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 Pacific produced Hostessware through at least 1940, production was likely extremely limited. As consumer tastes changed, most manufacturers moved away from “bright” color dinnerware production. By 1941, many of the materials used in 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.

Newspaper Display Advertising
1930s Pacific Pottery Display Advertising
1930s Pacific Pottery Display Advertising
Magazine Advertising & Tablescapes
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