Monday, August 4, 2008

1776 Independence Ironstone Interpace Japan

In my research of this dinnerware set I was amazed at the long history of Interpace or International Pipes and Ceramics Corporation, along with other large earthenware companies some of which eventually became part of Interpace.

The New Castle China Company was organized in 1901 in Pennsylvania. They produced semi-vitreous dinnerware for four years for private homes and hotels. Around the same time the Shenango Pottery Company was formed and also made semi-vitreous dinnerware. They had a rough beginning and it was not until 1909 when James N. Smith took over the company before it began to prosper.

From 1909 until 1935, the entire production of Shenango Pottery was devoted to commercial china (hotels, restaurants, and institutions). In 1928, Shenango built the first tunnel kiln and began to fire hotel china for the first time in this country. Shenango also ran porcelain trials researching a vitrified fine china dinnerware product. During the Great Depression, Shenango abandoned this idea.

In 1936, Theodore Haviland was seeking an American company to make the famous Haviland dinnerware. He were so impressed with the quality of Shenango, a "gentleman's" agreement was made with Smith. From 1936 to 1958, Shenango Pottery Company made china for the Theodore Haviland Company of France using their formula, blocks cases, decals, etc. This ware was trademarked "Theodore Haviland, New York, Made in America”.

In 1939, Louis L. Helleman, an American representative for Rosenthal China of Germany, came to Shenango and arranged to have Rosenthal's shapes and patterns made at Shenango. In August 1951, Shenango Pottery Company purchased the outstanding stock of Castleton.
In 1968 Interpace Corporation bought Shenango Ceramics and her wholly-owned subsidiaries. Interpace already manufactured Franciscan (earthenware) and fine china. Under the management of Interpace, the plant was expanded and modernized. A complete cup system, new bisque kilns and decorating kilns were built. They also introduced the "Valiela" decorating process, which greatly reduced the cost of print.

Gladding, McBean & Co., began production of Franciscan dinnerware in 1934 at their plant in Glendale, California. Over the years they acquired several regional potteries and expanded their product lines several times to include roof tile, decorative art tiles, garden pottery, and art pottery. Their dinnerware lines were sold as Franciscan Pottery.

In 1962, Franciscan became part of a large ceramic giant, International Pipe and Ceramics Corporation, known as INTERPACE. During this time another dinner line was also shown and marketed in some of the same places as Franciscan. This line was Independence Ironstone and under Interpace control, the staff at the Franciscan Division added new shapes to Independence. Interpace independence Ironstone was manufactured in Japan, Last appearing as a part of Franciscan catalog in 1976.

In 1979 Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, LTD of England acquired Franciscan from INTERPACE, and renamed the company Franciscan Ceramics, Inc. American production of Franciscan Ware ceased in 1984, following the announcement to relocate all Franciscan production to England. In the year 2000 "Johnson Brothers/Franciscan, a member of the Wedgwood Group" markets Franciscan china in the U.S. from production facilities around the world.

This set of dishware is called, “Yellow Bouquet”, along with “Daffodil”. Production of these patterns has been discontinued. This set has the green stamp on the bottom, “1776 Independence © Ironstone ® Interpace Japan”. The dishes are in an octagon shape and painted with yellow color and yellow bouquets on a white background and all under glass. There are no chips or cracks to this set, but is some surface crazing that can be expected with vintage porcelain.

Friday, July 25, 2008

South Bend Pike-Oreno Wooden Lure

Grading lures can be difficult and it takes experience to do it properly. A good way to gain experience is to view lures in person in all the various condition stages. Or if you are like me utilized the NFLCC Lure Grading system. It is a 1 to 10 grading system. If the numerical scale condition needs further clarification a 1/2 can be added to the end. You may also add + or - to the regular description, example AVG+ or AVG-. The system is printed below for your use.

#10 - New in Box (NIB) Unused with original box or carton
#9 -Mint (M) Unused without box or carton
#8 -Excellent (EXC) Very little age or no paint cracks, very minor defects
#7 -Very Good (VG) Little paint cracks, some minor defects
#5 to 6 -Good (G) Some paint cracks, starting to chip, small defects
#3 to 4 -Average (AVE) Some paint loss and /or chipping; showing age.
#2 -Fair (F) Major paint loss and/or defects; major chipping
#1 -Poor (P) Parts missing, poor color and/or major chipping
#0 -Repaint (R) Original paint covered over in part or all.

The pictured lure is a South Bend Pike-Oreno Lure made out of wood with tack eyes. It measures 3 ¾ inches long and has two prong hooks secured by metal encasing within the wood that are not painted dating to 1915 to 1933. The color is a yellow body with a red head and black around the eyes. There are areas of lost paint and crazing throughout the body. It remains shiny, but it starting to dull with age. There are no missing pieces to this lure and it has not been restored in any way. I guess I would give it an average grade.

Mr. F.G. Worden from South Bend, Indiana began making lures around c.1894. The exact time is unknown. Mr. Worden started producing his baits in a two story house in South Bend. He was the inventor of Bucktail Baits and soon was nicknamed Mr. Bucktail. In the early 1900's it is believed that he made an agreement with William Shakespeare Jr. to share his bucktail design. In 1902 Shakespeare came out with an aluminum version of the Revolution lure with the Worden Bucktail design.

In 1909 three people, F.A. Bryan, F.L. Denis and B.W. Oliver did all of the work making and distributing their products. These gentlemen brought in investors from Chicago and formed the South Bend Bait company in 1909. By this time Mr. Worden had grown into a large tackle company. In 1910 they brought in a man named Ivar Hennings. He had an ability to organize and implement new ideas. He then built a new factory and moved the company to Colfax Avenue in downtown South Bend, Indiana. By 1915 they had fifty women working on the assembly line and fifteen salesmen distributing their products in the U.S., Canada and France.

The wooden baits were made of red cedar. The wood was produced by the South Bend Dowel Works. Each piece of wood was chemically treated to prevent the swelling of the wood and protect the enamel finish from cracking. Only hand welded hooks that were imported from England were used. The hooks and hardware were nickel plated. Each wooden lure required at least fifty operations. Twenty-five thousand deer tail, used to produce Bucktail lures were stocked.

Since South Bend began making baits and into the forties the company was very prosperous. They grew from one floor of the Electric building in downtown South Bend, to a 55 thousand square foot space in 1936. A ten thousand square foot addition was done in 1941. During WW II the company’s factory was used towards the war effort and after the war fishing tackle production started up again. In 1947 the Fishing Tackle Company of Americas was founded as an affiliate with 20,000 square feet of production in Maquoketa, Iowa to produce South Bend lures. By 1949 they had grown to 100,000 square feet and more warehouse space was purchased in Iowa.

By 1952 South Bend was once again in full production of their fishing tackle following WWII. Harold O. Stream was now President of the company. In December of 1954 William Martindill became President of the company and Harold O. Stream was Chairman of the Board. The South Bend Bait Company changed its name to the South Bend Tackle Company in 1955. The general offices, service center and warehousing remain in South Bend. The manufacturing plants were in Maquoketa, Spencer and Estherville, Iowa. In 1957 William Martindill resigned and Gerard W. Brooks became President of the South Bend Tackle Company.

The South Bend Tackle Company was sold to Seymour and Benjamin F. Fohrman in 1958. Mr. Fohrman had other interests in companies such as The South Bend Toy Manufacturing Company and the South Bend Tool and Die Company. Following the purchase of the company Gerard Brooks resigned and Seymour was then in charge of the company. A few years later Seymour moved the company's headquarters to Chicago, Illinois. The company address was 6710 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago. In 1962 the South Bend Tackle Company returned to South Bend. All of the company's operations were then consolidated at 1108 S. High Street, South Bend, Indiana.

Through the sixties the company went through some management changes and in 1964 South Bend was sold to the B.F. Gladding & Co. which was a well known maker of casting and fly lines. In the seventies the company went through hard times and had limited presence in the market.

In 1981 two families from Chicago took a chance and purchased the South Bend Company. They recruited Kel Krotzner as president who was the former head of sales of the company. South Bend no longer made their famous traditional lures after 1982 when Luhr-Jensen & Sons purchased the rights for the Oreno line of lures. Through the 80's and early 90's the company experienced good growth. South Bend is still located in Northbrook, Illinois. Today South Bend is still manufacturing rods, reels and terminal tackle under the guidance of president Jim Pickering.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brief History of Inarco, Lefton, and Napco

This porcelain egg was produced by the International Art Ware Corporation in the early 1960’s. It is designed with ornate and floral lines all around the piece in the colors blue, gold, and white. The top is molded like an egg that has been cracked open and is hollow inside. The bottom is footed and marked with Inarco Japan and the number E-3131. This piece is free from chips, cracks, crazing, or loss of paint and measures 5 inches tall and 11 inches around.

The Inarco Company known as International Art Ware Corporation started in Cleveland Ohio, and was founded by Irwin Garber in 1960. The company began with the name International Art ware Corporation, better known as INARCO. A designer by trade, Garber had a penchant for the artistic side of figurines; indeed, his own wife, Roselle, is believed to have been a model for a number of the company's head vases. In its beginnings, the company imported ceramic and glass floral containers and giftware. In 1986, INARCO moved to Jacksonville, Florida, after it was purchased by Japanese giftware distributor, Napco.

The Lefton Company was founded in 1041 by George Lefton. He was a Hungarian immigrant who arrived in Chicago in 1939. Although his background was in marketing and designing specialty clothing, he had a passion for collecting fine porcelain. Lefton traveled to Japan in 1945 to seal an importing agreement and the first Lefton China product marked "Made in Occupied Japan" reached the United States in 1946.

Over the years the Lefton Company has produced numerous products that are highly sought after by collectors including: cookie jars, holiday items, figurines, teapots, jam jars, planters, pitchers, shakers, Red Hat pieces, wall pockets, head vases and lighthouses. At one point in time, over 10,000 retail shops carried Lefton products nationwide.

Vintage Lefton products have a wide variety of marks and many times a paper label. Marks include the words Lefton, Lefton China, Geo. Z. Lefton, G.Z.L., as well as just the letter "L".
The Lefton Company was purchased by OMT Enterprises in 2005 and moved to California. Today's Lefton products include the ever popular Lighthouse series and adorable Christopher girl birthday figurines. Some vintage Lefton pieces are ornate with gold trim, lots of flowers and look like they might have been made two centuries ago, or perhaps a collector might be drawn to the cute and whimsical salt and pepper shakers or wall pockets that are the stuff of the 1950s. It's all appealing to vintage collectors and today's lighthouses are just as avidly collected by folks who are most likely not aware of the rich history of the Lefton Company.

The NAPCO Company or National Potteries Corporation is located in Bedford, OH and began production of Porcelain and Glass in 1938. Ceramic pieces sold by Napco (National Potteries Corporation) are distinctive and popular again today. Since its prolific output of the 1950s and 1960s, Napco has held the interest of collectors because the ceramic items are consistently well-designed.

Owned and operated in the Midwest, Napco distributed a variety of collectibles, including decorative wall accessories, ashtrays, ceramic and wood house wares, floral arrangements, ceramic planters, decorative glass, novelty figurines, mugs, trivets, and Christmas ceramics. Napco used a wide array of marks for its head vases—some transfer marks and some paper labels. The paper labels feature various wording, such as: "A Napco Collection," "Napco originals by Giftware," "National Potteries Co., Cleveland, OH, Made in Japan," and "Napcoware, Import Japan."

Sunday, July 6, 2008


The cook stove is the great conservator of the health, and comfort and in a great measure also, of the very happiness of the household. It should be deservedly one of the most ornamental pieces of furniture. The Company realized its status and the importance of its responsible duties being properly performed. They have spared no pains, nor study, nor expense to bring it to that degree of perfection which its importance demands. That their efforts have been properly appreciated is evidenced by the rapid growth of their business, which has grown to more than ten times its original proportions. Having adopted the name, Arlington, all their stoves are classified under that title. Their extensive sale of the Arlington Cook Stove in all sections of the country sufficiently attests it popularity and its merit. Its symmetrical proportions give it an elegant appearance unsurpassed by any other stove, while in the performance of its duties it is without a superior. In August last by a disastrous fire the company suffered the loss of a large proportion of their works, with many of their patterns. The disaster seems, however, to have only widened the field of their activity. New and more various patterns have been obtained and the works have been rebuilt on a vastly extended scale. They commenced business on one small molding floor, now it covers an area of twelve thousand square feet. From three or four stoves per day in the beginning, their daily product now numbers fifty stoves. Their largest building extends back to West Street and is four stories high, and their entire buildings cover five full city lots. A large portion of this extension is devoted to the fitting, and the labor of a large proportion of their employees is engaged on this particular branch of the business. In the early days of the stove manufacture, and in fact until within the last few years, the proper fitting of stoves together was a matter that received but little attention. Here and there a dab with a cold chisel or a little touch with a file, and the stove went together very much as it came out of the sand. Now, every uneven spot is brought to perfect line upon grindstones or emery wheels. Owing to the special attention given this department, it has become possible to make stoves light yet solid and strong. All this beauty and this perfection of convenience have been of slow growth. The neatness, order and comfort which make the kitchen of the thrifty housewife her special pride, and even commends it to the admiration of her worthy spouse, is the result of long and careful study. Men, with all the selfishness attributed to them by the strong-minded, have in a most practical manner acknowledged the rights of the weaker sex to all the facilities best calculated to lighten their share of the partnership duties of married life.

Those who now enjoy the fullness of this greatest of modern household conveniences, have little knowledge of the [… film scratched ...] with the culinary department in an era that is yet within the memory of some of our oldest citizens. Perhaps it may add to their appreciation of it to go back a little in the history of its progress. In the day of small things when the foundry business was carried on by Neel & Allen and by Mr. Cooper and by Cuthbert & Co. and by the late Thos. Pollock, it would have been an impossibility to manufacture such stoves as we have now. In that day iron was melted in the primitive air furnace, the modern cupola with its powerful machine blast was unknown. One can scarcely believe that within the memory of living persons the very existence of coal in the hills around this city was unknown, or if known, it was to but few.

Wood was the only fuel used both for heating and cooking purposes and the kitchen fire place was nearly of the dimensions of a small bedroom. The great brick oven and the iron Dutch oven were the perfect arrangements of that day for baking and roasting, and they roasted the cook’s almost as much as the meats. Any of our modern cooks who are obliged temporarily to cook on a grate, regard that institution as an invention of the evil one. What then must have been its power to destroy the peace and happiness of our tidy grandmothers who were compelled to use it for a long time, for the ever increasing scarcity of wood admitted of nothing else? Every want stimulates invention to supply it, and the first step toward the modern cook stove was a sort of iron oven placed at the end of the grate. For some time a sickly sort of happiness was afforded by that improvement, but we may say that even such meager comfort was lost in the first stoves that came into use. These early specimens were not much either for beauty or utility; they were ill looking and more ill constructed small in size and great in imperfections. Some of them smoked and gave the kitchen the appearance of a lampblack factory; others would not bake, and they all burned too much coal. These imperfections were not surprising when we reflect that the stoves were made in the same establishment and by the same workmen who molded plough points, wagon boxes, dog irons and all the odds and ends of iron mongers, usually made in such establishments. All perfection comes by means of specialties, and to the fact that Joseph Bell & Co. has given their exclusive attention to the stove business, is Wheeling largely indebted for her favorable reputation in this line, and we, for the Arlington Stoves, written in 1874.

This antique charcoal oven was made by Wheeling and measures 12 inches wide by 11 inches long by 10 inches high. It has molded seams and riveted corners and a hinged door with a turn lock closure. The inside has 2 metal grates and a drip pan and the bottom of the oven is open to be placed over wood or charcoal for cooking. The bottom of the sides has 2 circular holes for venting. The front of this piece has, “Wheeling” embossed into the metal and the entire outside is blackened in color with the smell of coal or wood. The inside racks have rusted and I have not tried to restore this piece in any way.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jay B. Rhodes Oil Spout

Jay B. Rhodes received more then 200 patents for his ideas. His inventions aided in the construction of the Panama Canal and anticipated computerized navigators into automobiles. Yet, he is relatively unknown today.

Automotive enthusiasts know that Rhodes built and drove the first self- propelled vehicle in Kalamazoo. He later confessed that he feared the steam-powered wagon might explode because he used a gas burner to power the steam engine.

He was only 26 years old when he demonstrated his contraption on Rose Street in 1891. His youthful recklessness overcame sober consideration of the risks he was taking. Rhodes never perfected this vehicle that he hoped would carry passengers between Kalamazoo and Gull Lake. He later sold it for $150 even though he had invested more than $3,500 in its development.

After this initial setback, Rhodes moved to Chicago and took a job with the Austin Manufacturing Co. as a mechanical engineer. While working for Austin, he developed perhaps his most important invention—a pneumatic dumping device for railroad cars carrying gravel, dirt, and other bulk material.

Cars equipped with the device greatly simplified the building of the Panama Canal and were also widely used on the frontlines during World War I. Rhodes also developed a machine for building roads in the 1910s, a decade that saw growing political pressure for better streets. Rhodes returned to Kalamazoo in 1903 but remained on Austin’s payroll until 1920. He also began working on his own projects. He started the Kalamazoo Fishing Tackle Co., for which he invented a mechanical swimming frog and a wooden minnow. He sold the enterprise to William Shakespeare Jr. in 1905.

In 1921, he created his most profitable invention, inspired by an old fruit canning jar. Tinkering in a workshop behind his home on Douglas Avenue, Rhodes fitted a cap with a vented spout onto a canning jar and marketed it as a device for dispensing oil into a car engine. With automobile sales booming in the 1920s, Rhodes sold the oil bottles by the carload throughout the United States and around the world. As the profits rolled in, Rhodes became wealthy. He sold the rights to the oil bottle and with the income was able to devote all his time to inventing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

Do you remember when your grandparents' cast iron cookware and that slick black patina coating it had? By re-seasoning rusted cookware the pores will absorb oil and create a non-stick finish.

This old cast iron bacon press measures 6 5/8" x 4" and stands 3 1/2" high to the top of the wooden handle. It is decorated with a pig and leaves and shows some signs of use as you can see in the picture. It is great for evenly cooking bacon, hamburger, or other meats especially in a cast iron pan and keeps your bacon from curling. It was produced in Taiwan and is identical to the 1978 TAYLOR&NG Bacon Press.

General Care of Cast Iron Cookware
1. Wash with hot water, and a sponge or a stiff brush. Do not use synthetic detergents (non-fatty oil based soaps) or a dishwasher on a newly seasoned pan. Dry on the stove at low heat and then thinly coat with solid vegetable shortening or PAM. Wipe with a paper towel and store. The first few times you use your cast iron cookware avoid cooking acidic foods such as tomatoes and beans, or foods with a lot of water content. Uncover hot food after cooking because steam may remove the protective coating.
2. If you detect rust or a metallic taste to your foods, wash your cast iron cookware thoroughly with soap and water and re-season. Should rust appear on your cast iron, scour with steel wool and soap and then follow the seasoning instructions. Heavy rust may be removed with a steel brush.
3. Cast iron cookware heats evenly, therefore it is not necessary to use extremely high cooking temperatures. Best results are obtained with medium to medium-high temperature settings; always allow the utensil to heat as the burner does.
4. Always store cast iron utensils with the lids off or upside down in a warm, dry place. That slick black finish that great chefs covet will develop over time, creating a new heirloom for your children and grandchildren.

Seasoning your Cast Iron Cookware
1. Lightly sand rusted surfaces and apply Coca-Cola for at least ten minutes.
2. Thoroughly wash with mild soapy water your skillet, Dutch oven, fryer or griddle, and then rinse and dry over low heat to remove all moisture from the porous metal.
3. With a paper towel LIGHTLY coat the ENTIRE surface of the heated pan or pot with Crisco or lard. (Do not use butter or margarine). Coat the inside, outside, the lids, and corners.
4. Bake the cookware upside down at 400 degrees for 90 minutes without pre-heating. Put some aluminum foil under the cookware to catch the drips. Allow the pan to completely cool in the oven.
5. Remove from oven and wipe clean.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy Father’s Day June 15th

The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Having been raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day just like we honor our mothers on Mother's Day.

This 10 fluid ounce Mountain Dew Bottle has never been opened and was produced around 1954 according to the label and by the adding of the color red to spruce them up a little. There is some brazing around the edges and some minor scratches in the glass. The glass at the top of the bottle shows great clarity yet and the screen printed label is near perfect with Barney Dew and Ally pictured and the famous "It’ll tickle yore innards!"

This is just one of the perfect gifts for Dad that we carry in our store. We will be offering 15% off all merchandise ordered from June 1st to June 14th in recognition of our Dad, so stop in a take a look at: