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‘Noritake’ Made For Over 120 Years

Fine porcelain dinnerware was first produced by the Morimura family of Japan about 1891. The company’s familiar backstamp, an M in a wreath, was used to mark pieces made by this company, which has continued under the name of Noritake.

Sometimes confusing to collectors is to find the M in a wreath on china also marked Nippon. The Nippon merely signifies that a particular piece was made for export to the United States between 1891 and 191. Noritake exported a great deal of china to this country during that period.

The N in a wreath mark was adopted by the company in the 1950s, when post-World War II exporting began once again.

Production of china by the Noritake company that was not made for export to the United States did not require a mark. There were many sets brought home from Japan, both by tourists and military personnel, that are not marked at all or carry unusual marks. Thee are not necessarily older pieces, as is sometimes mistakenly assumed, but simply pieces made for sale in some market other than the United States.

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Aluminum In The Home Was More Popular
When Artisans Created Hand-Made Items

Aluminum, once thought more valuable than gold, was discovered in the middle of the 19th century.

Later, it was discovered to be available in great quantities as a compound with other elements, not as rare as first thought.

The best known source is bauxite, which is readily available in many parts of the world. Most metals are made directly from ore and then purified. Bauxite must be refined first to separate iron and other impurities.

Crushed, washed and dried bauxite is ground into powder, mixed with certain chemicals and strained through a filter. The strained liquid (sodium aluminate) is allowed to cool, forming aluminum hydroxide (aluminum oxide and water.) The crystals of aluminum hydroxide are heated to remove the water.

The result of all this is alumina or aluminum oxide (aluminum and oxygen compound.)

The final process is an electrolysis process invented in l886, in which alumina, dissolved in melted cryolite, is exposed to charges of electricity, which separates the aluminum and allows it to settle to the bottom of the tank.

The intense heat keeps the aluminum in a liquid state until it can be removed.

We are all familiar with the many uses for aluminum.

For the collector, hammered aluminum has a special appeal, not only because of the wide variety of products, but because they are easily identified and readily available at reasonable prices.

Familiar names for highly decorated aluminum ware include August Wendell, Arthur Armour, Buenilum, Canterbury Arts, Continental, Cromwell, Crown, Designed Aluminum, Everlast, Farber & Shlevin, Farberware, Federal Silver, Gailstyn, Hammercraft, Hand Forged, Rodney Kent, Keystone, Kraftware, National Silver, N. S. Co, Palmer-Smith, Stede and World Hand Forged.

Almost all pieces are identified with the logo of the maker.

The hand wrought aluminum industry flourished from the 1920s to the 1950s. A decline in the popularity of aluminum may have been the fact that the hand forging gave way to mechanical production and some of the enduring beauty of the artisan-produced pieces was lost.

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Fancy Printed Box Labels Printed For
Cracker Company

a note from history...

“One of the recent enterprises of magnitude in Portland, is the Portland Cracker Company, whose factory is located at the corner of Second and C streets.

“The company has departed from the old Oregonian idea that ‘anything will do’ - an idea whose practical workings has sent to market in this city, butter in coal oil cans, dried fruit in shoe boxes, bacon in nothing but dirt, and berries in old barrels - and have procured 30,000 elegant labels for the outside of their cracker boxes.

“These labels are printed in six colors, and are the work of the West Shore Lithographing and Engraving Company, of Portland.

“Until our people learn to place their goods on the market in a form fully as attractive as that of imported goods, they need not expect to make much headway in disposing of them.

“The Portland Cracker Company are to be congratulated on their enterprise and sound business sense in this matter, and their course is recommended to all manufacturers of goods for the general market, who would merit the success that company is meeting with.”

From The West Shore of 1887.

[The West Shore was a short-lived newspaper in Portland. One assumes it had the same ownership as the company mentioned in the article - a sneaky way to promote their own printing services!]

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