Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gram's China

Today I've unpacked and washed most of the china I inherited from my maternal grandmother... and researching to learn more about it! With the exception of some extra tea cups and saucers, everything is Syracuse China's Oriental pattern. Here's the dinner plate:

Close up of the medallion at the center:

Back of the plate:

From the Syracuse China wikiSyracuse China, located in Lyncourt, New York (a suburb of Syracuse), was a manufacturer or fine china. Founded in 1871 as Onondaga Pottery Company (O.P. Co.) in the town of Geddes, the company initially produced earthenware; in the late 19th century, O.P.Co., began producing fine china, for which it found a strong market particularly in hotels, restaurants, and railroad dining cars. The company closed in 2009.

In 1841, W. H. Farrar started a small pottery business in the town of Geddes, New York. Seventeen years later he moved the business to the location of what would become the Onondaga Pottery Company and eventually Syracuse China. Mr. Farrar producedwhiskey jugs, butter crocks and mixing bowls in stoneware. A few years later the Empire Pottery company was organized to take over the Farrar Pottery. A line of "white ware" for table use was added. Like most pottery of the time it was susceptible to "crazing" - small cracks in the glazed surface. The company struggled along until 1871 at which time Onondaga Pottery Company was organized and took over.
Popular taste demanded a finer ceramic tableware than the heavy pottery made by these companies. Onondaga Pottery started producing a heavy earthen ware called "Ironstone" but struggle to succeed. In 1873, they began manufacturing a "white granite ware" and then in 1885 a semi-vitreous ware. A year later they replaced this with a high fired china and a guarantee that the glaze would not crackle or craze - the first time an American-made tableware carried such a warranty. It was at this point, 45 years after the start of pottery production in Syracuse that the pottery business showed a stable and profitable prospect.
Under President James Pass, O.P.Co. developed a new china body and won the medal for translucent china at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. In 1897 production turned to the vitreous china body. Its first colored china body, "Old Ivory," appeared in 1926. The company thrived with its hotel and railroad sales. The narrow-bodied "Econo-Rim" was tailored for the cramped table space of dining cars. Highly sought after collectible patterns sell regularly on eBay and at estate sales. The company was renowned for its fine china designs until 1970 when it limited its production to mostly restaurant dinnerware.
Our set probably started out with very vibrant colors that have faded over the years. In replacement catalogs, the same design has bright red and cobalt blue featured prominently.

In addition to the 8 full place settings of the china, we have a number or random little treasures. These saucers seem like they are part of a set (except the ones on the far left and far right):

(and their matching backs)

Judging by the mark these were made between 1948 and 1985 in the Minerva Works in Fenton by Crown Staffordshire China Co Ltd. This is now part of the Wedgwood Group: 

"In 1897 the name Crown Staffordshire first appeared in the title of the firm and in 1903 it became a limited company under the name Crown Staffordshire Porcelain Co. Ltd. By the turn of the century, the company were producing a wide range of bone china products including dinner ware, tea and coffee ware, miniatures, vases, cutlery handles, door furniture and floral china baskets. In the late 1920s Crown Staffordshire pioneered the large scale production of china floral ornaments and china costume jewellery for which they became famous......
Both before and during World War 2 the company produced badged ware for the fighting services, including the British and Canadian navies. During the war they were designated as a nucleus firm (1941) which meant that they were allowed to continue trading in their own premises and, although Barlows of Longton were concentrated upon the Minerva Works for the duration of the war, no earthenware was made, only bone china. (Source)


  1. fantastic! the blue in the china will be great in your new kitchen! you will display some china in the new cabinets, yes? now we just need to get the curtins up to tie it together with the blueness, yes? yay

  2. Yes, that's exactly what we're thinking - some plate racks for the inside of the buffet so some of the pretty plates and things can be on display!

    I am still waffling on the fabric for the window treatments... story of my life, huh? LOL! I agree though that we should bring out the blue. :)


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