Pacific Clay primarily sold Hostessware through large full-service department stores and specialty shops in Southern and Central California. Bullock’s Department Store at Broadway & 7th had a huge pottery department and Parmelee-Dohrmann at 436-444 S. Broadway (practically across the street from each other) in downtown LA’s department store row, remained two of Pacific’s largest distributors. In fact, Parmelee billed themselves as “the largest china and arts goods store on the Pacific Coast.”

Pacific extended distribution into other western states (Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona) in the early-to-mid 1930s. You’ll find newspaper display advertising during the period in western publications, but nothing further east than Chicago (Marshall Fields). Around 1936, Pacific made a national play through an advertising campaign in Better Homes & Gardens. In 1938, Pacific published an add in Life magazine listing national distribution outlets for their Coralitos line. All the locations are either better name department or specialty stores.

Bullocks LA
The former Bullock's Department Store - Los Angeles
Pacific Pottery Magazine Advertising
Pacific Hostessware Better Homes & Gardens Advertising Campaign 1936

When you see pottery advertising from the 1930s, the copywriters and designers often substituted in different dinnerware lines or created their own generic pottery pieces to use in the piece. Also, copywriters would also create their own names for the colors – so what you might see in an ad would not be the official company name (for example, “jade green” vs. “silver green” and “powder blue” vs. “delph blue”).

With no company records available, display advertising and company catalogs give us indicators on geographic distribution, timelines and availability of colors, and pricing. For example, we don’t see Aqua and Apricot glazes showing up in advertising until around 1936. Around 1937-38, coinciding with the launch of the Arcadia and Coralitos dinnerware lines, most Hostessware advertising is for “irregulars” and factory closeout pieces. While Hostessware was produced through at least 1940, production was likely extremely limited. With changing consumer tastes, most manufacturers had moved away from “bright” color dinnerware production, and by 1941, many of the industrial materials used in the glazes were no longer available due to wartime needs.

The first Hostessware advertising piece comes from Fresno, California in 1933. We’re also able to date the launch of Decorated Hostessware in 1934 from a gift shop display ad in Covina, California.

Pacific Display Advertising
Various Pacific Pottery display advertising from the 1930s
QwkDog Pacific Informal


Color for Your Table

A Completist’s Guide to Pacific Pottery Hostessware

Want to learn more about Pacific Pottery? Informal is a complete as-we-know it guide to Pacific Pottery and their iconic Hostessware dinnerware line. Meticulously researched and compiled by one of the top Pacific collectors, Informal is an illustrated guide to all of the known Hostessware pieces — including decorated lines — with visuals, designs, and photographs.