Betty Crocker (General Mills), Oneida silverplated flatware:
Blue Ridge dinnerware (Southern Potteries, Erwin, Tennessee):
Rock Sharpe crystal:
Rock Sharpe etching/cutting on blanks manufactured by Libbey with their patented "Safedge" rim (guaranteed for life against chipping!). The ad below ran in Time Magazine in 1937:
We're in the sunroom on a cloudy day. No sunlight streaming across the table, but I don't mind. We desperately need rain.
This could be a table set for Sunday brunch. Instead of wine glasses, I used Rock Sharpe juice glasses and filled them with faux cranberry juice (the ol' food coloring in tap water trick). Or perhaps it IS something stronger ...
The dishes are "Spray" by Blue Ridge. The earliest they could have been produced would have been 1948, when the company's "pie crust" shape was introduced. Blue Ridge had ceased operating by 1957.
The glassware is Libbey/Rock Sharpe (3005 stem). I collect Rock Sharpe by shape without regard to which etched pattern I'm buying. I actually prefer mixing the designs for table settings. It adds variety and interest.
A closer view. Note the rounded edge that minimizes the liklihood of chipping the rim.
I'm using restaurant napkins today. They're great for everyday use, because they launder so beautifully. I folded them in half, in half again, and then into thirds. I rolled under the top edge and added a shower curtain ring for embellishment. The set of curtain rings was new in the box (on an outside table) at a recent local estate sale. I got the set for $1 on the last day of the sale.
This popular pattern, "Queen Bess," was introduced in 1946 by Oneida Community with their "Tudor Plate" trademark. It was offered as a Betty Crocker premium by collecting coupons from boxes of selected General Mills products.
A vintage ad stated: "Lovely Queen Bess Pattern. Extra heavy silverplate; principal forks and spoons reinforced with additional layer of pure silver. Dramatic new Queen Bess design, inspired by the Garden Rose of China."
From a 2002 story:
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — It was the lure of a 10-cent teaspoon (silverplate, no less) that attracted Martha Reuben to General Mills when she was a newlywed more than 50 years ago.
She loved the delicate floral spray that graced the spoon's handle. She wanted more.
Reuben joined housewives around the country in the 1940s, cutting out Betty Crocker coupons found on General Mill products and sending them in along with a little money to build sets of Tudor Plate Oneida Community flatware.
"They were beautiful. It was the Queen Bess pattern," said Reuben, 73, of Dayton, Ohio. "I can remember, I just couldn't stand it until it would come. I would run to the mailbox hoping my spoon or my fork or my knife would be there."
With the support of people like Reuben, who went on to buy multiple sets of flatware for her three children and baby dishes and silverware for her grandchildren, the Betty Crocker Catalog Points program survived until 2006 as one of the longest-running loyalty programs in the country.
Blue Ridge China, a colorful series of hand-painted china and dinnerware began in Erwin, Tennessee by Southern Potteries, Inc. in 1920. The plant closed in 1957, yet during those years, girls and women from the hills were trained to freehand paint the hundreds of designs and patterns.
From 1920 - 1938, the china was primarily designs taken from sheets of decals, then applied by hand. But from 1938 to 1957, Southern Potteries began adding simple designs by hand around the decals, then did away with the decals and began designing and hand-painting the dinnerware.
Southern Potteries was adept at marketing. Blue Ridge was used in advertising other products. It was sold by Sears, given away in gas stations and supermarkets.
The more unusual the piece (egg cups, relish trays, pitchers, salt and pepper shakers, tea pots, large turkey platters, etc.) can sell for hundreds of dollars. Yet, plates, small bowls, cups and saucers, can be purchased in pristine shape for $15-25 in many cases, and less if showing minor chips or cracks.
During the 1930s and World War II years, importing dinnerware from Europe to the U.S. became a difficult task. It was during this era that American manufactured pottery and china gained popularity. Many of the patterns resembled Italian, French and English patterns but were much less expensive and readily available to all parts of the U.S. through catalogue sales and the local five and dime store.
Because each piece was hand painted, slight discrepancies within the patterns such as sizes of flowers, embellished strokes and color variations are common. The most distinctive feature of Blue Ridge pottery is the brightly colored one-dimensional floral designs.
For fun I added an Indiana Glass tulip-shaped sundae glass filled with vintage silverplated salad/dessert forks. While I definitely enjoy ice cream, I've never used one of these glasses for a sundae. They work well as vases for small flower arrangements and can serve as a "spooner." A popular collectible today, the spooner or spoonholder, provided as much symbolic value as function for Victorian society. The prominently displayed spoons were a clear sign of ready hospitality, as well as a status symbol for the increased affluence among the expanding middle class who could now afford silver spoons, or at least a good facsimile
I included the little ceramic partridge (quail, bobwhite?) below on a whim. She's marked "made in Japan" on the underside. I found her at a local thrift store a few days ago. I was purchasing several items. She didn't have a price tag, so the shop owner said, "I won't charge you for that."
I think she looks interesting, but slightly forlorn.
Blue Ridge wasn't fine china, nor was it ever intended to be. These were "workhorse" dishes. Often the ones in shops have chips, cracks, and/or darkened areas. When I see the ones with crazing and discoloration, I imagine husbands and teenagers coming home late and being told quietly, "I kept a plate of food warm for you in the oven."
A nice way to be welcomed home -- but not conducive to keeping dinnerware looking pristine!
It's raining now, and the wet leaves "decorate" the deck ...
You can check out the listing HERE.
Please join Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.