Syracuse China is well known for its sturdy and attractive china produced for the hotel, restaurant and railroad service sectors. However, Syracuse also produced exceptionally fine china for those wealthier and discerning individuals who wanted and could afford to purchase dinnerware that was of a very high caliber.
We have a stunning set of 11 matching cabinet/dinner plates produced by Syracuse China, from Syracuse, New York. (Consider this service for 10 with an extra plate included in case of breakage). Syracuse may not be a manufacturer that porcelain and china collectors would associate with the production of fine china, but this company has a long and interesting history in fine china production. Syracuse China was founded in 1871 as Onondaga Pottery Company (O.P. Co.) in the town of Geddes, New York. Onondaga Pottery initially produced earthenware, but in the late 19th century, Onondaga also began producing fine china. Although the Onondaga pottery was not located near any of the clay beds used in the production of porcelain and china, O.P. Co resolved this problem by shipping the clay in on the railroad. O.P.Co very successfully marketed a sturdy china product to hotels, restaurants, and railroad dining cars, but it also produced finer china for sale to individuals. In 1885, James Pass, the founder's son, joined O.P.Co as Superintendent and later became its President. During his twenty-eight years with the company, Pass made the company a national leader in ceramic research. In 1888 Pass developed America's first truly vitreous china body. He introduced the new china to the public in 1891 with a line of fancy accessory pieces called 'Imperial Geddo'. This new ware won the medal for translucent china at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Two years later, in 1895, the name "Syracuse China" began appearing in the backstamp of this award-winning china. Syracuse China continued to be a leader in ceramics research: During World War II, the company developed and manufactured non-detectable ceramic anti-tank land mines, eventually receiving the distinguished Army-Navy 'E' award for excellence in service to the war effort. Regrettably, the manufacturing facility in Syracuse closed in 2009 after 138 years in operation, and production was removed from the United States.
Our Syracuse plates are, indeed, beautiful and are of a quality equal to the English and European manufacturers of the period. The plates are 10-1/4" in diameter and the border of each plate is 1-1/2" wide, with a gilded, elaborately etched band abutting a wide, richly hued ruby red band. The background of each plate is a rich ivory with a large medallion gracing the center of the plate. The combination of rich gilding and the ruby red is both elegant and exotic. Please note that it is my sister Elizabeth's hand and her camera reflected in the photograph bearing the main image, which includes what appears to be a blue blemish on the plate. There is not! The 'Old Ivory' backstamp on the plate (see photograph) was used from 1927 to 1960, which is a very long span of time. However, it may be possible to 'guesstimate' that this set dates from the late 1920's to the 1930's since the medallion design of the plates is very similar to Limoges and other European plates produced during that same time frame. Alas, while we cannot pinpoint the precise vintage of these plates, we know you will agree that they are absolutely beautiful! These plates have no chips, cracks or abrasions. In fact, the plates look as if they were never used. Perhaps they spent their lives in a china cabinet, or in a box.
This elegant set of dinnerware would make a lovely table setting no matter the time of year, but we could not resist presenting these plates in a holidy setting! The photographs taken of the Syracuse plates show the featured dinner plates alone, and paired with other vintage or antique items of porcelain and crystal. We hope that our viewers will find our table settings helpful in demonstrating how antique, vintage and even modern items can be merged to create an exceptional modern tabletop. Of course, many of the items shown with our Syracuse dinner plates are also for sale and are featured on this website. Please note, this sale is for the eleven Syracuse dinner plates only. For those of you who would be reluctant to use a knife on these fine plates, we suggest that you simply purchase clear plates with a large enough base that the medallions would not be scratched, and place the clear dinner plate over the Syracuse plate.