|Currier and Ives - The Old Homestead In Winter
Dish - noun /dish/ a more or less concave vessel from which food is served. First known use - before the 12th century.
Not including my everyday set of dishes made by Corelle, I have two other sets that are "antiques" or "collectibles", depending on your definition. I guess technically my original Corelle set could be an antique - it was purchased in 1974 when I was setting up my first apartment. I sometimes see pieces like it while thrifting, although I'm guessing they won't be collectible!
I love my dish sets, not equally, but they each hold special meaning, because when I think of the dishes I think of my dad who actively collected them, and enjoyed every minute of the acquisition.
|A few pieces of my Currier and Ives set.
The first set, with blue and white scenes from Currier and Ives prints, was collected specifically for me. It was produced by Royal China, and dates from 1949. In 1948, Kennith Doyle, a former printer, revolutionized the pottery industry when he, after many years of research, invented an under glaze stamping machine. His invention allowed pottery to be under-glazed with colors in intricate decorations, automatically and directly onto the unglazed ware rather than on paper transfers. It was put to use in 1948 on the centuries old Blue Willow Pattern and then on other patterns such as the scenes of Currier and Ives.
Over many years my dad picked up individual pieces of the Currier and Ives, and sometimes entire sets, at yard sales and thrift stores. I have just about everything, including many serving pieces. I love this set for the different scenes depicted. For instance, all soup bowls have the scene “Early Winter”, all salad plates "The Birthplace of Washington”, all saucers “Low Water in the Mississippi”, all teacups “Star of the Road”, etc. The only exceptions are the pie bakers, which come with eight different images. Although the pieces all have different images, they all are part of the same pattern called “Currier and Ives”.
|Each piece depicts a different Currier and Ives scene.
Dad would find something and give me a call. I would get on the internet and look it up and we would marvel at what a find it was and how he had "stolen" it! A few times I found a piece and the call would be placed to him with what a great find I had made! Later, my mother wanted her own blue and white set and he began collecting for her. That pattern, Fair Winds by Meakin, is in some ways much "prettier" than my Currier and Ives, but nothings can replace the joy I shared with my dad in the process of collecting my pattern.
|Partial collection of Autumn Leaf for Jewel Tea Company
The second set is one that I treasure for all the extra pieces that make it unique. It is the Autumn Leaf pattern made by the Hall China Company for The Jewel Tea Company. The original set was purchased by my parents from a woman I only remember as "Granny". She was a member of their fishing club and had purchased the pieces when they were new. My parents purchased her entire set for $100.00 when I was in my early twenties. They later went on to add many pieces to the set. Several years ago my mother decided not to keep the "Jewel Tea" and wondered if I would list it for her on ebay. Aghast, I asked if I could have the set. That was fine by her and so a few boxes at a time the set came to live with me.
I tend to use the Currier and Ives for meals when company is visiting. I love to see all the blue and white dishes combined with my cobalt blue glassware. The dishes are a sturdy pottery so I don't mind throwing them in the dishwasher after the meal. On the other hand, I only bring out the Jewel Tea for Thanksgiving. With the Autumn Leaf pattern it is perfect for this holiday. Additionally, the pieces are rather delicate and trimmed in gold - not a good combination for the dishwasher.
Growing up I would never have thought of my dad as a dish collecting man. He did love antiques and "goin' junkin'", so in some ways it's not suprising, just not what many would think of as a "manly' pastime. But, I'm so grateful to have shared the collecting with him. Every meal I serve on these dishes are meals I serve with the memory of him!
The Currier and Ives Collector"s Club has more information on the Royal China dinnerware pattern.
The National Autumn Leaf Collector's Club has more information on the Autumn Leaf pattern made for Jewel Tea by the Hall China Company.