Category Archives: Mid-Century

Vintage stoneware soup cups, chili bowls

The Labor Day 2015 holiday was last week…officially known as the end of summer here in the U.S.

Before we know it, the weather will  cool down, and we begin to think about mugs of hot chocolate, home made soups cooked slow and with lots of love, as well as our favorite chili recipes.

Do you have a favorite cup to use in the winter, or do you use the same cup year-round?  I tend to switch to a thicker mug to keep my coffee warm in the cooler weather.

I already had a nice variety of cups in my collection, and now that I have an Etsy store, I have even more cups!

I originally listed the cups for the store in the ‘Dining / tabletop section’ but then decided I should create a new category called Wine / Drink and Barware.  

I think it is better to house the cups in this category (and recently added an English “transferware” cup from England —see previous post for more) and separate from all the plates.

Today, I added a 3rd set of a particular style of vintage stoneware cups in the new section.  These cups are wide and can also be used for soup or as chili bowls.

P1310068This new listing features a set with this fun roadrunner image.

Actually, it’s hard not to call roadrunner images as “FUN” because it seems most roadrunner art depict them doing what they do — running — which I find amusing.

Roadrunners are native to the Southwestern deserts of the U.S. and Mexico.  Aptly named, they are quite quick, can run as fast as 20 miles per hour, and are one of few animals that prey on rattlesnakes.  Very cool birds!

These cup / bowls are unmarked, but very similar to 1980s era and earlier Otagiri cups.

I love the look and feel of these vintage, wide rim cups.

Here are other similar sets listed for the shop:

P1240877 A pair with a bright and simple flower power motif  (listed here on Etsy)

P1240803And this gorgeous blue hued pair with peacocks / peafowls which remind me of  art nouveau  styles (no longer available on the shop).

And speaking of chili recipes, I saw a segment of the Cook’s Country cooking show on PBS this weekend that showcased a Colorado Green Chili recipe.

We usually make red chili with beef, but this recipe looked amazing, using pork, 2 lbs of Anaheim peppers and 2 jalapeno peppers.  They added the jalapeno to approximate the taste of Hatch or New Mexico chile peppers.

One of my favorite food to eat is Chile Relleno, which is often made with Anaheim peppers in place of the ‘poblano’ type peppers, and so already, I was intrigued and ended up watching the entire episode.

Colorado Chili Recipe Cooks Country
Colorado Green Chili photo via Cook’s Country website

It will definitely be one that I will try out during these cooler autumn months.  If you want to try it too, the recipe can be accessed through this link (you do have to register with the Cooks Country website).

What is your household’s favorite chili recipe?  The more traditional red chili or do you have favorite, more unusual chili recipe?

Does it matter to you what cup or bowl you use, or do you have special mugs for hot chocolate, or special soup and chili bowls?

Updated 12/1/2015 with photos of the Hull USA Pottery vintage chili bowls I recently listed on the shop.

P1370085 Love this bowl and plate set!

Click on the photos to see the listing on Etsy.  The plate / chili bowl set and the single chili cup listed separately.


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Vernon Kilns and the early California “Big 5” Pottery Companies

If you sell items on Etsy or EBay, sooner or later, you will run into pottery objects from California — and especially one originating from what is known as the “Big 5” California potteries.

Franciscan Jamoca Cup and Saucer Set 1
Franciscan — by Gladding McBean Co. — footed cup and saucer in the “Jamoca” pattern

I’ve posted about Gladding McBean — one of the “Big 5’s” — as I owned and listed Franciscan  dinnerware items in the Jamoca pattern.

I recently listed a pair of hand-painted “Vernonware” / Vernon Kiln salad plates  manufactured between 1937 and 1958.

You can click on the photo of the Vernonware handpainted “Organdie” pattern plates to view the Etsy listing.


Founded in 1931, Vernon Kilns was based in Vernon, California (about 5 miles south of downtown Los Angeles) and created many ceramic tableware patterns, as well as art ware, figurines and gift ware.

In 1940, they signed a contract with Walt Disney to produce film-related figurines based on characters from the films Dumbo, Fantasia and the Reluctant Dragon.

Especially because of their association with Walt Disney, it it safe to say you will run into not only tableware made by Vernon Kilns, but also collectible figurines (though I have not, as of yet… but then my pottery interest are more related to dining, cookware, garden pots and vases and not figurines).

As of September, 2015, if you type in “Vernonware” in the Etsy search box, you will get 18 pages of listings for over 700 objects!

Here is an image of the 1st page.  So many choices…

Vernonware on Etsy

It seems the hand-painted  “Organdie” pattern was popular and available in many shapes, so it would be easier to collect items in this pattern.

The Organdie pattern was designed by Gale Turnbull, who was hired by Vernon Kilns as their art director in 1935.

Vernon Kilns closed in 1958 due to increasing manufacturing and labor costs, as well as competition from foreign-made ceramic tableware and figurine manufacturers.

Besides Gladding, McBean & Co. and Vernon Kilns, the other “Big 5” were:

  • Pacific Clay Products
  • J.A. Bauer Potteries
  • and the Metlox Manufacturing Company — who, interestingly,  purchased Vernon Kilns and continued to make some of the Vernon Kiln items, until Metlox also closed down in the late 1980s.

Here is a Vernonware pitcher listed in the shop (in the “Sherwood” pattern – and San Clemente shape) that continued to be made by Metlox (manufactured between 1958 to 1965).

Updated 2016 with this listing — You can click on the pitcher photo to see the listing in my Etsy Vintage shop.

Please comment about your own California pottery finds — I’d like to know more about about companies beyond the “Big 5” as well.

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The Lonborg Denmark cast iron / blue enamel item — a “Brutalist” bowl?

When I purchased these beautiful Dansk 1960’s era casseroles in the Fluted Flamestone line, it came with  bonus piece.

Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 3 quart casserole (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)
Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 2 quart casserole with a tagine-like dome top (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)

The bonus piece was a cast iron “bowl”.

The prior owner thought the bowl was a Dansk piece and part of the set.

It was not.P1250659In fact, it wasn’t  a Dansk item at all but it could have possibly been purchased with the casseroles in mind.

The bottom of this lovely cast iron piece had  nice clear stamp — so it was easy enough to get preliminary information.

P1250657Within Etsy’s search box, I found  a listing for the item from  an Etsy seller in the United Kingdom:

UK ListingI do my best to research the objects that I list on my store, so it was interesting to see this listing and the title.

The listing title included the words “Brutalist” and Space Age.

A quick search yielded this Wikipedia article about the term Brutalist — a term not yet familiar to me.

Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century.

The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete).

British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style.

I have seen sculptures described as Brutalist — like this steel and brass piece from the Etsy Store Luola.

Brutalist Sculpture
Vintage mid century free standing brass and Steel Sculpture from the Etsy Store LUOLA (click on image to visit store and listing) PHOTO BY LUOLA and description: A lovely modern / Brutalist interpretation of birds in flight. Carefully crafted from steel and brass. In great vintage condition.


So I suppose the term can also be used to describe objects, like the Lonborg Denmark cast enamel item?

A search on EBay yielded this Lonborg listing and an answer to this item’s original use:

Lonborg piece EBay Listing

Ah… so it’s a piece that was part of a warming trivet pack to keep food warm.  Clever, right?

Before I listed the item on my shop, another Etsy “Lonborg” search yielded this listing:

Buffet Warmer

Wow — it seems like my item would be a great match for this buffet warmer (and Lauride Lonborg) listing .

I’ve added the link to my listing page in case someone needs both in their mid-century modern dining collection.

How awesome would it be to have this vintage set to keep food contained in oven to table casseroles nice and warm for a buffet style party…

Here is my listing (you can click on the image to see the item on my Etsy store):

Lonborg Piece as Listed on Etsy

I’m posting this information so that if someone runs into this particular object in the future, they will at least have this blog post to learn what it was used for / or sold as.

And too… I suppose it is to avoid misnaming items.

Let me know if you have seen or are familiar with this piece.  Have you used one?

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Related: Another item listing with a link to an Etsy Seller – The Meaning of Handgemalt