1989 marked the Centennial year of Lenox china. Known for its beauty of design and workmanship, Lenox has progressed from a small partnership, producing mostly art piece on order, to a complex organization featuring not only giftware, but dinnerware and crystal. The important non-variable through the years has been the production of fine china.
Quality was all important to Walter Scott Lenox as he joined with Jonathan Coxon, Sr. to form the Ceramic Art Co in 1889. In 1894 he brought out his partner and organized Lenox, Inc. Not willing to compromise quality, nor to stamp English marks on his American wares in order to impress the public (as some others did) Lenox endured years of struggle. Little by little, recognition came as Americans realized that Lenox could compete successfully with the famous china companies of Europe.
Branching out from making Lenox Belleek pieces, custom ordered and decorated bone china plates appeared in 1902. In 1917, President Wilson's White House China Service, the first to be American made, was commissioned. Every president since has served on Lenox.
For the collector, Lenox giftware may hold the greatest attraction. Among the many beautiful pieces made since the turn of the century are handsomely decorated candle holders, cigarette boxes, desk items, vases of various shapes and designs, jugs, pitchers and decorative plates. Lenox lamps of the '30s are a great find, as are figurines with delicate 'lace work' and birds of pink, green, blue, and yellow.
The various backstamps used on Lenox during the last hundred years can be very confusing to the collector. For detailed information, I recommend the Official Price Guide to American Pottery and Porcelain.
A common mark used was the green wreath mark on factory decorated items from 1906-1930, with 'Made in USA' added in 1931. This mark continued until 1953 when it changed to a gold wreath, still in use.
Fine examples of collectable Lenox can be found in antique malls, shops, and shows. Whether you are filling out a family dinnerware set, or collecting giftware of a particular era or color, our just buy because you like a certain piece, you can be sure that Lenox represents American made, high quality craftsmanship. -Marge O'Harra
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