Pottery Makers' Marks-Tell Us a Story

 I love to look up and find out what information I can about the odd bits of vintage or contemporary dishware that I find. When shopping around, I usually look for Farmhouse or Cottage style items that would look well as a display in a hutch, plate rack or as a centerpiece. I know that decorator plates aren't fashionable at this time, but I just can't help myself.  I also find quite a few pieces of good quality dinnerware that one might need to replace a broken or lost item. I'm becoming quite a detective. There's so much info. to be found on the internet and it often becomes a history lesson. Two World Wars in Europe and the fall of the Soviet Union have taken their toll on many manufacturers. For example, if an item was made in Czechoslovakia, its definitely vintage as this country has been rearranged and is now known as the Czech Republic. 

This is an antique 1890's Brown Transferware Cream Platter made by Johnson Bros. The pattern is called "Mignon" which means "small & delicate" in French. The pattern is delicate, but the platter is fairly substantial. It's of the same timeline as Art Nouveau and the Arts & Crafts Movement. But, I don't see it falling neatly into either style. It is a Nature inspired design.

It has a very British mark, what with the crown and the shield. Johnson Brothers went out of business in 2015, so they were in production for over a century. They were one of the first companies to introduce ironware, which is a refined earthenware and a big deal at the time. There is no iron in ironware. Its name is due to its strength & durability. Ironware or ironstone is a type of vitreous pottery first made in the U.K. in the early 1900s. Vitreous china has an enamel coating that is applied to ceramics after they've been fired. This gives them a finer appearance. A growing middle class wanted nice, affordable, useable dinnerware. Ironware was a cheaper, mass-produced alternative for porcelain. 

This pretty, little celery dish was made in the Art Nouveau style which was popular during 1890-1910, its delicate floral pattern does look Victorian & feminine. This style is known for flowing lines and shapes inspired by Nature. You can certainly see this  in the gently curved edge of the oval dish. It was made in Germany as its mark states.

This Reinhold Schlegelmilch, or RS mark, was used on their good quality porcelain manufactured in Germany from 1912 to 1945. Earlier, this same pottery used a similar mark but, designated Prussia. After that it was Germany, and then Bavaria. The pottery didn't move, the map did. Another interesting note about this pottery, is that to this day there are forgeries of their pieces are sold. Mostly vases and decorative items. So beware-

This colorful platter is of the mid-century "Vogue" pattern from Taylor, Smith & Taylor which was produced from 1933-1950. In 1901, brothers Homer & William Taylor with Charles Smith were the proprietors of this pottery. In 1905, Homer & William left the company. Charles Smith and his brother William continued on, keeping the name Taylor, Smith & Taylor. The pottery, operating in Chester, WV, was purchased by Anchor Hocking in 1972. The pottery was closed at the end of 1981. It continues to be one  of the best potteries in the U.S.A. 

Their mark is a simple wreath of company name, USA and number. All their works are numbered and many of them are found in museums. Their designs are colorful and even their vintage patterns look modern.

 I really love this simple leafy design, which is pattern: SCG28-Leaves & Brown Pods w/ Gold Trim. I think it deserves a more interesting name. It's dark and light shades of brown with pale greens. Schirnding is the name of the town the where the pottery was founded in 1901. By 1906 the factory had 6 modern kilns, electric lights and its own link to the local railroad. It survived WWI & WWII and is still a successful business today. As with many potters' marks, there are many variations of the same design. I think the simple edelweiss flower is lovely.

There is the same mark, but stamped with "Made in Germany  U.S. -Zone". How soon we forget that Germany was once divided by a wall. I also have a few teacups stamped "Occupied Japan". 

Lastly, this sweet, innocent little sugar and creamer set with a transfer design of pink cabbage roses which may have a dark past. It was made by Bohemia Ceramic Works in what was Czechoslovakia. BCW was founded in 1921 in what is now Nova Role, Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia was dissolved in 1993 and separated into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. 

This back stamp is a bit elaborate.

It depicts a lion surrounded by a stylized B and the words Bohemia-Made in Czechoslovakia. As I looked up info. about this mark, another place kept popping up-Neurohlau....? I turned to Wikipedia, turns out it was a concentration camp during WWII 1942-1945. Furthermore, prisoners, mostly women, were sent to work at the BCW factory during this time. Which may or may not be when this set was made. It is still the same pretty, little table set, but it seems different. I hope it isn't connected to that dark time. 
BCW was nationalized after WWII and became part of Karlovarsk Porcelain in 1958. 
As in Staffordshire, England-Due to the natural resources available in the region of Bohemia, it became one of the largest pottery centers in Europe in the early 1900's, with over 30 manufacturers.
So ends our history lesson for today.
The items shown here and many others are available at my home SHOP. Do have a look.

Hope you're a wonderful day....!    Carole



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