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Ornate Design, American Craftsmanship

 

The Ming-Birds pattern is a gorgeous representation of Lenox China’s exquisite artistry. This fine bone china, produced from 1917 to 1963, features gold trim and a spectacular, multicolor scroll design around the rim of the plate interspersed with scenes of two colorful birds. The center design showcases an exotic flowering tree and flitting butterflies. Founded in 1889 by Walter Scott Lenox in Trenton, NJ, the “Staffordshire of America” of its time, the Lenox Ceramic Pottery Company produced art-quality pieces. By 1897 examples of Lenox’s work were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  In 1918, President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson commissioned a set of Lenox for the White House, making it the first American china to grace a U.S. president’s table. The Wilson Service was designed by Frank Graham Holmes, chief designer for Lenox from 1905 to 1954, who also designed the Ming-Birds pattern featured here. During this tenure with Lenox he collected numerous awards, including the Craftsmanship Medal of the American Institute of Architects and the silver medal of the American Designers Institute. In 1928, he became the first and only American to have his porcelain designs displayed by the National Museum of Ceramics in Sevres, France. According to Lenox literature, Holmes “possessed a remarkable ability to blend contemporary style with timeless ‘good taste.’”

Minton by Tiffin/Franciscan was produced from 1960 to 1973, and is a stunningly beautiful crystal pattern. The design of Minton features a convex bowl that flares at the top, a knobbed, multi-sided air-bubble stem with an hourglass shape, and a round, clear foot. The upper half of the non-optic bowl is adorned with a gold encrusted band with an ornate floral design. The Tiffin Glass Company was founded in 1888, when the A.J. Beatty & Sons Glass Factory in Steubenville, Ohio, announced that it would be moving its facilities across the state to Tiffin, Ohio. The new plant began production in 1889, and just three years later, A.J. Beatty & Sons merged into the United States Glass Company. By 1963, USGC had gone into bankruptcy, but a year later, Tiffin Art Glass was born, reviving the company's tradition of quality stemware. When Tiffin Art Glass was acquired by the Continental Can Company two years later, it was renamed the Tiffin Glass Company. Tiffin became a division of the Interpace Corporation in January 1976, and introduced the Franciscan Ware line to its manufacture of pressed glass, sandwich glass, white milk glass, and stemware. In 1979, Leonard Silver Manufacturing Company, a division of Towle Silver, purchased the glassworks. Tiffin Glass Company remained under Leonard Silver’s control until closing its doors in 1983. Tiffin/Franciscan was long noted for the high quality of its crystal, and the gorgeous Minton pattern featured here is a showcase of craftsmanship and design.

Delicate scroll and floral designs accent the scallop-shaped handles of Irving sterling, first produced by Wallace Silver in 1900. Wallace Silver, established in Connecticut nearly two centuries ago, has long been recognized for excellence in tableware craftsmanship. The founder of the company, Robert Wallace, was born in 1815 into a family of silversmiths who had emigrated to New England from Scotland. Apprenticed to William Mix, a renowned Connecticut spoon maker, Wallace purchased a dilapidated grist mill after mastering his trade, and began to produce his own silver flatware in 1833. Irving is just one of many examples of Wallace Silver’s high-quality work.

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