles China Company, and some smaller plants in Chester but the brothers felt there was room for another.
Now that the bridge was open, there was more business traffic available and more workers and artists for the plant to employ. It started its life as Taylor, Lee & Smith pottery until Lee pulled out in early 1901 and the name was changed to Taylor, Smith and Taylor (TS&T).
At its height TS&T employed around 500 people. Laurel Hollow Park states that TS&T made dinnerware, hotel ware, toilet sets and specialty pieces.
The toilet sets and specialty pieces (spittoons, cracker jars that type of thing) were discontinued in the early part of the century. After that they really stepped up their semi-vitreous dinnerware production which they sold in department, five-and-dimes, hardware stores and in catalogs.
One of their more famous lines was Lu-Ray Pastels. These were produced from 1938 through 1961. They were very popular and made to compete with Fiesta Ware which was very brightly colored and made by the Homer Laughlin China Company of Newell, West Virginia. The Lu-Ray Pastels line did well.
Taylor, Smith & Taylor pieces were a staple in many households during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. They were bought by Anchor Hocking in 1972 and continued to produce dinnerware until they closed in 1981. The plant was demolished in 2012.
For excellent information on the Taylor, Smith & Taylor Company please visit the two links in this post by the Laurel Hollow Park website. This was one of the only websites that had any good historical information on this company.
I hope you have had fun tip-toeing through the history of this iconic company. It’s amazing how many companies through the years created memories of a homey kitchen and family dinners. If you liked this post, leave me a message or stop by my Etsy shop and take a look at some of my vintage treasures. Have a great week!