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    

Lenox Winter Greetings Christmas Cardinal 5 Pc Service For 4 Excellent ConditionLenox Winter Greetings Christmas Cardinal 4 Pc Service For 6 Excellent ConditionLenox Winter Greetings Christmas Cardinal 10 Rim Soup Bowls - 4 New With Tag Lenox Holiday Tartan Dimension Collection Pedestal Bowl With HandlesLenox Holiday Tea - Coffee Pot With Lid Used For Display Only Perfect ConditionHard To Find Vintage Lenox Old Black Mark Ming Birds Stemmed Compote BowlLenox Tyler 5 Piece Placesetting For 8 - 40 Pieces Black Band With Gold RopesLenox Maywood Dinnerware Service For 12 In Absolutely Mint Condition-60 Grand PcLenox China ~ Autumn Pattern ~ Oval Vegetable Serving Bowl ~ Gold RimLenox Holiday Nouveau Accent Mug - Gold TrimLenox Holiday 7.5" Serving Bowl - Never Used!12 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Salad Plates ~ Presentation White ~ Gold RibbonLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Cardinal 4 Fruit,berry Bowls,mc ClungSet Of 4 Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday 10.5" Dinner Plates- Never Used Set Of 4 Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday 10.5" Dinner Plates- Never Used 8 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Salad Plates ~ Presentation Ivory ~ Gold RibbonLenox China Winter Song 20 Piece Set Never Used Dinner Luncheon Dessert Plate !!4 Lenox Lowell P67 Fine China Gold Band Cream Soup Bowl & Saucer Green BackstampLot 4 Lenox Temple Collection Citation Gold 5 Piece Place Settings Plates,saucerLenox Tyler 9" Round Covered Vegetable Bowl Black Band With Gold Ropes4 Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday Soup Bowl -3 Goldfinch & 1 Chickadee- NewFour Lenox "winter Greetings Everyday" Mugs - Two CardinalsLenox "holiday" Pattern Six Dessert Bowls2 Lenox Tyler 9" Oval Vegetable Bowls Black Band With Gold RopesLenox China Holiday Place SettingLenox Ivory With Holly Holiday Carved Teapot Pine Cone China By Lenox, Set Of 4 Salad PlatesLenox Holiday 8 - 5 Pieces Place Settings Plus Serving Dishes Bowls Cake StandLenox Holiday China 4 Piece Set Of 4 Place SettingsLenox Dimension Collection Holiday Oval Serving Bowl New Mint Lenox "winter Greetings Everyday" 14.25" Long Tray - Two CardinalsLenox China Christmas Holiday Salt & Pepper Carved Shaker /s Usa Made 1stqualitySet Of 2 Lenox Lace Point 4 Piece China Plates / Cups / Saucers Place SettingsLenox Windsong Coupe Soup BowlLenox China - Holiday Tartan Christmas Pattern- Cup And Saucer Set (2 Sets)Lenox Tyler Coffee Pot With Lid 7 5/8" Bowl Black Band With Gold Ropes8 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Mugs ~ Cups ~ Butterfly Meadow ~ Insects ~ FloralLenox Aristocrat Vintage 6 Five Place Settings Cream And GoldLenox, U.s.a. ~ *mckinley* ~ Set Of 3 Rimmed Soup Bowls ~ Excellent!! 9 Beautiful Lenox China Platinum Trimmed Soup Bowls Pattern €Lenox China - Holiday Tartan Christmas Pattern- Cup And Saucer Set (2 Sets)The Lenox Spice Garden, Ivory, Set Of 13, 1992Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday Chickadee Creamer & Sugar Bowl Mc ClungLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Chickadee Salt & Pepper Shakers Mc ClungLenox Landmark Platinum 5 Piece Place Setting (x12) Plus More.Lenox Eternal Dinner Plates - Set Of 4 [#1]Set Of 4 Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday 8.5 Salad Plates - Never Used Lenox Eternal 5 Piece Place Setting - New - Ivory With Gold TrimLenox China Rutledge Footed Creamer & Sugar Bowl With Lid P 303 DinnerwareLenox Winter Greetings Scenic Usa Made Serving BowlLenox Eternal Creamer - New - Ivory With Gold TrimLenox Butterfly Meadow - Salt & Pepper Shaker SetPine Cone China By Lenox, Set Of 4 Dinner Plates, W-331Lenox China - Holiday Tartan Christmas Pattern- Cup And Saucer Set (2 Sets)Lenox Mug - Classics Collection - Pattern: Federal Platinum ChristmasLenox Butterfly Meadow - 5th Anniversary Framed Plaque Nib6 Mint Anna Weatherly 12.5" Chargers (sage Green)Lenox 4 Holiday Tartan Dimensions Square Dinner Plates Brand New Made In Usa(8) 3 1/2" Lenox China Holiday Holly & Berries Mugs ExcellentLenox Ming Bird Design Oval Platter