Currier and Ives Dinnerware Had Glassware
And Bakeware To Match
By Debbie and Randy Coe
The Royal China Company, from Sebring, Ohio, decided in 1949 to create a new style of dinnerware based on the famous Currier and Ives prints. By this time, the prints were public domain and no special permission was needed to use the prints on dinnerware. The attractive dinnerware used actual Currier and Ives themes for each of their particular pieces.
This dinnerware was made in six colors: black, blue, brown, gray, green and pink, along with some in multi colors. The blue is by far the most popular and of course easiest to find. At its introduction, the pattern was widely popular and sales took off. Through the next 20 years, Currier and Ives was a good selling pattern for the company. The basic place setting was offered along with a number of accessory items.
Looking to future expansion, Royal purchased the French Saxon China Company in 1964. This building was located next door to Royal. The factory caught fire in February 1970 and was completely destroyed. As luck would have it, with the vacant former French Saxon China building next door, the company was able to relocate there so there was no major loss of sales.
When starting over, the executives at Royal China made a decision to eliminate Currier & Ives. It was felt that the public wanted something fresh. Management soon realized they were wrong and Currier and Ives was reintroduced in 1975.
While the basic place settings were continued, some new items were introduced in a slightly different style. The Currier and Ives scene was still in the center but the scrolled border was eliminated from the design. Five- and eight- piece hostess sets were also offered. The five- piece consisted of a cake plate, pie baker, deviled egg plate, candy dish and dip bowl. The eight-piece set consisted of a cake plate, pie baker and six dessert plates. The pattern was continued until the company was sold to Coca Cola in 1976. The time honored tradition of fine dinnerware was now officially over.
Through the years, the Currier and Ives dinnerware could be purchased in many different ways. The most extensive way was in many different supermarkets but primarily A & P and Winn Dixie. The A& P is the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Inc. Today, it is the largest grocery store chain in the northeastern part of the United States. The Currier and Ives sales seem to have occurred during the early to mid-1970s. A booklet was produced to announce the upcoming specialty items in a particular week. Based on the amount of your purchase, you could receive the item free or at a reduced price. When you made purchases at the market, you received coupons that were good against the cost of the featured items of the week. If you combined the coupon with the weekly sale, you could still obtain the item at a nominal price.
The dinnerware was also offered in the S & H green stamp catalog. Both Montgomery Ward and Sears carried the dishes in their catalogs and stores. In later years, Kmart also carried the dish line.
While Currier and Ives sales were expanding for Royal China, it can only be assumed that several glass companies decided to make glassware to go along with the dinnerware pieces.
McKee Glass was one of these companies and they decided to make bakeware items. The distinctive blue scenes set against a milk glass background sold well. There were various shapes made. The bake ware is marked Glasbake on the bottom.
Anchor Hocking introduced a line called Fire King in 1942 and this glassware continued until the late 1980s. It was felt that if they could market their glassware with dinnerware, they could increase their sales. A decision was made to purchase the Taylor Smith Taylor Company in 1971. They already had a line of Currier and Ives dinnerware and so Anchor Hocking started making bakeware items to complement these items. The bakeware items were marked with the Anchor Hocking mark. There were 11 items in this assortment. They are: 1 quart covered casserole; 1 ½ quart covered casserole; 8” round cake pan; 8” square cake pan; 5” x 9” loaf pan; 6 ½” x 10 ½” rectangle pan; 6 ounce custard; 12 ounce tab handle open casserole; 1 quart mixing bowl; 1 ½ quart mixing bowl and 2 ½ quart mixing bowl. Even though the Fire King bakeware was meant to go with the Currier and Ives from Taylor Smith Taylor, most Royal collectors eagerly add these pieces to go with their dinnerware.
Hazel Atlas introduced milk glass in the 1940s and it was called Platonite. It could only be assumed that while the popular blue and white Currier and Ives dinnerware was selling well, Hazel Atlas decided to make some tumblers to go with them. The dark blue scenes set against the white background were very striking. The tumblers are marked on the bottom with a stylized H set above a capital A.
The Gay Fad Studio was only a decorating company. It purchased plain crystal glass from different companies to make water sets. The tapered tumblers with a plain bottom were from Libbey Glass. The shape is similar to what they were making for the Golden Foliage line. The pitcher and tumblers was then decorated with their own specifications and marketed under their label. This company was located in Lancaster, Ohio, and operated from 1950 to 1963. The glass was left transparent or given a satin finish. The design was applied to the glass by using a silk screen process. These tumblers are frequently referred to as a paint tumbler.
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