The America stoneware pattern by Pfaltzgraff showcases a variety of charming, rustic motifs based on designs taken from the “Bird of Paradise” quilt currently housed in the American Folk Art Museum. This pattern is a delightful representation of the Pfaltzgraff Pottery Company, which was founded in America by German immigrants. George Falsgraff, a potter and farmer by trade, opened a pottery in 1811 on 21 acres of land in York County, PA. In 1833, Johann George Pfaltzgraff moved from Germany to York County, and partnered with Falsgraff to locate a pottery factory in Freystown, PA. In 1839, the factory began producing earthenware using local red clay. In 1849, Pfaltzgraff sold the Freystown pottery, and moved to a more rural location outside of town. When Johann George died in 1872, his five sons took over the business, and expanded their lines to include stronger salt-glazed stoneware, and other pieces made from high quality imported clay. In 1894, two of Johann George’s sons, Henry and George teamed up to build a new, modern production facility to streamline and increase production. The factory was built next to a rail line to further increase the spread of Pfaltzgraff products. Most of the company’s records were lost when this factory burned down in 1906, but we do know that over the years the company changed locations and grew, diversifying into glassware and flatware, and eventually emerging as a leader in the American dinnerware market.
Libbey/Rock Sharpe Gibraltar-Clear is pressed glass with a convex bowl that features thumbprint panels with a knobbed stem and round foot. The Gibraltar-Clear design is a fantastic complement to the charming America china and understated Liberty flatware patterns. The Libbey Glass Company was founded in 1818 as The New England Glass Company in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen in “A Collection of American Crystal: A Stemware Identification Guide for Glastonbury/Lotus, Libbey/Rock Sharpe & Hawkes,” William L. Libbey and his son, Edward D. Libbey, purchased New England Glass in the late 1870s and moved the company to Toledo, Ohio in 1888, lured there by an abundance of natural gas and other natural resources in the area. The name of the company was changed to “The Libbey Glass Company” in 1892. In 1893, Libbey staged a huge exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair in which they constructed an entire glass plant on the fairgrounds. Showcasing the glassmaking process to crowds of up to 2,000 at a time, the Libbey exhibit was one of the fair’s most popular attractions, and became a huge marketing success for the company. In 1889, Libbey made a commemorative cut glass punch bowl for President McKinley, and by 1900, Libbey was known as one of the finest cut glass producers in the world. In 1935, Libbey Glass Company merged with Owens-Illinois, another glassmaking company specializing in bottle-making and jar production. In 1948, Owens-Illinois acquired the Cataract-Sharpe Manufacturing Company, which specialized in decorating stemware, tumblers, and accessory pieces supplied by other firms. Libbey is still in operation today, and is currently the second-largest glassmaker in the world.
International Silver Liberty is an alluring stainless flatware pattern with a beautifully chic design. International Silver started as a combination of America’s greatest silver manufacturers. During the American Colonial period, New England was home to many artisans producing high-quality pewter, sterling, and silverplate, primarily in Connecticut. Around 1808, Ashbile Griswold opened a pewter shop in Meriden, Connecticut. Through mergers with regional companies, Griswold’s original shop grew to comprise fourteen silver manufacturers, including Holmes and Edwards (Bridgeport), Meriden Britannia (Meriden), and Rogers Brothers (Hartford). In 1898, the International Silver Company became truly “international,” establishing offices in England and Canada. Throughout the years, International Silver products have remained immensely popular.
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