Currier and Ives – Throwback Thursday

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Growing up in a family of 8 children, we sat down to dinner every night at our very large kitchen table. The table perfectly held the 10 family members with mom and dad sitting at the opposite ends and four children on each side.  We always sat at the same places at every meal.  We used our “everyday” dishes, which was a mismatched set of different plates, cups and silverware.

My mom had two sets of good dishes, one was cream-colored with gold trim and the other was translucent white china.  We had a large extended family so any special dinners required a lot of place settings.  We had a dining room table to which several leaves would be added when we had special dinners and used the good dishes.

10" Dinner Plate The Old Grist Mill
10″ Dinner Plate
The Old Grist Mill

The A & P grocery chain offered Currier & Ives dishes as a promotion in their stores. My mother and countless other families across the country collected the place settings which featured an early American scene surrounded by a scroll border. For spending a certain amount of money a customer was able to add a piece to their collection.

I was absolutely fascinated by the dishes. Each type of dish portraying a different scene of life in early America. The depicted scenes fed my active imagination and I daydreamed about what it would be like to be part of any particular scene. There was ice skating on a frozen pond; riding in a horse-drawn sleigh; helping with a harvest; making maple syrup; a girl swinging on a gate; harvesting ice; or drawing water from a well.  Sometimes there were just buildings and trees in a winter setting.

Gravy Boat & Tray "The Road, Winter" "The Old Oaken Bucket"
Gravy Boat & Tray
“The Road, Winter”
“The Old Oaken Bucket”

The dishes were manufactured by the Royal China Company in Sebring, Ohio. Designs on the dishes were taken from scenes from lithographs that were manufactured by the printmaking firm of Currier and Ives.  The dishes continued to be made into the 1970’s. Besides the most common blue and white dishes, they were also made in brown, green, red and black.

Today the dishes are collector’s items. Some pieces such as dinner plates, cups and saucers and berry bowls are quite common. Others such as teapots and covered casserole dishes can be quite expensive because they are not easily found. Sometimes rather large sets can be found at very reasonable costs. There are some imitations but it isn’t hard to learn what characteristics are found on the true Currier and Ives pieces. They do not all have back-stamps so whether or not there is a back-stamp is not proof of authenticity.

Pie Pan "American Farm Scene #4"
Pie Pan
“American Farm Scene #4”

My mother passed her dishes on to me. I built up my set further bu buying other pieces at antique stores and thrift stores. Some pieces were given to me as gifts. I still love those dishes. With a small family unit now, there are not many sit-down dinners with multiple guests and several courses. When we do have dinner parties the table is proudly set with the Currier and Ives dishes which I think of as part of my heritage. I have no need for fancy china when I have these dishes that remind of many meals from my youth. I am quite confident that many people recognize these dishes, may have eaten meals on them and possibly also own them, even if they use them as their everyday dishes.

Nostalgic Currier and Ives dishes, just another thread of my life.

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18 thoughts on “Currier and Ives – Throwback Thursday

  1. 60while60 March 19, 2015 / 9:18 am

    I love the blue rim art work on all these dishes. And glad to hear you use them. It’s nice to use these dishes that have been passed down instead of sitting in the cupboard:-)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good Woman March 19, 2015 / 9:34 pm

      I am very fond of the blue as well. And over the years I find myself picking up other blue decor items. I guess it must be my favorite color.

      Like

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature March 19, 2015 / 9:38 am

    I remember them well. I am so grateful to have grown up in the 50s and 60s when things were made with pride of workmanship and the quality was so good and lasting. I hate buying new things. I shop in thrift stores.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 19, 2015 / 9:36 pm

      Pride of workmanship is seriously lacking these days. I love when I find someone who hand crafts items and takes real pride in their work. It is sometimes very difficult to find those things.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. susieshy45 March 19, 2015 / 9:39 am

    Great memories and great heritage and inheritance, Helen. They might become museum pieces in times to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 19, 2015 / 9:37 pm

      I suppose they might at that. A lot of the pieces are very common these days but I do see some very pricey at antique stores.

      Liked by 1 person

      • susieshy45 March 19, 2015 / 10:14 pm

        But has the company stopped producing these crockery now- if so, how are they very commonly seen ?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Good Woman March 20, 2015 / 12:38 am

          I had done some research before I wrote this post and learned it was manufactured from 1950 to 1970 and then again from the mid 70’s until 1986 so that is quite a span of time. It was relatively inexpensive and very sturdy so a lot was manufactured and a lot of it survived. I often see pieces of it at thrift stores, etc. There are some rare pieces that command a large price but you can also find complete service for eight for under $100.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. revenent2014 March 19, 2015 / 1:45 pm

    My father was a huge collector of Currier and Ives items. So this was a trip down memory lane. Very nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 19, 2015 / 9:39 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting. It is quite exciting when I find a piece that I had not seen before. It does not happen very often anymore.

      Like

  5. "Bethie" March 19, 2015 / 11:29 pm

    What a lovely set of dishes. Very unique. Growing up in a home with 8 children must have been lots of fun. I’m an only child, so the dinner table was always quiet as my father wouldn’t allow talking at the dinner table.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 20, 2015 / 6:57 pm

      Thank you. I don’t know that I appreciated at the time how wonderful it was to have the large family, but I have learned that it is something to value forever. Our dinner table could get rather rowdy and my mother was not always approving of that. She would have preferred that we would have been much more reserved than we were but we were healthy, normal kids and quiet did not seem to be part of our DNA.

      Like

  6. Casey March 20, 2015 / 9:44 am

    Those are seriously cool. My grandmother had some really neat handpainted china from her time overseas; vintage china is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 20, 2015 / 6:27 pm

      I am extremely fond of things that have a personal history. I enjoy browsing at antique stores and what appeals to me most are items that I recognize from my childhood, like something that looks like something my mom or grandma had.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Casey March 20, 2015 / 9:29 pm

        Definitely! I love coming across things I’d forgotten about, then having all the memories flood back.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. jannatwrites March 22, 2015 / 2:13 am

    Those dishes are special! I have a set of inexpensive china that was my grandmother’s. I don’t use it because I haven’t wanted to damage it, but reading this makes me think that I need to wash it up and use it one night – just because.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Woman March 24, 2015 / 9:49 pm

      I do have a few other items that I am hesitant to use, but these dishes are pretty stable and they are inexpensive. I don’t worry too much about them accidentally being broke.

      Like

  8. Ginny March 22, 2015 / 9:54 am

    What a great story. I am glad that you inherited dishes that remind you of growing up. I don’t recall these dishes, so they are new to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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