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LENOX

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Lenox vase

Vol. 7 Issue 2

The Ceramic Art Company, now known as Lenox, was founded by Jonathan Coxon and Walter Scott Lenox in Trenton, New Jersey in 1889. They produced American-made belleek porcelain. They were experienced in the production of belleek porcelain after having worked for Ott and Brewer. Artists were hired to handpaint their pieces with florals, scenes, and portraits. Although several marks were used; three contain "CAC". A green wreath was also used for special ordered pieces. Coxon eventually left and Ceramic Art Company was renamed "Lenox, Inc.". The American-made belleek was produced using potters lured from the Irish ware company, Belleek. Production continued until 1930. During World War II, the translucent ivory china that had been used in lighting fixtures since 1910 proved perfect for ship instrumentation, permitting dials to be read even when lit dimly from behind. The military required a stronger material than Lenox had been certified by the Bureau of Standards. Lenox's master craftsmen developed a ceramic that was cast into insulators, resistors, and other specialized forms for use in radar and electronics; "Lenoxite". Since Woodrow Wilson administration, Lenox had been chosen for the official White House china in 1918. Theodore Roosevelt was quoted, "We are dependent upon foreign factories for the very dishes from which the Chief Executive of the United States must eat". In 1826 Congress had decreed that all furnishings for the White House was to be manufactured in the United States. No president felt that a domestic porcelain was worthy of the White House "State Dining Room". Therefore, no American company had competed with companies from China, England, or France. The first families from the Washingtons up to the Wilsons dined and entertained on china that had been produced outside of the United States. The first American-made service was delivered to the White House between August and November, 1918. The pattern was designed by Lenox's chief designer, Frank Holmes. It featured an ivory body surrounded by a deep ivory border with two bands of matte gold encrusted with stars, stripes, and other motifs. It included 1,700 pieces which also bears the presidential seal in raised gold. It remained in service through the administrations of Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt ordered 1,722 pieces of Lenox china in October 1934. The design was patriotic. It has a border of 48 gold stars; one for every state, and the presidential seal in enamel colors on an ivory body. The design was inspired by the president's interest in all things nautical. The stars are against a band of marine blue, with a scroll-like inner band of gold roses and feathers. The motifs were adapted from the Roosevelt family crest. In 1951, the Trumans ordered 1,572 pieces of Lenox china. The pattern includes a border of celadon green with an etched gold band and a 24 karat gold rim on an ivory body. It has a raised gold presidential seal, surrounded by 48 gold stars. In 1945 the president issued an executive order to standardize the seal due to his concern about the varying design of the seal. The china reflects that order. The head of the eagle is turned toward the olive branch of peace clutched in its left talons, instead of toward the arrows of war at the right. It was first used on April 3, 1952, at a luncheon for the Dutch royal family. By the time the Reagan administration had begun State dinners had become so large that none of the White House china would accomodate the large number of guests. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy, ordered 4,370 pieces, place settings for 220 people. First Lady Nancy Reagan developed a pattern with bands in scarlet, her favorite color. The bands vary in width and are framed on each side with etched gold, on soft ivory. The presidential seal is in raised gold, partially overlays the red border. On the service and dessert plates, gold crosshatching overlays the red. During the Clinton administration, the bicentennial of the White House as home to America's first families took place. John Adams, the second president, was the first president to take residence there on November 1, 1800. In commemoration, President Clinton and First Lady, Hillary, ordered 300 12-piece place settings in 2000. The Clinton administration china features a border of pale yellow, with images of the White House facades, in place of the presidential seal. Each piece is decorated with a different pattern. The motifs were derived from architectural features found in the State Dining Room, East Room, and Diplomatic Reception Room. The china was first used at a dinner attended by former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush, their wives, and Lady Bird Johnson, former first lady. Lenox tableware is also in use in the Vice President's official residence, 300+ U.S. embassies, and in governors' mansions. MARKS There are two marks that were used on older pieces of Lenox; a green wreath or a palette. The palette mark was used on pieces given to amateurs that handpainted as a hobby. The current mark is a gold stamped mark. The earlier marks are preferred by collectors. To view two examples of vintage Lenox China: Autumn Dinnerware Lowell Dinnerware RESOURCES: Lenox History Warman's Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide-32nd Edition Kovel's Antiques & Collectibles Price List 2003 Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide - 18th Edition, 2000

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