Super Sascha

I really love finding stuff I’ve never heard of before. Some of the pieces on this blog have caused me to really look deeper into the origins of pieces, which is what I also love. So recently, I came across these pieces. Other than just being an absolutely beautiful design, they were by a designer I was not familiar with, Sascha Brastoff.

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Sascha Brastoff Saucer
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Surf Ballet

These saucers are a pinky-purple mixed with gold on an eggshell color base. The pattern name is Surf Ballet, which, let’s face it, is an awesome name. And it also looks like the foam from the ocean as it’s churned with a gorgeous sunset. That’s why I grabbed them for the store. They were too pretty to leave them languishing in a cupboard.

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Sascha Brastoff Horse Bowl (available at Buddhagal)

So who is Sascha Brastoff? It turns out he was a very popular designer of Mid-Century Modern ceramics and was very prolific during the 1950s and 1960s. He was born in 1918 in Cleveland, Ohio. He entered WWII going into the Air Force. When he got out, he actually worked for a while at Twentieth Century-Fox as a costume designer. 

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Sascha Brastoff Cigarette Set (available at hyggeligtgenbrug)

In “Made in the Twentieth Century: A Guide to Contemporary Collectibles” by Larry R. Paul, Sascha opened Sascha Brastoff Products, Inc. Then opening a ceramics plant in West Los Angeles in 1953, introducing his Rooster trademark that same year.

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Sascha Brastoff Rooster Mark

One of my favorite resources on American pottery, “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay,” by Lois Lehner, says this plant covered a full block and operated from 1953 to 1973. Sascha himself did all of the designs and then let his staff of about 20 people execute them under his supervision. A brochure that went out with some of his designs stated, “In his southern California studios, Brastoff has labored toward a double objective – the bringing of fine art into everyday living.” (Lehner, p. 55).

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Sascha Brastoff Water Jug (available at Unique Decor HM)

That epitomizes what he was trying to do. Don’t forget that coming out of the war, after all the rationing and foreign imports of ceramic wares were being cut off, there was a big demand for ceramic wares that were beautiful and functional. Add in the post-war building boom, and you can see the proliferation of American pottery that looked toward the modernist future but was also functional in order to furnish those new homes. Brastoff was able to fulfill that role.

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Sascha Brastoff Black Bowl (available at Hearthside Home)

His pieces cost from $25.00 and into the thousands for pieces that he himself produced. As far as the marks are concerned, his rooster mark with “Sascha Brastoff” underneath has been used since around 1953. That mark can be a gold sticker or backstamp. Another backstamp, “Sascha B.” which means he supervised the making of the piece. If he signed his full name in script “Sascha Brastoff,” it meant he did the piece himself from beginning to end.

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Sascha Brastoff Bowl (available at Mad4Mod Vintage)

There are also both of those “Sascha B.” and “Sascha Brastoff” in block letters as a backstamp. Both of those were stated to be in use since 1952 but specifically on a line of pottery designed by Sascha for B. Altman Company (Lehner, p. 17). According to Venice Clay Artists, Stangl and Royal Haeger were also licensed to use his designs. There’s usually a thick, “SB” on the piece designating the designer as Sascha Brastoff.

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Sascha Brastoff Salt and Pepper (available at Bayshore Attic)

Unfortunately, Sascha left his plant due to ill health in the 1960s. The plant closed in 1973 and he passed away in 1993, at the age of 75. He definitely left his mark on Mid-Century Modern pottery and his pieces were as highly prized then as they are today. If you think about a $25.00 piece in 1960, it would be like spending over $200 for a piece of pottery today when the average yearly family income was only $5600. I always find these figures remarkable. So that is the story of Sascha Brastoff and his gorgeous designs.

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Sascha Brastoff Hooded Ashtray (available at That70sShoppe)

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I hope your upcoming week holds lots of good things! I’m in the Northeast enjoying a well-deserved Spring and excitedly watching the early flowers bloom. Thanks for reading!

 

Get the Brush!

A few months back, I did a post on McCoy Pottery which talked about the Nelson McCoy connection. That post touched briefly on George Brush who had gone into business with Nelson McCoy, forming Brush-McCoy. This union only lasted until 1918 when they went their separate ways and Brush Pottery became its own business. The Brush-McCoy mark stopped being used in 1925.

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Brush Pottery Planter in Brown Drip (available at Vintage Eve’s)

According to Lehner’s Encyclopedia, there are 2 different Brush Potteries. The first one was only in business for a year (1907 to 1908) when the pottery burned down. In that year they produced kitchen ware and sanitary ware. One item of note was the Lucille Toilet Ware line.  After the fire destroyed the 1-kiln plant, George Brush, the owner, went to McCoy Pottery. The original Brush pottery used the old Union Pottery molds so I’m not sure how to identify those pieces. If anyone knows, let me know!

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Lucille Toilet Ware (credit BWPOSECC Stoneware)

On to the second Brush Pottery.  Once Brush and McCoy went their separate ways with McCoy selling their interest in Brush-McCoy, Brush started turning out many well vitrified products. Lehner’s Encyclopedia lists those items as kitchen ware, vases, cookie jars, patio ware, garden ware and more. Their cookie jars are very collectible and they had quite a few designs.

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Happy Bunny – Chef Bunny Brush Pottery Cookie Jar (available at Just About Modern)

During the 1920s through the 1940s, they updated their equipment, getting a new tunnel kiln which improved their production. They introduced their Colonial Mat and Art Vellum lines; going towards softer and semi-matte finishes. According to the American Association of Art Pottery some of their brightly colored glazes sold really well, too, in the 1930s. They had a faux Rockingham Nurock glaze that was popular during this time.

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Brush Pottery Art Vellum Glazed Vase circa 1930s (available at Delovelyness)

Brush Pottery is remembered for a few key pieces, mainly frogs of every shape and attitude, as well as cookie jars. And to combine those two, a frog cookie jar called “Hill Billy Frog” which is rare and can sell upwards of $4,000! Their main business turned more towards the floral and novelty. Just like the planter at the top from the Vintage Eve’s shop and this one here.

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Brush Pottery Planter (available at Junctique)

 

Here is the “Hill Billy Frog” cookie jar. The link will take you to a website to help you know the difference between the original and the repro.

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Brush Pottery Hill Billy Frog Cookie Jar Real and Repro

You will still see a lot of items listed as “Brush McCoy” when you shop even if they are just marked “Brush.” Anything produced after 1925 is either a McCoy or a Brush, not the combined name. Also, the Brush name was always impressed into the clay. The new repros out there have “Brush McCoy” in raised letters. In December 1978, Brush Pottery was sold to C.S.C. Inc. of Chicago, then in 1979 to Virgil Cole and John O. Everhart. They closed for good in 1982.

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Brush Pottery Frog (available at NLDVintage)

They were around from the 1920s through to the 1980s. I can’t find the information as to what finally shut them down. They may have gone the same way many of the others did, with cheap imports taking over the market or it could have been lack of interest of the new owners. Hard to say. But it closed down in 1982 and burned down sometime around the turn of this century.

Again, I find it interesting to untangle the threads of all these companies, to follow one to its roots. I hope you have enjoyed this post and will join me at the link parties on the right. Have a great week!

 

 

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!

 

 

Some of My favorite Things – RRP Co.

When I first started writing this blog, my first post was on my favorite bowls. I love bowls. I think I’ve established that in subsequent posts. In that first post, one of the bowls I showed was this one …

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Robinson Ransbottom Bowl Girl With Watering Can circa 1930s

It will never be put up for sale in my shop because I love it too much. And here is the other set I love and will not part with. I had to wait 6 months from the time I found this set at “A Well Kept Secret” in Kingston, NH, to when it went on sale almost half off. From there I talked them down another $10 while I hoped against hope someone else didn’t scoop it up! Also, because it is my favorite set 😉

Can you see why I can’t part with them? How many sets do you see like this from the 1940s that are in great shape, no cracks or chips AND together like this? You don’t — so I’m keeping them. I sell many pieces of vintage pottery in the Vintage Eve’s Etsy shop, but this set will not be one of them. Below is a cool poultry fountain by Robinson Ransbottom. They have a rich history.

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Chicken Feeder Ransbottom Brothers Pottery (available at Buckeye Antiques)

Robinson Ransbottom Pottery was started in 1920 in Roseville, OH. You have to go further back to understand where they actually started, though. According to a source I go back to frequently, Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain and Clay (1988), it began further back in 1856 with Whitmore, Robinson and Company. From 1862 to 1900 this company made stoneware, yellowware, and Rockingham.

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Robinson Ransbottom Pottery Brown & Teal Drip Dish (available at Sweet Karoline’s Glasses)

 

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Robinson Ransbottom Mark on Dish (available at Sweet Karoline’s Glasses)

They then formed the Robinson-Merrill Company with the addition of the E.H. Merrill Company. By 1902 the company was called the Robinson Clay Products Company. Sometime during the year of 1920, the Ransbottom Brothers Pottery in Roseville, Ohio combined with Robinson Clay Products and viola Robinson-Ransbottom Pottery was born.

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Robinson Ransbottom Cream Pitcher circa 1930s (available at Mulberry Pottery Antiques)

Let’s go back slightly. There were 4 Ransbottom brothers who founded a pottery in Ironspot, Ohio. They also ran a pottery in Saltillo, Ohio where they  manufactured stoneware jars. In 1910 they combined all their efforts into the Roseville plant. By 1916, the Ransbottom Brothers Pottery were the number one maker of stoneware jars in the U.S. Not too shabby!

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Robinson Ransbottom Pottery Company Sailor Jack Cookie Jar circa 1940s (available at East End Antiques Co.)

The Ransbottom Brothers Pottery also made jars for preserves, churns, milk pans or bowls, poultry fountains and other utilitarian items. Many times the Robinson-Ransbottom pieces are marked just “Roseville” which causes confusion among collectors. There is a different “Roseville” that people collect and it looks different, the colors are more matte and pastel. The Ransbottom pieces are high gloss for the most part. Look at this matching piece to my beloved bowls I found for sale at Etsy! It’s a small milk pitcher.

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Robinson Ransbottom Zephyr Refrigerator Pitcher (available at Nob Hill Vintage)

 

Well, Robinson Ransbottom had a nice long run, but unfortunately went out of business in 2005. And so is the history of another great company that employed hundreds of potters over the years. A number of their pieces seem to be unmarked having lost their paper stickers as time passed. I would recommend the  Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain and Clay (1988) to get a look at all the different marks they used; there are over 20. Check your library for the book or Amazon (which is where I got mine in perfectly used condition).

I hope you all have a great week! I will be partying at the link parties to the right this week. Check them out if you get the chance. And as always, leave me a note if you liked this post because I love to hear from everyone!

 

 

 

Simply Stangl

You ever buy something for someone else and then have trouble giving it away? Well, I’m having that trouble right now. I found this bowl …

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Stangl Blue Bowl Basin 12″

 

It’s really a basin I think, by Stangl (no “e”) Pottery. I bought it for the store but I’m having a tough time letting it go. I love the color and shape; the scroll handles and the simplicity of the design. It may stay with me awhile, but that’s ok, too.

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Stangl Magnolia Pattern China Warmer (available at Vintage Eve’s)
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Stangl Teapot circa 1950s

This is not the first piece of Stangl pottery I’ve found. I have a bit of it in the shop like these pieces above with the Magnolia pattern. I sold the teapot awhile ago. Stangl is a pottery that has been around since the late 1920s but it wasn’t until 1955 that it officially became Stangl Pottery.

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Stangl Gold Shell Dish (available at Liv Vintage)

Johann Martin Stangl, the founder, actually started working at Fulper pottery as a ceramic engineer in  1910. Kovels.com says that he left Fulper from 1915 to 1920 to work at Haeger pottery but returned to Fulper in 1920.

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Stangl Pottery Kay Hackett Design Ginger Cat (available at bopiG)

In 1926 he became president of Fulper and changed the name at that point to Stangl Pottery. But as I said above, it wasn’t officially changed until 1955. Not sure why but that’s the story!

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Stangl Art Vase Cornucopia (available at Yesterday and Tomorrow)

The Stangl Pottery website says that Stangl was responsible for the first “open stock solid-color dinnerware.” The original factory was located in Flemington, New Jersey with a second smaller factory built near it also in Flemington. They then acquired a larger facility that was already running in Trenton, NJ, giving them 3 working factories.

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Stangl Pottery Plates Tangerine, Yellow & Blue (available at Perfect Yesterdays)

Well, they did until the original Flemington factory burned, so then there were 2 factories. They didn’t bother to rebuild a third. The one in Trenton was fairly large. According to the Stangl Pottery website, the other Flemington factory then became a retail showroom during the 1930s and was not a production facility after that. It was one of the country’s first retail outlets! On a busy week, the showroom saw more than 1,000 patrons.

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Stangl Art Pottery Bird (available at Betsy Collection)

The company did well. Their hand-carved, hand-painted dinnerware was a favorite, as was their artware and bird figurines. They were sold in over 3,000 department stores, gift stores and more.

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Stangl Square Plates (available at Planet Artifact)

Stangl Pottery did well from the 1940s until the early 1970s. When Martin Stangl died in 1972 the pottery was sold to Frank Wheaton Jr., of Wheaton Industries. Kovels.com says that production continued until 1978 when Pfaltzgraff Pottery purchased the right to the Stangl trademark and all remaining inventory was liquidated.

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Stangl Gravy Boat in Golden Harvest (available at Matchmaker Matchmaker)

I always find it interesting to see the progression of a company and, especially in America to see how intertwined these companies all are.

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Stangl Leaf Dish (available at Rebekah’s Retro)

Whether I sell that lovely bowl or basin (or whatever it is), or keep it for myself, I will have owned a piece of American history. A company that lasted through the Great Depression and numerous wars through hard work and dedication to the craft of creating items that we use everyday. I just love this stuff!

I will be partying all week at the link parties on the right. Check them out – so many great blogs, so little time!! Have a great week!

 

 

Coddle Your Eggs

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.

 

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BW Buenilum & Pyrex Covered Dish Found at Estate Sale

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!

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Wedgwood Egg Coddlers (Available at Vintage Eve’s)

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).

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1930s Egg Coddler by Bauhaus Designer Wilhem Wagenfeld (available at Room 606)

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.

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Set of 5 Early Victorian Egg Coddlers by Syracuse China (photo courtesy of Nick Haus Vintage Antiques)

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.

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Adorable Egg Coddler circa 1960s (available at Lynnie McGoogins)

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.

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Wedgwood Beatrix Potter Double-Egg Egg Coddlers (available at Gidget’s Vintage Finds)

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).

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Royal Worcester 1-egg and 2-egg Egg Coddlers (available at Loose Ends Vintage)

Max Roesler or Rosler was another company that made egg coddlers. Their’s were porcelain with a flat porcelain lid that screwed on.

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Vintage Egg Coddler (available at The Freckled Berry)

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.

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Royal Worcester Egg Coddler (available at Birdy Coconut)
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Royal Worcester Egg Coddler Instructions (available at Birdy Coconut)

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!

 

 

 

 

It’s All in The Family

As I’ve been in business with my Etsy store, Vintage Eve’s, for about a year now, I’ve come across any number of pieces marked Johnson Brothers. Today I listed a pair of pretty square bowls done by the Johnson Brothers Company in the Minuet pattern which I love.

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Johnson Brothers Minuet Ironstone Square Cereal Bowl (available at Vintage Eve’s)

These bowls are not just pretty but I like their squareness, too! They are also marked Ironstone. Although these particular bowls are from mid-century 1960s to early 1970s, Johnson Brothers started back in the late 1800s.

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1900 Johnson Brothers Semi Porcelain Covered Soap Dish (available at Cooba’s Cool Collectibles & Antiques)

Collectors Weekly says that Johnson Brothers was started in 1883 by Federick and Alfred Johnson (so they really were brothers!). They were in Staffordshire which is known to have been a hub for pottery at that time. They wanted to produce a type of earthenware called “White Granite” and they marked those pieces “Semi Porcelain.”

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Johnson Brothers Covered Dish Semi-Porcelain (available at From the Seller)

White Granite “looked like china but was as tough as ironstone” (Collectors Weekly). It turns out, however, that they were better known for their transferware than their White Granite.

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Johnson Bros. Flow Blue Gravy Boat (available at Vintageway Furniture)

By 1888 their older brother, Henry, had joined the company. Collectors Weekly states that a fourth brother, Robert, opened a satellite office in New York. By 1900 there were 5 potteries altogether. With Robert selling the family pottery in America, the Johnson Brothers company went into the new century in the black.

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Johnson Bros. Friendly Village Tea Pot (available at Little Log House Antiques)

Their transferware and flow blue porcelain (which is highly collectible) were very popular. They made excellent quality products but kept the mid-range price which ensured that most people could afford it.

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Johnson Bros. Black and Pink Rose (available at Blind Dog Vintage)

The family continued to grow with the brothers’ sons joining the company followed by grandsons. During the 1920s, Johnson Brothers introduced a colored clay called “Dawn” which came in gray, rose, green, and gold.

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Johnson Bros. Rosedawn (available at PoshPedestal)

Their  transferware continued, however to be one of their most popular products. The company is most identified with pictures of wild turkeys and scenes in their Historic America series. Summer Chintz was a popular pattern and Old Britain Castles, too.

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Johnson Bros. Old Britain Castles Soup Bowl (available at Homecoming Dining Room)

During the Depression, they closed their original factory on Charles Street and took some time to modernize their factories. Their Friendly Village pattern became highly collected after World War II as were their Christmas Plates.

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Johnson Bros. Christmas Pattern Divided Plate (available at All That’s Vintage56)

During the time of World War II, they continued to stay afloat with their American division. After the war, they opened plants in England, Australia and Canada to decorate, glaze and fire the pieces and they did well for quite awhile until about 1968 when, in a bid to stay competitive in the world market, they joined the Wedgwood Group.

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Johnson Bros. Game Birds Small Bowls (available at Replacements4U)

The Wedgwood Group, according to ThePotteries.org website, includes the following potteries: Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd., Royal Tuscan,  Coalport, Susie Cooper, Johnson Bros., William Adams, J & G Meakin, Midwinter, Mason’s Ironstone China, and Crown Staffordshire China.

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Johnson Bros. Chippendale Green Tea Pot (available at Treasures From The UK)

What I’ve learned over almost a year of blogging about my finds, is that if you don’t adapt, you don’t survive especially in the pottery business! Well, that is it for now on the Johnson Brothers. Thank you so much for letting me share with you!

I will be partying at the links on the right this week, if you have a second, check them out and have a great week!

 

 

Know Your Knowles

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).

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EM Knowles Cake Plate (photo courtesy of Vintage Eve’s)

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.

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E.M. Knowles Coral Pine! (photo courtesy of Vintage Eve’s)

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!

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EM Knowles 22K Plates from 1940s (photo courtesy of RetroDoodads)

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.

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EM Knowles Relish Dish 1920s (photo courtesy of Vintage Attitudes)

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).

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EM Knowles Sugar Bowl, Creamer & S&P Set in Puritan Pattern (photo courtesy of LuRu Uniques)

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.

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EM Knowles in Ebonette Pattern (photo courtesy of Our Leftovers)

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.

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EM Knowles Serving Platter (photo courtesy of Fugitive Kat Kreations)

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).

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EM Knowles Yorktown Gravy Boat (photo courtesy of Wizard of Vintage)

 

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EM Knowles Potomac Line (photo courtesy of Laurel Hollow Park)

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.

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EM Knowles Serving Dish (photo courtesy of Nona’s Finds)

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).

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EM Knowles Casserole Server (photo courtesy of Polka Dot Rose)

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.

 

 

 

Chickens and Lefton China

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

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Chicken Egg Basket

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!

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Lefton China Tidbit Tray (photo courtesy of Vintage Eve’s)

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.

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Lefton Violets Crescent Bone Plate (photo courtesy of Terri’s Just Vintage)

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.

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Lefton Miss Priss Tea Pot

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.

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Lefton Christmas Angels (photo courtesy of Delicia’s Castle)

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.

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Vintage Lefton Wedding Angel (photo courtesy of NeverlandsNook)

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.

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Lefton’s Mr. Toodles Condiment Jar (photo courtesy of Cheeky Chimp Treasures)

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.

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From “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner

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.

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Vintage Lefton Head Vase (photo courtesy of MNVintage)

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!

 

 

 

Ohme – Oh My!

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!

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Ohme Old Ivory Saucers and Soup Plates (photo courtesy of Vintage Eve’s)

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!

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Ohme Silesea Porcelain Plate (photo courtesy of The Old Hound Antiques)

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.

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Ohme Old Ivory Antique Porcelain Toothpick Holder (photo courtesy of Barb’s Vintage Finds)

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.

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Ohme Old Ivory Silesea Lidded Sugar and Creamer Set (photo courtesy of Fabulous Flawed Finds)

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.

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Hermann Ohme Decorative Dish (photo courtesy of On Point Collectibles)

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.

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Ohme Porcelain Biscuit Jar Worcester Mold (photo courtesy of Christie’s Curios)

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.

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Ohme Cup and Saucer circa 1920 (photo courtesy of Blanc Bonheur)

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.

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Ohme Serving Bowls circa 1910 (photo courtesy of The China Girl)

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.

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Ohme Porcelain Mark – Glaze Type and Style Number

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.

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Ohme Creamer with Blue Poppies (photo courtesy of Lindsay Jane’s Cottage)

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.

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Ohme Cup and Saucer Iridescent Porcelain (photo courtesy of Junk Savant)

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.

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Ohme Carmen Pattern Serving Bowl (photo courtesy of Bedford Hill Vintage)

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!