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    

Kate Spade Lenox Collector Plate Hopscotch Drive About TownAntique Lenox American Belleck Silver Overlay 3 Piece Art Nouveau Tea SetLenox Butterfly Meadow Water PitcherLenox China- Jefferson Presidential 5- Piece Place SettingLenox Butterfly Meadow Egg Platter(4) Antique Lenox American Belleck Silver Overlay Art Nouveau Cup & Saucer Sets12 X 16 Lenox China Holiday Medium Serving Platter 24k Rim Made In UsaLenox A King Is Born Porcelain Figurine In Original Box Jesus Christmas NativityLenox Butterfly Meadow 8-piece Tea Set, Service For 2Lenox Fruits Of Life Cornucopia 4244261 Large 12" Fruit Horn Gold TrimLenox Holiday China Dinner Plates Set Of 10Lenox "holiday" Pattern Holly & Berry Set Of 8 Bread & Butter Plates MintLenox Ballad Dinner Plate With Wallace Sterling Floral Rim 10 Inch Made In UsaLenox Valencia Serving Tray Hand Painted 24 Karat Gold Trim, Handles ~ 16" X 12"Lenox "poppies On Blue" Individual 7 3/4" Pasta BowlLenox "winter Greetings" Teapot Nib Blue BirdSet Of 4 - Lenox Courtyard Gold 9 1/4" Large Pasta / Soup Bowls! **new**2 Sets Demitasse For Lenox Pierced Sterling Silver Holder & Saucers Only No CupsLenox Butlers Pantry White Ladle For Punch Bowl CeramicLenox Winter Greetings (8 Pieces) Chip And Dip,candy Dishes, Vases,candleholdersRare Lenox * Winter Greetings * Fine China 8¾” Square Luncheon Plate / Free ShipLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Metal Casserole Stand W/ Anchor Hocking Dish NrLenox 11 Piece China Glass Storage Container Set Quilted Dinnerware ProtectorLenox Park City Square Tray (nxx/na) Nib Box Opened For Inspection! 4 Kate Spade New York Lenox Grand Tour Tidbit Appetizer 6" Plates Dishes Lenox Holiday Holly & Berry 4 1/2" Sculpted Salt And Pepper Shakers ChristmasLenox "poppies On Blue" Individual 7 3/4" Pasta BowlLenox "poppies On Blue" Individual 7 3/4" Pasta BowlLenox Westchester (m139) 96 Piece Set (service For 12)2-kate Spade Lenox Dandy Lane 5 Pc Place Setting New In BoxLenox China, Debut Collection, Kelly Pattern, 9 3/8" Luncheon Plates (set Of 2)Lenox Butterfly Meadow Divided Dish ~ New In Box With Paperwork4 Lenox Dimension Collection Eternal Bread Plates Cream W/gold Trim6 Lenox "westwind" 5 1/2" Fruit/dessert BowlsLenox Autumn Presidential Collection Gold-stamped Dinner Plate Lenox * Winter Greetings * Fine China 9” Scalloped Chickadee Serving Tray / FsLenox Holiday Dinnerware For Children 3 Pieces Unbreakable NibNew In Box 2 Lenox Winter Greetings Mugs Birds 24kt Gold Trim Catherine Mcclung Lenox "flower Song" Tea / Coffee Cup & Saucer Set Demitasse Vintage Made In Usa!Lenox "poppies On Blue" Individual 7 3/4" Pasta Bowl69 Piece Settings Lenox Mckinley China Presidential Collection New Old StockLenox China Custard / Ramekin W/ Sterling Black Starr & Frost Holder Set Of 8Lenox Pearl Innocence Platinum-banded Fine China 5piece Place Setting Never UsedLenox Holiday Dimension Round Footed Serving Bowl New With Box 10.5" DiameterLenox Venetian Lace Set Of 4 Salad Plates New Platinum RimLenox "eternal" 10" Oval Vegetable Bowl Excellent Unused ConditionLenox Ballad Dinner Plate With Wallace Sterling Rosepoint Rim 10 Inch Vintage NrLenox Holiday Tartan Dinner Plate BeautifulLenox China Mckinley Pattern. Medium Oval Serving PlatterAmerican Belleek Porcelain Willets Gold Encrusted Stein Lenox CacLenox Orchard Jam/ Jelly Jar Collection Lot Of 9Lenox "poppies On Blue" Wallpaper Border 4 RollsRare Ivory Lenox Holiday Tree Plate Trimmed In Gold & Made In UsaLenox Park City Vase (nxx/na) Nib Box Opened For Inspection!6 Lenox "westwind" 6 1/4" Bread & Butter PlatesLot Of 2 Lenox Opal Innocence Carved Soup/cereal Bowls New W/original Wrap2 Lenox Dimension Collection Eternal Dinner Plates Cream W/gold Trim7 Beautiful Lenox Porcelain Dinner Plates ~ Cretan ~ Greek Key ~ Gold Gilt2 Lenox "winter Greetings" 8 1/4" Salad Plates-bone China-never Used2 Lenox China Federal Cobalt Salad