The centerpiece is something of a recycling project. Last week, with very little blooming in the garden, I arranged a bouquet of aging flowers from the supermarket (reduced to $3.99). Surprisingly, most of the blooms still seemed fresh enough to use again today. I cut the stems short and did three small arrangements in soup/cereal bowls.
Last week's centerpiece:
An overview of today's table:
The stemware is Caprice by Cambridge (1936 – 1958).
The dishes were manufactured by Scammell China 0f Trenton, New Jersey. Date: circa 1925 – 1929.
Caprice was one of Cambridge Glass Company's most popular patterns. In the June 1936 issue of China, Glass and Lamps, the Caprice line boasted over 200 items with more than 150 pieces in open stock.
From a department store brochure:
“Caprice – Beautiful, distinctive, patterned in circling ripples that achieve an entirely new Modern beauty, yet harmonizing with early periods. Designed to associate agreeably with your finest table setting."
"Caprice -- like the enchantment of rippling water."
"Caprice captures the whim of dancing lights for your table."
These Bickford's plates were customized by using Scammell’s griffin pattern adding Bickford’s custom border and topmarked name. Southern Pacific Railways used Scammel’s griffin pattern in Daylight Blue (minus the customization).
There was a time, not long ago, when a traveler could come to America by sail or steamship, cross the country by rail and stay in the finest hotels, and never once eat off a dish that was not made in Trenton, N.J.
The Lamberton Works first opened in 1869 operating for several years before selling in 1888 to Thomas Maddock, whose family had been craftsmen and decorators for the Staffordshire Potteries in England for generations. While owned by the Maddocks, Lamberton Works produced some of the highest quality domestic and commercial china in the world.
In 1923, a former office boy, D. William Scammell, along with his five brothers, purchased the plant. Under the Scammels, the client list and variety of wares rapidly grew. Prominent hotel and restaurant customers included the Waldorf-Astoria, the William Penn, and LaSalle, in addition to Macy’s and Gimbel’s department stores.
During the heyday of luxury railroad travel, Lamberton Works created china for the New Jersey Central, Union Pacific, the Pennsylvania, New York Central, Southern Pacific and Baltimore & Ohio Railroads. It also provided its product for shipping lines including the Holland-America, the Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Co., Norwich Line, Panama Pacific Steamship and United States Lines among others.
The Scammels successfully ran the pottery company until D. William died in 1952. Largely abandoned after the Scammell China Co. closed in 1954, what remained of the old factory burned down in 1972. For the next 20 years, the Lamberton name lived on as a line of china manufactured by the Sterling China Co. of Wellsville, Ohio, which purchased the equipment and ongoing contracts from the Lamberton Works in 1954.
Lamberton Works pieces from both the Maddock and Scammell eras are much sought-after by collectors today.
The napkins aren't vintage, but they did come from a local estate sale. They were priced at 8 for $4.50 (purchased for $2.25 the second day of the sale). One still had the department store price sticker folded inside -- $4.50 each.
I was curious about Bickford's. Here's what Wikipedia says:
Bickford's Restaurants and Cafeterias were mainstays in the New York City area from the 1920s into the 1970s. Samuel Longley Bickford (1885–1959) began his restaurant career in 1902, and in 1921, he established his quick-lunch Bickford's restaurant chain. In 1959, the company introduced the Bickford's Pancake House family restaurants, followed by the chain of Bickfords Grilles (minus the apostrophe) which currently operates throughout New England.
I "cheated," since I only have four Caprice tall water glasses. I filled in the end place settings with Fostoria's Wavecrest pattern (1935 - 1943). I've read that Caprice also was manufactured in 1935, even though the official introduction date is 1936. Many of the elegant glass companies of the Depression era created patterns that were similar to, and influenced by, others (just as automobile manufacturers, etc. have always done). The Wavecrest glasses still have their original Fostoria stickers. Obviously I'd remove them if I were using them to serve guests, but since they've "worn" them for 70 years or so ... I just didn't have the heart to take them off ... just yet.
The silverplated serving piece below is a tomato/cranberry server, not included with most basic sets of flatware.
The pattern is Fascination (silverplate, 1936) by International Silver. I like the clean lines of the deco-influenced design.
I thought you might like to know more about Bickford's in New York. There are several literary and cultural figures connected with the place. From Wikipedia:
Jack Kerouac sometimes wrote while sitting in Bickford's, and he mentioned the restaurant in Lonesome Traveler. Other famed members of the Beat Generation could be found at night in the New York Bickford's as noted by The New York Times:
The best minds of Allen Ginsberg's generation "sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's," he wrote in Howl. The Beat Generation muse, Herbert Huncke, practically inhabited the Bickford's on West 42nd Street. Walker Evans photographed Bickford's customers, and Andy Warhol rhapsodized about Bickford's waitresses. Bickford's made its way into the work of writers as diverse as Woody Allen and William Styron.
Andy Warhol's assistant was out getting a coffee-to-go at Bickford's when Warhol was shot. The Mad cartoonist Wally Wood was 21 years old when he worked as a Bickford's busboy shortly after his 1948 arrival in Manhattan.
I used open salts and individual pepper shakers on today's table. The salts were 6 for $5 at an antiques mall, and the boxed set of pepper shakers was a Goodwill find.
Salt cellars, also known as open salts and salt dips, have been around for centuries. One was pictured spilled over in front of Judas in a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. It is only in the last century that they have disappeared from the table. Before salt crystals began to be refined by modern manufacturing methods, they were too big to sprinkle out of shakers like pepper. Therefore salt was served in open dishes. Then in the 19th century, just about the time the American Civil War ended, glass shakers with threading right in the glass were invented.
Shakers with some sort of agitator inside to break up the salt became more common. Open salts did continue to be made and used for several more decades but almost completely disappeared by the time of the Great Depression.
I placed an iced beverage spoon above each place setting, in case someone wants iced tea (and you thought I'd confused them with salt spoons, didn't you?).
I'm always on the lookout for Caprice serving pieces. I prefer the goes-with-everything clear/crystal version, but the blue is extremely popular with Cambridge collectors.
Another view of the table (with the overhead lights switched on).
The Caprice candleholders are among my favorites. The flowing swirls capture the feeling of cascading water, don't they?
It's late afternoon now ...
Time to light the candles! That was all I really had to say today. I hope you enjoy the rest of the photographs ...