Colorware History & Design

The Maximalist

Vernon Kilns Ultra California

The design of Vernon Kilns Ultra California line is credited to Gale Turnbull, with Jane Bennison contributing the iconic upside-down handles. Vernon Kilns used the Ultra shape on many lines: It was the base shape for designs created by Rockwell Kent, Don Blanding, and Disney. The official name of the shape is unknown, but is commonly called Ultra since the Ultra California line was the first pattern to appear on the shape.

Ultra California came in six colors: Buttercup (yellow), Gardenia (green), Carnation (pink), Aster (blue), white, and maroon. Maroon and white are uncommon. I heard a rumor that Vernon Kilns only produced Gardenia in June for weddings, which is why it scarce. The line was produced from roughly 1938-42. Standard dinnerware pieces are easy to find, serving pieces (with the exception of the teapot, coffee pot and casserole) are rare. Relative to other lines, Ultra is a smaller set with less pieces.

The company brochure below (this is a piece I recreated off of an original brochure) seems to be from early in the line. White and maroon aren’t listed as colors, and there are several pieces missing from the list.

Vernon Kilns Ultra Brochure

Vernon Kilns Ultra Brochure (click to expand)

Vernon Kilns Ultra California Piece Guide

PieceDescription
Bowl, individual, fruit5.5"
Bowl, individual, cereal6"
Bowl, individual, chowder6"
Chowder bowl lid
Bowl, individual, coupe soup8.25"
Bowl, serving, round8"
Bowl, serving, round9"
Bowl, serving, salad11"
Bowl, serving, 1-pint
Bowl, mixing5"
Bowl, mixing6"
Bowl, mixing7"
Bowl, mixing8"
Bowl, mixing9"
Butter tray with cover
Casserole, covered8"
Coffee pot, 2-cup, AD
Coffee pot, 6-cup
Comport, footed9"
Creamer, individual
Creamer, short
Creamer, tall
Sugar, individualopen
Sugar, shortwith lid
Sugar, tallwith lid
Cup / saucer, AD
Cup / saucer, teacup
Cup / saucer, jumbo
Egg cup
Jam jarwith lid
Muffin coverno base
Mug, handled3.5", 8 oz.
Plate, pickle, tab handle6"
Pitcher, 1-pint4.5", open
Lid, 1-pint pitcheroptional
Pitcher, 2-quartopen
Lid, 2-quart pitcheroptional
Pitcher, disk
Plate, bread and butter6.5"
Plate, salad7.5"
Plate, luncheon (small)8.5"
Plate, luncheon (regular)9.5"
Plate, dinner10.5"
Plate, chop (small)12"
Plate, chop (medium)14"
Plate, chop (large)16"
Sauce boat (gravy)
Shakers, salt and pepper
Teapot, 6-cup
Tumbler5"
Tureenette, covered7", notched lid

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