Our Museum Feature this month is a condiment set in the elegant 175 porcelain pattern by Noritake. This beautiful set features a graceful applied gold design and includes a mustard jar with a lid and spoon, a salt & pepper set, a toothpick holder, and a tray. According to Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen in their book “Noritake: Jewel of the Orient,” the 175 pattern was typically referred to as “White and Gold” or “White and Gold (175)” in Noritake company literature, and was produced from 1906 to 1992 – making it one of the longest-produced Noritake patterns.
The origins of Noritake begin with the founding of a company titled Nippon Toki Kabushiki Kaisha, Ltd. in Japan in early 1904. It was much later, in the 1980s, when the company officially assumed the name Noritake Company. In 1876, years prior to the founding of Nippon Toki Kabushiki Kaisha, Ltd., Ichizaemon Morimura VI and Yutaka Morimura formed Morimura Brothers, Inc. It was a trading company dedicated to exporting traditional Japanese products. Ichizaemon Morimura VI had been a visionary and supporter of modernization for Japan. From this earliest period, Morimura sought to adapt quality Japanese art and skilled craftsmanship to the needs, designs, and market appeal of the American consumer. It was the Morimura brothers’ success at matching Japanese production with designs popular in America that led to the birth of Noritake in 1904.
Around 1920, Noritake production was divided into two main categories: Dinnerware and Fancy Ware. Fancy Wares included but were not limited to decorative plates, vases, ash trays, and many other items. Both lines were designed for the American market in New York and produced in Japan. This controlled attentiveness to design was a major benefit for Noritake. Noritake did well in giving American consumers shapes and decorations they could relate to and wanted. American design, quality products, and progressive advertising from the earliest years created an incredibly strong position for Noritake in the tableware market.
Many Noritake products showcased cutting-edge Art Deco design during the late 1920s. However, during and after the Great Depression, the company’s designs were markedly more pragmatic. After World War II, Noritake focused on production that embraced the culture and design interests of the countries it produced for. By November of 1947, Noritake, Inc. of the United States was organized and operating in New York. Today, Noritake remains one of the world's largest manufacturers of tableware with production facilities located around the world.
Although the 175 condiment set in our museum is not for sale, we do have a variety of exquisite Noritake 175 items available for purchase in our inventory; be sure to browse our web site. And remember that we always invite you to visit our facilities – here you'll see a stunning variety of silver, china, crystal, and collectibles! Our 500,000-square-foot facilities hold more than 12 million individual pieces in more than 425,000 patterns! Our showroom and museum are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm ET, 7 days (except holidays); free tours are available from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ET, 7 days. The showroom and museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you!