Colorware History & Design

The Maximalist

Pacific Pottery Lines

Hostessware

In 1932, looking for ways to stay afloat as their commercial pipe and tile business declined and seeing the success that their Lincoln Heights neighbor, JA Bauer & Sons, was having with their California Colored Pottery dinnerware, Pacific Clay Products’ pottery department rolled out their new dinnerware line, called Hostessware. By the end of its ten year run in 1942, Hostessware boasted eight different colors and an end-to-end line of more than 200 different pieces, making it one of the largest and most comprehensive dinnerware sets every produced.

Pacific Pottery Hostess Ware Colors

Pacific Pottery Hostessware Colors (L-R: Apache Red, Apricot, Desert Sand (early version of Apricot), Yellow, Silver Green, Aqua, Delphinium Blue, Pacific Blue, Sierra White)

Decorated Hostessware

Around late 1934, Pacific introduced their “decorated” lines – a series of glazed patterns on the Hostessware shape. More than 100 patterns have been documented, but the designers remain anonymous and there are no official pattern names. Decorated-ware often has a painted notation on the bottom indicating a pattern ID. The more commonly found patterns are the BG (plaids), 2007 (rimmed circle), P & E (vines and buds), BF (hub and spoke), and the looping BH (sine wave). Decorated Hostessware is highly desirable to collectors and commands a price premium. It’s hard to find, but pieces show up on the market from time to time.

Coralitos & Arcadia

By late 1937 in response to consumer demand and changing tastes, Pacific freshened their dinnerware lines by adding Coralitos. Coralitos came in six new solid colors: Cielito Blue, Coral, DuBonnet, Verdugo Green, Mission Ivory and Dorado Yellow. Also reflecting changing tastes, Pacific joined the pastel bandwagon around the same time with their Arcadia line. Coralitos and Arcadia are both extremely hard to find (not all pieces were marked) and are not very desirable amongst collectors.

Artware

Through the 1930s, Pacific’s artware division continued to turn out a retinue of vases, figurines and other decorative table and floralware. While most commonly found glazed in pastels, many artware pieces also appear in bright Hostessware glazes. With the exception of a few pieces (or certain glaze colors), artware is fairly common and inexpensive.

Hand-Painted Dinnerware

In the early 1940s, Pacific continued production of Hostessware, Coralitos and Arcadia, and began adding in some complementary patterns. The Dura-Rim line borrowed from Arcadia and featured an embossed forget-me-not flower pattern. Spurred by the success of Gladding-McBean’s new success and consumer appetite for painted dinnerware with their Desert Rose line, Pacific launched a series of hand-painted patterns, including California Grape, Hibiscus, Strawberry and Tiger Lily. With Pacific winding down their pottery operations during this time, it is likely that very little of these patterns were produced.

Gardenware

Pacific Pottery Jardiniere

Pacific Pottery Jardiniere

The gardenware department within the Pacific Pottery division produced a wide variety of floor vases, sand jars, planters and other gardenware items during the late 1920s, early 1930s. These pieces are are highly sought after by collectors. Gardenware items are typically found in early glaze colors (Apache, yellow green, blue). As Pacific Clay Products shifted more towards houseware and dinnerware lines, they began to include smaller jardinieres, planters and cactus pots suitable for inside. These smaller pieces were likely came out of the Artware division, and around found in the pastel glazes used in artware.

Stoneware

Pacific Pottery Blended Glaze Ball Pitcher

Pacific Pottery Blended Glaze Ball Pitcher

In the 1920s, Pacific produced a variety of stoneware and sanitary ware. The early lineup included crocks, poultry feeders, bowls, beanpots and vases. While most of the pieces are standard white or brown stoneware, early colored glazes were used as well. By the mid 1920s, Pacific introduces their “blended glazes,” which were created by spraying the piece with different colors (most often blue, green, brown and red).

In December 1925, Pacific Clay presented the Sawtelle Veterans Hospital in Los Angeles with a special series of vases (“Sawtelle vases”). The December 27, 1925 article in the Los Angeles Times article states:

Patients at the veterans’ hospital at Sawtelle will not be without vases for flowers that relatives and friends send to the institution to add cheer to the wards and rooms during the Christmas holidays.

This became known yesterday when it was announced by Robert Linton, general manager of Pacific Clay Products, that his company is having special moulds made at one of its plants for ten dozen vases of different sizes suggested by Col. James A. Mattison, head surgeon at the hospital, which will be presented to the institution before Christmas with compliments of the clay products company. The vases will be of glazed stoneware.

Pacific Pottery Stoneware Crock

Pacific Pottery Stoneware Crock

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