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    

Set 6 Lenox Butterfly Meadow Monarch Floral 10 7/8" Porcelain Dinner Plates ShuSet Of 6 Lenox Butterfly Meadow 11" Large Porcelain Floral Dinner Plates Shu NrRare! Beautiful Lenox Tuxedo Tea Service – Teapot, Creamer, Sugar Bowl – W/gold Set 6 Lenox Butterfly Meadow Dragonfly Large 11" Porcelain Dinner Plates Shu NrLenox Winter Greetings Scenic Large Pitcher~cardinal, Nuthatch-goldfinch BirdsSet Of 7 Lenox Butterfly Meadow 11" Large Floral Scalloped Dinner Plates Nr ShuLenox Ivory China Winter Greetings Scenic Pitcher Mint Condition 9"Set 13 Lenox Butterfly Meadow Tiger Swallowtail Blue Floral 6 1/2" Plates Nr ShuSet 10 Lenox Butterfly Meadow Eastern Tailed Blue 9 1/4" Porcelain Plate Nr ShuLenox Butler's Pantry Covered Oval Dish And One Square Luncheon PlateLenox Butterfly Meadow Paper Towel HolderSet 4 Signed Lenox Butterfly Meadow Blue Porcelain Dessert Fruit Bowls Nr ShuLenox Butler's Pantry Metal Soup Tourine Tureen - Excellent ConditionLenox Holiday Dimension Collection Creamer, Covered Sugar, Hard To Find ShapeLenox Opal Innocence Platinum-banded Bone China 5-piece Place SettingLenox China - Autumn (gold Backstamp) - 5 Pc. Place Setting - A True Auction!6 Lenox China Demitasse Cups With Sterling Holders And Saucers Lenox Charleston China Set Of 4 Soup Coupe Bowls Mint3 Lenox Butterfly Meadow Swallowtail Dragonfly Porcelain Coffee Tea Mugs Nr ShuLenox Holiday (dimension) Salt & Pepper Mint Shape Pair Hard To FindBeautiful Lenox Heather Tea Service – Teapot, Creamer, Sugar Bowl – W/gold Lenox White House Exhibit Collection China 1918Lenox "castle Garden" Cream China 10 1/2" Dinner Plates - Set Of (4)Lenox "versailles" 5-piece Place Setting No. 1 -- Never Used & MintLenox Winter Greetings Cardinals Birds Metal Tray 16"Lenox China: Winter Greetings: Tartan Cedar Waxwing: 5 Salad Plates: Exc: Nr4 Lenox Butterfly Meadow Bowls, For Rice, Pasta, Cereal, Serving/excellentLenox Holiday Jewel 3 Piece Flatware Serving Set New In Box Lenox Holiday Jewel 2 Piece Dessert Flatware Serving Set New In Box Lenox Autumn Gold Label China 5 Vintage Lenox China Blue Tree Demitasse Cup & Saucer Sets Gold MarkLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Chickadee Breakfast Mug/cup And Saucer Set 4 Lenox British Colonial Tradewind Pasta/rim Soup Bowls 80s Vintage Lenox Versailles 5-piece Place Setting Mint Never UsedLenox Eternal 3 Piece Serving Set - Oval And Round Bowls And Round PlatterLenox "butlers Pantry" Metal And Ceramic Tray 9.75 InchLenox The Orchard Covered Vegetable BowlLenox Butterfly Meadow Gorgeous Covered Bowl 1st Quality New In Box Flowers CuteNew Lenox Butterfly Meadow Salt & Pepper Set Lenox Holiday Salt And Pepper Set New In BoxLenox Federal Platinum Fine Bone China 5 Piece Place Setting, Service For 10Lenox China Winter Greetings Decoupage Large Round Glass Platter 14.5"Vintage Lenox China Silver Overlay Cobalt Blue Glazed Sugar JarVintage Lenox China Silver Overlay Cobalt Blue Glazed Condiment Relish JarLenox Deco Leda & The Swan Lamp Cream BisqueLenox China - Eternal - 9" Round Vegetable Bowl, Ivory With Gold Trim4 Pc Lenox Oxford Bone China Bryn Mawr 10 5/8" Dinner Plates Lot - Used4 Lenox Temperware Blue Breeze 6 1/8" Soup Cereal BowlsVintage Lenox 2 Handled Candy Or Nut Dish-made For Fredrick Keer's & Son NjLenox China: Winter Greetings: Tartan Cedar Waxwing: 2 Dinner Plates: Exc: NrLenox Butterfly Meadow Cake Stand Pretty Cake StandLenox Eternal Salt And Pepper Shakers Ivory With Gold Trim Gold MarkingLot Of Two (2) Lenox Vases - Reticulated/pierced Heart Pattern And Rose DesignLenox Holiday Ferris Wheel Musical Centerpiece 9961445Lenox Deco Leda & The Swan Lamp Cream BisqueKate Spade Lenox Sandpiper Mugs Set Of 4Beautiful Lenox Chocolate Or Demitasse Pot W/ Sheffield Co.sterling Silver BaseLenox China - Eternal Gold Pattern - 16" Oval PlatterLenox Barclay 4 Piece Place Setting; Dinner, Bread, Cup And SaucerNew Lenox China Autumn Fruit/dessert/sauce Bowl