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.

3 comments:

Katie said...

I just found a 1776 Independence Ironstone Interpace Japan piece in a thrift store your blog was very helpful in learning about the company and time period it was made. Thanks.

kari said...

I have a conmplete dinnerware set that my grandmother left to me is is white with ivy trim Iwas trying to find out the value of the set.

Donna Romesburg said...

I am somewhat confused: I just purchased a set of ironware. The stamp says "independence ironstone interpace Japan". Is this made in Japan? Where can I read the history about this company?