• Metlox Pottery
• Royal China
In 1921, T.C. Prouty and his son, Willis Prouty, founded a company called "Proutyline Products" in Hermosa Beach, CA. Proutyline produced, and sold, primarily architectural tiles.
In 1927, Metlox was opened as a division of Proutyline, with a factory in Manhattan Beach, CA. The name Metlox was a combination of the words "metal" and "oxide." At this time, Metlox primarily produced large, ceramic, outdoor signs for movie theatres.
In 1931, T.C. Prouty passed away, and his son, Willis, took command of Metlox. Willis diversified the company's offerings and expanded into dinnerware. In 1932, Metlox produced its first line of dinnerware, the "200 Series." The "200 Series" was also called "Poppytrail." "Poppytrail," was known for its brightly colored glazes.
Other Metlox product lines included:
In addition to kitchenware, Metlox produced a very popular, and collectible, line of large ceramic horses and carriages in the 1950s. Carl Romanelli designed vases, figurines and miniatures for Metlox. A line of collectible ceramic people planters called "Poppets," designed by studio potter Helen Slater, were produced starting in 1970.
During World War II, Metlox's production lines switched from dinnerware to shell castings and fasteners for the armed forces.
After the war, Metlox attempted to add a line of toys, but these were not successful, and the company began losing money.
In 1946, Metlox was sold to Evan K. Shaw, owner of the Evan K. Shaw Company and American Pottery. Metlox dinnerware was marketed at this time using the trade name "Poppytrail."
Evan Shaw hired Bob Allen and Mel Shaw as his art directors. Both Bob Allen and Mel Shaw had a background in cartoon art. Mel Shaw worked on the Disney classics "Bambi" and "Fantasia."
As art directors, Bob Allen and Mel Shaw would be the creators of the popular "California Provincial" and "Homestead Provincial" patterns.
Allen and the Shaw's would also create some of the most fanciful dinnerware forms of the 1950's. Dinnerware patterns such as "Aztec" and "California Freeform" used forms that would come to define that era of dinerware.
In 1958, Faye Bennison decided to close Vernon Kilns and sold the rights to the Vernonware name to Shaw.
In the 1970’s, Metlox began to fall out of favor, and lose market share among American consumers.
In 1980, Evan Shaw passed away and control of the company passed to his daughter, Melinda Avery.
In 1989, Metlox Pottery finally closed it doors.
The Royal China Company opened in 1934 Sebring, Ohio, in 1934 and manufactured ceramic ware until 1986.
Over the years, the company had various owners. Jeannette purchased the company in 1969. In 1975, Jeannette was purchased by the Coca-Cola Corporation. In 1981, Coca-Cola sold Jeannette to the J Corporation, which, in 1984, was purchased by Nordic Capitol. Finally, in 1986, Jeannette filed for bankruptcy and production at Royal China was ceased.
Royal China began by producing overglaze "decal ware". The process involves applying a decal over the glaze and then firing the piece. Decal ware can produce a very fine looking piece, but its main problem is that the decal wears off over time.
The company was also producing, in small quantities, hand-decorated underglaze pieces. These pieces have the design applied to the unfired piece (greenware) or the fired piece (bisque) before the glaze is applied. Since the design is under the
glaze it is protected from wear.
In 1948, Royal began using a machine that could apply the design to a bisque piece. This revolutionized the industry, and allowed Royal to mass produce intricate, yet durable, designs at a low price.
By 1950 Royal was producing only underglaze designs.
Unlike the fine china that families only brought out on special occassions, the inexpensive Royal China was the everyday china. This daily use lead to wear and breakage which makes complete sets of Royal China much harder to find at one time.
Although Royal China is most known for its Currier & Ives series, they did produce a number of very modern styles indicative to the 1950's and 1960's.
Some of the modern styles of Royal China are every bit as innovative as designs by more expensive brands.
|Currier & Ives|
|Casa del Sol|