Before he co-founded the Ceramic Art Company in 1889 with Jonathan Coxon, Walter Scott Lenox worked at Ott and Brewer of Trenton, New Jersey, a city that was home to some 200 potteries. In the late 19th century, the Ceramic Art Company was just one of many producers of porcelain inspired by Belleek.

Actually, it was more than a case of mere inspiration; William Bromley, Sr., who ran Ott and Brewer beginning in 1883, had worked at the famous Irish pottery. Even before his arrival, O&B was using the word “BELLEEK” on its mark. Thus, Lenox’s training as a designer was steeped in Belleek.

Like a lot of U.S. porcelain makers in the 19th century, the Ceramic Art Company employed a cream-colored, soft-paste-porcelain clay body called parian, which aped the look of Belleek. One of its most popular early Ceramic Art Company pieces was a swan-shaped dish (Lenox still makes a swan dish today, although its details are somewhat simplified). Other influences included the best wares produced in Limoges, France, the English china of Royal Worcester, and dinnerware imported from Japan.

In 1894, Lenox became the sole owner of the Ceramic Art Company; in 1906, the name of the firm was changed to reflect this arrangement. That same year, the San Francisco retailer Shreve & Co. received an order of Lenox china—all but one plate was destroyed in the great San Francisco earthquake. The surviving plate was subsequently used in numerous Lenox advertising campaigns.

Order from Tiffany’s in New York came next and soon Lenox was well regarded for its porcelain dinnerware, which featured transferware decorations, brightened with hand-applied color. Patterns such as Mandarin, Ming, Lowell, and Autumn were all introduced around 1917 and ’18. That year, Woodrow Wilson became the first occupant of the White House to order a set of Lenox—the pattern was Command Performance, 1,700 pieces in all. FDR, Truman, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush are Lenox’s other presidential customers.

In the 1920s, chief designer Frank Holmes created pattern after pattern, including Eternal, Rutledge, and Fountain, which took its cue from Art Deco. During this time, and continuing until 1930, the firm’s mark featured an “L” within a wreath, with the word “LENOX” below.

World War II interrupted the firm’s consumer products, but not its innovation. In particular, Lenox developed Lenoxite, which was used in insulators and radar equipment...

During the Mid-century Modern 1950s, patterns such as Westwind and Jewel were among Lenox’s best sellers. In those years, Lenox also introduced numerous giftware pieces, from ballerinas and other figurines to boxes and vases. Pop art-inspired patterns such as Innovation followed in the ’60s, when Lenox also produced inexpensive, plastic, Melmac ware.

In the early 1970s, Lenox made an annual limited-edition plate featuring artwork by naturalist Edward Marshall Boehm. Each plate had a 24-karat-gold edge, and images ranged from a wood thrush in 1970 to a cardinal in 1976. In 1973, Lenox followed this series with one called Woodland Wildlife, which featured depictions of raccoons, rabbits, and foxes.

Finally, like Royal Copenhagen, Royal Albert, Johnson Brothers, Noritake, and Spode, Lenox has made numerous Christmas plates over the years, in patterns such as Sleighride and Holly. Lenox also produced Christmas tree ornaments, from porcelain bells to little drummer boys, angels, and stars.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

8pcs Lenox Dimension Collection Holiday Tartan Square Salad Plates 9 3/8" 8pcs Lenox Dimension Collection Holiday Tartan Dinner Plates 10 3/4" 8pcs Lenox Dimension Collection Holiday Tartan Coffee Mugs 3.5" TallLenox Dimension Collection Holiday Tartan Oval Vegetable Bowl 10 3/8"Large Lenox Dimension Collection Holiday Tartan Service Chop Plate Tray 11 3/4"Kate Spade New York Pretty Pantry Tea KettleLenox Opal Innocence 5 Place Setting Dinnerware Lenox Dimension Collection Holiday Dish5 Rare Lenox Winter Greetings American Home Collection Square Luncheon Plates NrAntique Lenox Creamer With Silver OverlayVintage Lenox Belleek Yellow Rose Gold Trim Covered SugarLenox Holiday Holly Berry Small Serving Bowl With Gold Trim Retired Set Of 10 Lenox Rhodora Pink Rose Gold Leaf Porcelain Tea Cup Saucer SbrLenox China- Hamilton 5 Piece Place Setting (8 Sets Plus Bowl)Lenox Butlers Pantry Napkin Rings, NibLenox Holiday Tartan Sugar BowlLenox Legendary Princesses Collection Sir Lancelot Figurine #2122 MintAntique American Belleek Lenox Hand Painted Cherries Porcelain Cider Jug PitcherSet Of 6 Lenox Dimension Collection "holiday" Dinner Plates (10 5/8")Lenox Charleston Cosmopolitan Collection Coupe Soup Bowl Salad 7 3/4"Lenox Independence Fine Bone China 5 Piece Place Setting, New In Box6 Vtg Lenox The Autumn Gold Rim Demitasse Espresso Cups Saucers Enameled #1Lenox Maywood Platinum China 9" Round Vegetable Serving Bowl Silver TrimLenox - Scalamandre Zebra Set Of 2 Dof Glasses - NibVintage Lenox Swan CenterpieceLenox Liberty China Teacup And Saucer6 Vtg Lenox The Autumn Gold Rim Demitasse Espresso Cups Saucers Enameled #2Lenox Butlers Pantry Pasta Set Bowl, Pasta Spoon, Spoon Rest, Cheese Shakers Lenox Butterfly Meadow Sky 16" Oval PlatterLenox Butterfly Meadow 2 Tiered Custom Tidbit Serving Tray Cake Stand NewLenox Butterfly Meadow Blue Dinner Plates, Set/4Lenox Decorative Tray Bunny Rabbit Easter Platter DishLenox Holiday 4 Cup And Saucer Sets ExcellentLenox China"rutledge"- Set Of 2 Dinner Plates - Mint Lenox China"giftware- Egg Plate Gold Trim Easter Special - Mint Kate Spade Crystal Gardner Street Bud Vase From Kate Spade For Lenox NibLenox Holiday Fine Ivory China13 3/8" Sleigh Shape Single Bottle Wine CaddySet Of 20 Vintage Lenox Demitasse Porcelain Insert Green Backstamp 4.25" #ba10Lenox Swedish Lodge Collection - Swedish Terrace - 9" Soup/pasta BowlLot Of 5 Lenox Poppies On Blue Soup/cereal Bowls (chinastone)Lenox Crystal Cats Salt & Pepper Shakers Set Made In GermanyLot 6 - Antique China Open Salt Dips Cellars; Lenox/silver Spoon, Limoges France3 Lenox "rutledge' Flat Rim Bowls P-303 6-3/8" Dia.Lenox DishRare Compemporary Lenox Terrace White Tea Cup & Saucer Set Extremely RareLenox Caribbee Bread And Butter Plate(s) Excellent Condition, Set Of 8 AvailableLenox Bouquet Collection Porcelain Rosamond 64 Pieces 24 Piece Lenox China "chirp" PatternEternal Lenox Christmas Accent Plates, Set Of 4 / Brand NewLenox Windsong Gravy Boat & Attached Underplate Lammermoor Pattern Lenox Grand Tier Collection 4 Cups & 4 Saucers Classic(#3300Lenox Federal Platinum Gravy Boat With Under Plate. Excellent Condition!Lenox Butler's Pantry Shell Chip And Dip/2 Tier Shell ServerLenox Butterfly Meadow 3 Tiered ServerLenox Spring Vista China Place Setting 5 Pieces New In Box, Never UsedLenox Swedish Lodge Collection - Swedish Terrace - Rice Bowl 6"4 Pieces Lenox Pine W-331Lenox Butterfly Meadow Lavender Small Rice BowlsLenox Dimensions Holiday "holly Berry" Oval Serving BowlLenox-poppies On Blue All Over Pattern Cloth Napkins Excellent Cond.- Lot Of 6