The other day in my travels, I ran across a pattern I hadn’t seen before. I was familiar with Homer Laughlin china, which I’ve actually posted about before and is archived here on the Vintage Eve’s blog. I had never seen this pattern, though. It was in their DuraPrint line. Also, new to me, as I hadn’t picked up any pieces in that line before.
So this gorgeous pattern is called Star-Brite. If you look it up on Replacements, they list it as HLC1850 (HLC=Homer Laughlin China). It is so iconically 1950s with the black and aqua color scheme, and the atomic stars! I love it. I found two serving pieces and four dinner plates which have all since been listed in the Vintage Eve’s shop on Etsy.
DuraPrint was a rather interesting process. According to laurelhollowpark.com, DuraPrint was a design process in the 1950s where a bladder was filled with air, and the design was basically smooshed on to a piece as the bladder was inflated. The paint was forced through holes in a thin metal plate that was attached to the bladder, which then “stamped” the piece that was being decorated (Robbinsnest). I think it lead to a number of flaws, however, as the pieces I saw had some smears and missing spots. But they were not kidding about the name.
Those pieces that I put in the shop are just as bright as if they were done yesterday. After the design was put on, a clear glaze went on top. Because the design was under the glaze, they stayed looking new. Interestingly, this process only worked on the flatter pieces. Sugar bowls, creamers, etc., were one solid color with no design because they were too round to work with the DuraPrint process.
So that’s DuraPrint. I hope you enjoyed this short look at an old process. I do love old china and dishware, especially the bowls — you know I do! Have a great week everyone!
I am always on the hunt for pieces to put in the Vintage Eve’s shop. It is rare that at least one day a week, usually Saturday, isn’t somewhat devoted to scouring thrift stores and estate sales for treasures. As you have probably noticed, I’m super drawn to mid-century modern. I love the lines and the mix of mediums used to create the look. One particular designer I’ve managed to collect a few pieces of is Georges Briard. I found another piece of his recently at the estate sale I referenced last week. I already have another one of his pieces for sale in the store. These are the two pieces.
You can tell they are his because, well, they are signed, but also just because they look like his style as you get to know it. I was surprised to find out that Georges Briard is not his real name. His real name is Jakub Brojdo. According to Collectors Weekly he was born the Ukraine and raised in Poland.
He came to the U.S. in 1937 to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. He did earn a Masters in Fine Art. He also changed his first name at that time to Jascha (Yascha) although I am not sure why. If anyone out there knows, please leave me a comment!
He served in the U.S. Army in WWII after which he moved to New York. Collectors Weekly says that he started painting metal serving trays and signing them Brojdo. So be on the lookout for those, they are quite a find! Because it wasn’t long after that his friend Max Wille hired him to create designs for him at the M. Wille Company. It was Max that thought up the name Georges Briard to mark his commercial pieces. His “last name came as an inspiration at a dog show, the first was added to give continental flair” (Antique Trader).
The reason for the name change is that it left his real name free for his real artwork. Georges Briard designs really caught on through the 1950s to the 1970s. He became an award-winning designer with his pieces selling in high-end department stores; Nieman Marcus, Bonwit Teller and others.
He worked with many different glass companies, too. According to Antique Trader, he worked with Libbey and Anchor Hocking, upgrading items that would usually sell at the five and dime to then be pieces sold in Bloomingdale’s and other upscale retailers.
Some items that you can find with his designs are enameled cookware, wooden cheeseboards with tile inserts, bisque pieces, dinnerware and lamps. His designs can also be found on melamine dinnerware by Stetson.
Brodjo received the Frank S. Child Lifetime Achievement Award given by The Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators in 2004 to celebrate his contribution to the glass and ceramic industry. He died in New York in 2005 at the age of 88. He left a great legacy behind.
That is the story of how Jakub Brodjo came to America and left his indelible mark on it as Georges Briard. It’s amazing what one can accomplish in a lifetime. I know that I love his pieces and their stylish mid-century modern aesthetic. I hope you have enjoyed reading about him and let me know if you have ever loved or found one of his pieces. Have a great week!
I will be partying this week at all the link parties on the right — check them out; all wonderful blogs!
This weekend I found an estate sale around the corner from me. It was next door actually to one I had been to a few months back. I love going through those old houses; they have some really cool bones. This one had some unique features, too. There was a nice built in cabinet with sliding doors in the pantry. There wasn’t much left by the time I got there but there were some nice pieces. I found this neat covered aluminum buffet dish with a Pyrex divided dish inside.
Also hidden in that sweet little cabinet were these egg coddlers. I have a set like them of my own except mine are Royal Worcester. I got these to sell at the Vintage Eve’s shop. They are Wedgwood and have the Wild Strawberry pattern on them from the mid-1960s. Aren’t they pretty! And useful!
I like stuff that is useful and these are very useful. Egg Coddlers, near as anyone can tell were invented sometime around the end of the 1800s. The first time anyone seems to have seen these is when they were produced by Grainger China Works in the 1880s for Royal Worcester (Museum of Royal Worcester).
Apparently, the first ones were made of earthenware and fired at a very high temperature. They had a flat cover, without the lifting ring that we are used to seeing on the coddlers and were plain white or simply decorated.
According to the Museum of Royal Worcester, from about 1910 to 1928 these were listed in the Royal Worcester factory ledgers as “Premier Egg Cups.” They have a patent number of 561564. Their two most popular patterns were Worcester Willow and Pekin.
On the Museum of Royal Worcester website there is a useful list of marks to help date the Royal Worcester coddlers. Wedgwood coddlers have a different look than the Royal Worcester line. They have a smaller pedestal than the Royal Worcester and they have a more convex shape. Egg-Coddlers.com says that Wedgwood coddlers have a very distinctive lip that sticks out a few millimeters from the body. You can see that lip below.
The rings on the Wedgwoods are different, too. They have a thicker, flat piece of metal on the top where the Royal Worcester coddlers have more of a thin lifter ring. The Wedgwood ones also come in two sizes known as single and double. The double is 4 1/2″ tall and 2 7/8″ in diameter (Egg-Coddlers.com).
Max Roesler or Rosler was another company that made egg coddlers. Their’s were porcelain with a flat porcelain lid that screwed on.
So what do we do with coddlers? We make coddled eggs! Butter the inside of the coddler, crack an egg into the coddler, screw on the lid and put it in water up to where the lid is screwed on. Boil it for about 5 minutes and you will have a nice soft boiled egg. You can add all kinds of things before you close the lid, bacon, cream, chives, salt, pepper and more. There’s lots of recipes out there.
Well, I hope you have learned a little about the egg coddler. They are unique little items. As always, I will be partying at the links on the right this week — take a second and check them out. Have a wonderful week!
If you’ve lived in the last century, you’ve probably used or collected something from Avon. I remember years ago when my mom sold it in the 1970s. She doesn’t sell it anymore, but it helped her get out as a young mother and meet other women while making some money. In my shop, I have this Avon pheasant below.
I seem to remember one just like this sitting on my dad’s dresser when I was growing up. Avon’s history is an interesting one. The Avon digital history archive is housed at the Hagley Library in Greenville, Delaware USA. According to the website, Avon is one of the earliest direct selling companies in America.
What their archives say is that it began in 1886. I don’t know about you, but I always thought it was started by a woman. I think I got that from the makeup and skincare all being geared toward women. But it was started by a man named David H. McConnell.
AvonCompany website says that McConnell was a partner in a book company, the Union Publishing Company, and he would sell perfumes with the books he sold. He realized after awhile that the women he sold to were way more interested in his perfume samples than his books. The samples were his own concoction that he started giving away to get his foot in the door.
The other thing he realized was that women were struggling to survive in an economy that did not allow them to work at anything more than domestic or manufacturing work. But he took a bet that many of them could sell.
In the beginning, the company was called the California Perfume Company. His first recruit was a woman from my home state of New Hampshire! Mrs. P.F.E. Albee had sold books for him while he was with Union Publishing so he knew she could sell. She helped him realize that the women didn’t have to travel to sell, either. They could sell to their own communities. The AvonCompany website goes on to say that McConnell also worked hard to give the company a family feel which in turn caused the ranks of representatives to grow to 5,000 in just 13 years.
Apparently, he was a good employer, too! He motivated his troops by providing a way for women to achieve financial independence in the way he structured the company. He had employee incentives and gave back to the communities Avon served. Their products were high quality and had a guarantee of satisfaction. They began their 3-week “campaigns” in 1932.
The Avon name came from Shakespeare’s home at Stratford-On-Avon. McConnell had visited and he noted how alike it was to his own home in New York. He created an Avon line within the California Perfume Company which consisted of a “toothbrush, cleanser, and vanity set” (Encyclopedia.com). When David McConnell, Jr. graduated from Princeton, he took over as Vice President of the company. His father died in 1937 and 2 years later, David, Jr. officially changed the name of the company to Avon. They are now a billion dollar company.
It’s had it’s ups and downs, but it is still around and in nearly 143 countries having broken into the European market in 1957 in the United Kingdom. Through the Depression of the 1930s, Recession in the 70’s, and other changes, Avon has continued to offer women the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.
I hope you learned a bit about an old American company that seems to have touched so many lives. I know I did. Do you have any memories of Avon? Let me know, I love hearing from all of you! I’ll be partying at the link parties on the right this week. Have a great week!
One of those things that I find from time to time when looking for vintage pieces to put in my shop is Bakelite. It’s pretty and comes is more forms than you would believe. It is one of the original plastics, but also a force unto itself. It is collected and loved by lots of people. I did happen to come across some in the form of a cheese spreader. This is called Butterscotch Bakelite (for the color).
In order to list it in the shop as Bakelite, I had to figure out how to test it without ruining it. One way, the way I used, is to warm it up under hot (not boiling) water. It gives off a particular smell. Some say it’s “acrid” or smells like “camphor” or “formeldehyde” I’m not sure if I would describe it as acrid, but it does have a particular smell when warmed.
Another way I’ve heard about to identify Bakelite (without destroying it) is to spray 409 cleaner – it has to be 409 (not another cleaner)- on a cotton swab. When you swipe it across real Bakelite, the cotton swab turns yellow. Just make sure the item is clean and the yellow isn’t dirt! Also be sure to wash the item off after this test so the cleaner doesn’t stay on the plastic.
Bakelite is a polymer. According to ASC.org, plastic comes from the Greek word plastikos meaning moldable. Plastics are in a chemical class called “polymers.” You can check out ASC.org for more of the real technical chemical makeup.
Bakelite itself was created by Leo Baekeland while looking into the properties of mixed chemicals for a moldable resin. He discovered what was to become Bakelite in 1907. It was used mostly as electric insulators because one of its properties is that it was moldable until it cured and then it kept its shape even when warmed. ASC.org actually has excerpts from his scientific notebook from the day he discovered it! How cool is that?!
By 1930, they had a 128-acre facility in New Jersey. Bakelite has the ability to be molded quickly. And as I said, holds its shape when heated, making it a thermosetting resin. Because of this property, it was really useful in the automobile business. They made bases and sockets for light bulbs, distributor caps, insulators and more (ASC.org).
This is about the time they started making jewelry and other things with it. Telephones, handles for things, radios and more. The stuff had thousands of uses! Their slogan was literally “The Material of a Thousand Uses” with the infinity sign ∞.
Collectors Weekly says that costume jewelry manufacturers liked it because it was “hard enough to be cut and polished” which lent itself to making all kinds of things. The colors had names like Butterscotch (like my piece), Egg Yolk, Mississippi Mud. There are translucent pieces which are harder to find. These are Lime Jell-O, Root Beer and Cherry Juice.
They were also able to laminate colors to each other. One Art Deco treatment was to take Ebony Bakelite and combine it with rhinestones or inlaid silver. This was to imitate jet pieces from the Victorian Era (Collectors Weekly). Bracelets were really the popular item for Bakelite. The most collectible being the Philadelphia bracelets (from an auction in 1985).
So why did they stop producing Bakelite? There is a downside of Bakelite and that is it’s brittle until infused with other fillers which makes it super tough. Many times they infused it with cellulose in the form of sawdust. The problem with this is that when they tried to color it the colors were often dull and opaque.
The actual resin is amber in color but not everyone wants amber. That is why it was eventually replaced by newer plastics that had the same moldable properties but would take color better. Ah, fashion spelled the end of Bakelite. But I have to say, it was Bakelite that really paved the way for the new age of plastics as we know it now.
Are you one of those people that love Bakelite? Have a small (or large) stash? Tell me about it! I love to hear from you. And, as always, find me partying at the link parties listed on the right. Have a great week!
This week’s post is about something that is near and dear to my heart. One of my absolute favorite movements in design has always been Mid-Century Modern. We hear it and see it when we go looking for our vintage treasures and we know it when we see it. But what is Mid-Century Modern? Where did it start? Who gave it that name? It obviously wasn’t called that as people were creating the iconic pieces that defined the movement (can I get an “Eames!”) But just like Art Deco, it was coined Mid-Century Modern somewhere along the way. Just look at all this MCM goodness I’ve added to the store recently!
I am totally drawn to MCM, myself. I love the lines, the sculptured form balanced with the usefulness of the design. It makes me think of the 1960s, a house of windows high in the Hollywood hills. Wood, metal, and popping color. Sunken living rooms. Original “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” kind of stuff. That particular show makes me think of guys in turtle necks, hanging out in their Danish Modern apartments.
So who did coin the “Mid-Century Modern” name? According to Curbed.com, a woman by the name of Cara Greenberg used the term first as the title of her book “Midcentury Modern: Furniture of the 1950s” published in 1984. She made it up and it stuck. The term was adopted quickly and came to embody an aesthetic that ranged from the “mid-1940s to the mid-1960s” (CollectorsWeekly).
Collectors Weekly says that MCM is frequently associated with Eichler tract homes that popped up during the 1950s in California. Eichler says he was inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright house that he lived in briefly. Glass walls, open floor plans, varied heights to give dimension (think half-walls and sunken living rooms). Who knew I could mention sunken living rooms twice in one post! Let’s face it, I just think they’re cool.
The MCM aesthetic came out of the U.S., Britain, Japan and of course Scandinavia. From the U.S. we had Eames whose chairs, created in the 1940s and 1950s are highly collectible. They were made from wood, fiberglass, and metal. His designs were really new and unique in design and technology. His molded chairs were very different from what had been designed before.
Herman Miller was another name in furniture. With architect George Nelson designing for the Herman Miller Company from 1945 until the 1980s, Herman Miller produced some of the most iconic MCM furniture that is synonymous with what we think of when we think mid-century modern (CollectorsWeekly).
In other countries the aesthetic was alive and well. In England, Robin Day was creating convertible beds, tables and chairs. In Scandinavia Børge Mogensen was designing his Sleigh Chair and Arne Jacobsen was designing his Swan Chair.
Furniture was not the only thing being created during this time. CollectorsWeekly says that clocks were a big thing during this time. Sunbursts, asterisks and more were being designed. Lighting was also taking on a completely different look.
Lights that were made from steel and plastic, designed to be hung from the ceiling became popular as did pole-tension lamps that added light to corners of the room. As CollectorsWeekly says, this was really the last time in history that “design drove the look and feel of popular culture” instead of the other way around.
The key elements of mid-century modern architecture are flat planes, large windows, changes in elevation, and integration with nature. Those large windows inviting you to bring the outdoors in from multiple vantage points (hgtv.com).
Mid-century modern is even more collectible today than ever. These designs are either loved or hated by people with very little middle ground. Collectors look for really unique pieces, which can definitely be found as this was such a breakout time period. Love it or hate it, it’s definitely found its part in history.
That was fun! I really enjoy finding out about the things I love. What do you think about mid-century modern? Love it? Loathe it? Have a house designed around it? Leave a comment! I love hearing from all of you!
As always, I will be partying with all my friends at the link parties noted on the right. Have a great week!
I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I started this blog! I started it in October of 2015. Posting once a week, I have posted 44 articles talking about different companies and types of vintage collectibles. Each week I think “What am I going to write about this week?” and then something interesting pops up! There are so many neat collectibles to discover that there always seems to be something to investigate. This week it is the Edwin M. Knowles company (read a little further and find out why I got really excited this week).
See this item above? It totally attracted me during one of my jaunts. I love the orange and white poppies with the yellow edging. The raised flourishes are really pretty, too. It is a cake plate, you can tell by the 2 tab-handles on the side. Well, as I was on Replacements.com which is a huge database of patterns, looking for the name of the pattern on the cake plate, sifting through page after page of Knowles patterns, lo and behold I found a pattern I had given up ever finding the name to! The one below.
I had purchased these plates awhile back for the Vintage Eve’s shop and because they are not marked, could not find the pattern. And, trust me, I looked! I asked around … no one knew. Turns out it is an Edwin M. Knowles and it’s called Coral Pine. Finally! A name! I don’t know if you share my pain here, but it drives me crazy when I can’t identify a pattern!
So where did the Knowles Company originate? Who were they? Let’s find out! I went to my trusty pottery book to find out some good information. I’ve referenced this book before and probably will again, “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner. The link will take you to Amazon if you want to purchase your own from any number of sellers which is where I got mine.
So she says that Edwin M. Knowles Company was in business from 1900 to 1963. A pretty good run compared to others like Ohme who was only in business for about 30 years. The business was started in 1900 and a major plant opened in 1913. It was located in Chester, Virginia. This plant became one of the “most modern and best equipped plants in the industry” (Lehner, 1988, p. 237).
They also had a factory from 1913 to 1963 in Newell, W. Virginia. This factory became the one factory when they sold the Chester plant to Harker Pottery in 1931. There was another company that began earlier than Edwin’s company; Knowles, Taylor, Knowles out of Ohio but don’t confuse them because they are 2 separate companies. There was also another company called Knowles, Homer, Pottery Company. This company was connected to Knowles, Taylor, Knowles but NOT the Edwin M. Knowles Company.
Another blog that talks about this company, RobbinsNest.com has more information than I had in the book. She says that Edwin was the son of the original founder of Knowles, Taylor, Knowles. He must have branched out on his own. He definitely found his own way as he was in business throughout the Depression when his father’s company did not make it.
Edwin’s company in fact grew. The Edwin M. Knowles Company became known for making the finest semi-vitreous ware in the industry. According to RobbinsNest.com, two of their more popular designs were Yorktown (very art deco) and Potomac (simple shape in 7 colors).
The company continued after Edwin’s death in 1943, passing to Frederick Blackmore Lawrence and then William A. Harris, Jr. into the 1960s. The company finally closed it’s doors in 1962 due in large part to cheap imports. This happened to a large number of U.S. potteries during that time like Spaulding, Purinton, and others. Another company bought the rights to the Knowles name and produced some plates during the 1980s and 1990s but it was not the original Edwin M. Knowles Company.
So that is the story of the Edwin M. Knowles Company. I find this stuff fascinating, how they are all interconnected. For a look at the different backstamps this company used and to research year of production, check out My Granny’s Attic Antiques (another great resource).
I hope you have a great week! Join me this week at the link parties listed on the right. And be sure to follow me by email or on BlogLovin’ where you can keep all your blogs together in one spot.
Is there an Ekco in your kitchen? I know there is in mine! This classic company has made so many different kitchen and household gadgets, I’m sure I haven’t seen them all. They are actually a cool company. Here’s one Ekco gadget that I use all the time!
The one above is one that is for sale in my shop but I have one of my own that is my go-to-gadget for slicing tomatoes. Such a simple thing, but it works much better than me trying to slice the tomatoes evenly by hand and it works in seconds. Perfect tomatoes for sandwiches and burgers.
So what’s the story on Ekco? Well, the name has the initials for the founder, Edward Katzinger and it’s his Company. According to an awesome book I’ve referenced before “Spiffy Kitchen Collectibles” by Brian Alexander, Edward Katzinger was a tinsmith by trade. He immigrated here in the 1880s and settled in Chicago.
He decided to set up a shop making tin pans for the baking industry. That is what he focused on and he did it well. His company flourished.
In 1916, Alexander says that Edward’s son, Arthur joined the company. They began to expand in the 1920s, which I would think would have been tricky because of the impending crash that they didn’t realize was coming. But they persevered. They acquired another company during the 20s and became a leader in the tin pan business.
In the 1930s they acquired the A&J Company and began producing utensils and gadgets. Arthur took over in 1939 after the death of his father and changed his name from Katzinger to Keating.
An article at “FundingUniverse.com” goes into the different acquisitions that Ekco made over the next 35 years and chronicles their growth. FundingUniverse states that the company went public in the early 1940s and began acquiring even more companies.
Arthur continued to run the company through the 50s and 60s. During that time they really expanded the different types of items they made. There were items for the kitchen, the mudroom (shoetrees), bathroom, and more.
American Home Products acquired Ekco in 1965 with Arthur Keating passing in 1967. From here it gets kind of difficult to follow. FundingUniverse.com goes into all the hands that exchanged this company through the 1990s, and there were quite a few.
Ekco was eventually part of Ekco Group, Inc. which was based in my home state of New Hampshire. Eventually Ekco Group, Inc. was acquired by WKI Holding Company out of Rosemont, Illinois. Ekco still puts out items including their Baker’s Secret line of bakeware.
Even though they are still making products, their vintage stuff is very collectible. They used to make items in red, yellow, turquoise, pink and black. No surprise here, red is the color collectors look for the most (me included!). Black is collected the least.
Do you have a memory of an Ekco kitchen gadget from your childhood? Tell me about it! I love hearing from all of you! I hope this has given you some good information about a company that was started by a young entrepreneur who came to America to find his dream and grew that dream into a house-hold name.
I wish you all a great week! Remember to party with me this week at the awesome link parties listed on the right.
Last weekend I headed out to an estate sale two towns over from me. I had to map it out so I had some idea of where I was going because it was out in the boondocks – down at least 3 or 4 back roads. These roads were not heavily traveled I realized as I had to stop for some beautiful chickens crossing the narrow, curvy road. I love chickens by the way; their colors and attitude plus their wide diversity in looks. I like to collect things with chickens and roosters. Here’s my egg basket that I love
And here is a picture and a salt shaker I picked up at the thrift store (not Lefton, just loved! I’m getting to the Lefton!)
So I enjoyed watching the chickens cross the road, literally, and was back on my way to this estate sale. When I turned down the final street there were cars lined up and down the grass edge. When I went inside the house, however, the place was so big, I felt like there were only a few people in the house. It was the second day of the sale, so there were not a ton of things left, but I prefer the second day for the deals!
One of the deals I got was this tidbit tray above. I purchased it to put in the Vintage Eve’s shop as it is definitely vintage and I loved the colors. I like to sell stuff that I like myself. Sometimes it’s hard for me to part with them! The colors on this piece are really rich and I love the brass handle. This is what is known as a “tidbit” tray for serving those small items; you know cheese cubes, meat cubes, olives etc.
The company that put out the tidbit tray is Lefton China. As long as I’ve been collecting vintage, I’ve heard of and seen Lefton but had no idea where they started. I once had a great Miss Priss teapot in the shop by the same company. Mine sold but this is what it looked like below. There are other pieces in this line out there, too. It’s one of the lines that Lefton collectors look for.
According to Collector’s Weekly, Lefton China was started in 1941 by a Hungarian sportswear designer named George Zoltan Lefton. He was an importer of items made in post-war Japan. Lefton is known for imported head vases, figurines, and kitchen wares.
All my research says that it is hard to date Lefton because they used their marks for long periods of time and the stickers overlapped timeframes. There are a few time signatures such as if the sticker says “Occupied Japan” you know it was made between 1945 and 1952 since that was the time Japan was required to use that distinction.
Collector’s Weekly says that in the 1970s Lefton started importing from other places such as China, Malaysia, Italy and England. Luckily, Lefton was able to maintain the quality they were known for. So if the sticker is from one of these places, you know your piece was made after 1970.
Another hint is that between 1953 and 1960 you might find the words “Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.” on a sticker. After 1960 they changed that phrase to “Trade Mark.” But as these stickers overlapped in use, so it can still be difficult to date. To help you further date your item, the image below comes from the book “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner published in 1988 (the link will take you to Amazon – they have used copies by various sellers). I have my own copy of this book and find it quite helpful. I don’t find every manufacturer in it, but it is quite extensive.
What I did find out from Kovels was that “George Lefton died in 1996 and the company was sold in 2002.” Their most collectible pieces are their Miss Priss sets, angel figurines labeled with different months, and Christmas figurines.
I hope this post has helped you date some of your pieces and has broadened your knowledge of an important company from the mid-twentieth century. Let me know if you had a piece of Lefton that brings back memories! I love hearing from my readers and being able to share with you. Have a great week!
I’ll be partying this week at the link parties listed on the right!
This past week I was cruising around one of my local thrift stores and was kind of disappointed. I found one item that I could use but absolutely nothing for my shop. I usually find at least something! But it was not to be. I paid the cashier at the desk and headed outside. As I exited, I happened to look to my left, and boy am I glad I did! There was a little canopy sitting over a table of bins. Well, I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but I love bins. They are like a treasure hunt and I found treasure!
Look at what I found above. These are old hand-painted plates stamped on the back “Old Ivory Silesea.” They have a cool matte finish around the edge but the center is glossy. The painting is beautiful and they are in mint condition. It always surprises me that items over 100 years old, stuck in a bin, clanking around, can come out unscathed when my own dishes at home can’t seem to survive my own 2 teenage daughters! Our plates have enough chips in them, that if you found all the chips you could probably make a whole new set!
But I digress…I did really like these little plates. A quick search on my phone gave me an idea of what they were so I purchased them. Then when I went to list them in the shop, I finished my research. What I found is that these plates were produced by a manufacturer in Germany called Hermann Ohme. There is not a lot known about this company but I found some interesting facts to put together for this post.
There is a website called the “Society for Old Ivory and Ohme Porcelains” that I used for some of this information. Apparently, the Ohme company was in business from 1882 to 1930. Not a long run comparatively in the porcelain/china business when you look at Spode or Watt.
SOIOP’s information says that Ohme was located in “Niedersalzbrunn, Silesia, Germany (now the town of Walbrzych in Western Poland).” But a different source states they were actually located in Nieder-Salzbruss (today Sczawienko) (porcelainmarksandmore.com) and that the Niedersalzbrunn plant was a decorating plant.
They only produced 2 types of porcelain glazes, Old Ivory being one and the other being a clear glaze. The Old Ivory glaze was an extra glaze that gave the piece a distinctive matte look and feel like the dishes I found.
The clear glaze pieces were purchased by other manufacturers all over the world to decorate in their own style. Ohme produced full dinner sets with accessories in both glazes but the clear glazed ones that other companies could buy, were known as blanks. They actually had at least 50 blanks in different shapes and sizes that the company produced.
The Old Ivory pieces were originally marketed to retail outfits and billed as “affordable china and elegant dinnerware” (SOIOP). Eventually they were used as free promotional gifts.
Kovels has much of the same information but they add that the mark you will find on these pieces is “a crown, the cipher OH, and the word Silesia.” Like this image below.
The pattern number is usually on there, too. There were some blanks in the Old Ivory glaze that were unmarked as such and were manufactured for the British Market.
So why the short run for this company? According to the Porcelain Marks and More website, the company was owned in 1913 by 3 people, Hermann Ohme, Hermann Ohme, Jr. and E.M. Bauer. They decided that year to increase production for the export market.
They really pushed those exports missing the beginning signs that pointed to the financial crises that was to come. When the bottom dropped out of the export business shortly after the collapse of the stock market in October of 1929 beginning a world wide economic collapse, they were forced to file for bankruptcy in 1930.
So, while theirs was a short run in the biz, they actually produced some quality stuff that has stood the test of time! I hope you enjoyed this little peek at Ohme Porcelain and seeing some examples of their wonderful pieces. You can click on any of the examples to go to the shop listing to learn more about that specific piece. Also, visit the Porcelain Marks and More website for examples of the marks to look for which can date your pieces.
Have a great week and party with me at the great link ups listed on the right!