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    

Antique C 1894 Belleek Urn Vase Lamp Lenox Porcelain Floral Transfer Cherub YqzVintage Lenox Butler's Pantry 12" Canister Cookie Jar New With Tag Covered WhiteLenox Set Of Eight (8) Napkin Rings "special Eternal Gold" Pattern 1 7/8" DiamGreat Set Of Eight (8) Lenox 5 3/4" Diameter "mansfield" Bowls, Lovely Gold RimsAntique Limoges Hand Painted Porcelain Cider Jug / Pitcher W Fruit6 Lenox Butterfly Meadow 7" All Purpose BowlsLenox, Butterfly Meadow Chili Bowl W/ Matching Lid. Vintage Lenox Butler's Pantry Soup Tureen & Lid W/original TagsLenox, Butterfly Meadow Oval Baking Dish Lenox Butterfly Meadow Oil Bottle Gift SetVintage Lenox Butler's Pantry Oval Chop Plate And Small Oval Platter New W/ TagsLenox, Butterfly Meadow Large Serving Dish Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday 3-qt Covered Round BakerLenox Butterfly Meadow Baking Dish Lenox Autumn China 7pcs Sauce Bowl (3) Cup Saucer (2) Bread & Butter Plate (2)Lenox Butterfly Meadow China Pitcher Rose Flower Dragon Fly Mint ConditionLenox, Butterfly Meadow, Plate W/ Matching Cover Lid. Lenox, Butterfly Meadow Butterfly Egg Holder Dish Lenox Butterfly Meadow Baking Dish (large) Lenox Butterfly Meadow Paper Towel HolderLenox Winter Greetings Pattern Gravy Boat With Under PlateVintage Set Of Lenox Cups With Sterling Bases Lenox Holiday China Serving BowlLenox, Butterfly Meadow, Dish Divider. Lenox Holiday Dimension Collection Set Of 12 Bread & Butter PlatesSet Of 8 Lenox Butler's Pantry Place Card HoldersLenox, Butterfly Meadow Mini Loaf Pan "lenox" China 2-tier Greenfield Serving PlateLenox Kingsley Ivory Teal Dinnerware 445! Round Covered Vegetable Bowl CasseroleLenox Butterfly Meadow SetLenox Butterfly Meadow Oval Serving Platter, New In BoxMint Lenox Kingsley Ivory Teal China Dinnerware! Set Of 8 Fruit Dessert Bowls!Mint Lenox Kingsley Ivory Teal China Dinnerware! Set Of 8 Demitasse Cups SaucersLenox Autumn Fine Ivory China 5 Piece Set Vintage Mint Condition No Reserve!Lenox Fine Bone China Hannah Platinum Millennium Edition 3 Complete Sets NewLenox Swedish Rose Tea Cup And Saucer (set Of 12)Lenox Butterfly Meadow Childrens Melamine Set Brand New!!!Lenox Poppies On Blue (for The Blue) 7.75" Pasta Bowl - UsedMint Set 8 Vintage Columbia University Plates Lenox Porcelain Milbank Hamilton20-piece Lot! 4 Settings Of Lenox Kingsley Ivory Teal China Dinnerware X-445! Lenox Eternal Ivory W/24kt - 9.38" Round Serving Bowl *mint Cond/orig Owner* 5 Sets Total!!!! 5 Piece Place Setting Lenox Urban Lights DinnerwareLenox China Autumn Small Covered Bowl Rare Vintage Lenox Ballad Luncheon Plate W/sterling Floral Rim, Used 10"Lenox Kingsley Ivory Teal China Dinnerware X-445! Set Of 2 Oval Vegetable Bowls!Lenox Holiday China Butter Dish Condiment Tray Christmas Holly And Berries2 Lenox Holiday Dimension 24k Gold 10 3/4" Dinner Plates Christmas Holly A++ Lenox Dimension Collection Eternal 6" Bread / Dessert PlatesLenox Dolphin Candle SticksLenox Dark Blue Antique 8 Water GobletsLenox China Chirp Pattern 4 Place Mats And 3 NapkinsLenox Fine China "harvest" Service For (8) Mint Cond.white W/gold Wheat PatternLenox Tiffany & Co. Decorative Salmon Fish Plate #8/r.17Oxford Lenox Gravy Boat Dawn With Attached Underplate Bone China Great ConditionLenox Oval Bowl Scalloped Edge W/ Gold Trim - Serving Bowl CenterpieceMint Lenox Kingsley Ivory Teal China Dinnerware X-445! Round Chop Plate Platter!The Lenox Village Recipe Box W/ Lid & Napkin Holder1994 Fine Porcelain NrAnimated Classics Vase Lenox Disney China Round Vase Mickey Mouse MinnieMint Lenox Kingsley Ivory Teal China Dinnerware X-445! 16-inch Oval Platter!Lenox Poppies On Blue Serve And Store 7.25" Bowl With Lid - Gently Used