Metlox California Pottery Line
Carl Gibbs, author of Metlox Pottery, wrote that Metlox launched their first colorware line “California Pottery” (sometimes called the “100 Series” by collectors) around 1932. He states the company’s “initial venture was 100 California Pottery, a modest line composed of place settings items plus a few standard serving pieces.” Metlox launched the much more extensive and longer running “200 Series” in 1934 and it is assumed that the 100 Series was retired at that time. However, through extensive research across newspaper display advertising archives, collector Carl Carter challenges this assumption finding a complete absence of any retail advertising regarding the “California Pottery” line in 1932 and 1933. In fact, Metlox doesn’t began advertising until 1934.
Carter calls into question the existence of the 100 line during that earliest period without some other evidence to place it there. While Gibbs infers that California Pottery represents Metlox’s first foray into dinnerware (almost like a trial run before the 200 Series), it is more likely that the absence of the “California Pottery” line in the company price lists (and the reason that the pieces did not feature the Metlox brand name), is because it was not intended for retail sale, but produced as a promotional or “premium” line. This would be consistent with the Mission Bell line initially developed as an exclusive for Sears, Roebuck and Company and then offered as an exclusive to the May Company department stores in 1938.
Additional evidence of a later production timeline for California Pottery is the use of the “Rust” glaze not offered in the 200 Series before 1937. It seems likely that Metlox produced California Pottery from early 1938 through 1941, with stock clearance carrying forward through 1942, MUCH later than originally thought.