I received an email from a reader requesting some information about the Syracuse China Company because her Mother had a set of dishes that she prized highly. Unfortunately it is hard to give any good information when there are no pictures attached – pictures of the pattern, but most importantly the mark. The picture at left is one of the patterns in the “Federal Shape”.
The mark tells an appraiser how old it is, when it was made and where, whether it was made for local sales or for export – and a lot more. In this case the info I received indicated that the dishes were made in the Federal shape but I have no idea of the pattern itself.
The Syracuse China Company had its earliest beginnings in 1841. W.H. Farrar operated a pottery to make Rockingham style pottery whiskey jugs, butter crocks, mixing bowls, clay animals etc. From 1855 until 1871 it was known as Empire Pottery. The Empire company added a line of whiteware to their products.
In 1871 it was reorganized again under the name Onondaga Pottery Company until 1966 when the name became Syracuse China. Apparently, according to the book “Lehrer’s Encyclopedia of US Marks on Pottery, Porcelain and Clay” this is confusing to the collectors because the Syracuse china mark was used since 1879 but only on a particular type of china – china that bore the New York Coat of Arms. This is what started their success.
Over time however several different types of china products were added to the line. Lehrer’s Encyclopedia features five pages worth of information on this company including marks and dating Coding. It’s worth checking this out to gain a better understanding of the company and its products.