Colorware History & Design

The Maximalist

Pacific Pottery Advertising

Pacific Clay primarily sold Hostessware through large full-service department stores and specialty shops in Southern and Central California, although their distribution network extended into other western states (Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona). While there was a nationwide distribution push in the mid-1930s, I haven’t seen any newspaper display advertising further east than Chicago. That said, Life magazine published an ad in 1938 with national distribution outlets for Coralitos. All the locations are either better name department or specialty stores.
Here we have a 1935 Hostessware advertisement from the famous Marshall Fields department store in downtown Chicago:

Marshall Fields, Chicago -1935

Marshall Fields, Chicago -1935

“Bringing the romance of the early West to modern tables. Colors as glorious as the painted desert: Apache Red, Pacific Blue, Lemon Yellow, Jade Green, Sierra White. Potting technique convincingly primitive. Individual pieces to brighten an otherwise dull table, or complete services that promise riotous color contrasts. Priced surprisingly low at Bullock’s.”

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 (in this ad we have “jade green” (also known as “silver green”) and “powder blue” (delph blue)). Fortunately, in this particular piece, the designers did accurately draw out actual Pacific Hostessware pieces. What’s interesting about this ad is that we can see that in 1935, there were six colors available. Without access to company records, it’s impossible to accurately gauge when colors were added (my best guess is that Aqua and Apricot were probably added around 1936-37). Another item of interest is the placement of the punch cup with the saucer. I did purchase two sets like this from a dealer in Chicago – #313 punch cups paired with the larger #609 coffee cup saucer. In large department stores, merchandisers would create their own pottery pairings and displays.

The two largest sellers of Pacific Pottery dinnerware lines were in downtown Los Angeles’s department store row. Both 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) was a specialty china shop. In fact, Parmelee billed themselves as “the largest china and arts goods store on the Pacific Coast.”

Pacific Pottery Advertising Pieces

Pacific Pottery Coralitos - Life Magazine 1938

Pacific Pottery Coralitos – Life Magazine 1938

Pacific Pottery Hostess Ware Decorated - 1937

Pacific Pottery Hostess Ware Decorated – 1936-37

Pacific Pottery Advertising - 1936

Pacific Pottery Advertising - 1936

Pacific Pottery Advertising – 1936

Pacific Pottery Advertising - 1936

Pacific Pottery Advertising – 1936

Pacific Pottery at Parmelee - 1930s

Pacific Pottery at Parmelee – 1930s

Bullock's - Christmas 1937 - California Pottery

Bullock’s – Christmas 1937 – California Pottery

Pacific Pottery Sego Premium - 1930s

Pacific Pottery Sego Premium – 1930s

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