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 Holiday 9" Soup Bowls (set Of 15) Used OnceLenox Holiday 10,5" Dinner Plates (set Of 28) Used OnceLenox Orchard In Bloom Stackable Tea Set Teapot Cup & Saucer *excellent*Lenox Holiday Gravy Boat Used Once! $199.95 Lenox Butterfly Meadow 5 Piece Tea / Coffee Set - New With TagsLenox Autumn 15 7/8" Platter Gold Backstamp GreatLenox Winter Greetings TeapotLenox Holiday Sugar Bowl With Lid And Creamer (perfect)New Lot 2 Lenox "eternal" China Serving Bowl & Gravy Boat DishLenox "winter Greetings" Large Ivory W/cardinals Pitcher - Catherine McclungLenox China Holiday Holly Dimension Mugs Set Of 4 Mint Unused -tags Still On!Vintage Lenox Eternal Bone China 5 Pc. Place Setting Ivory Gold Trim - Brand NewLenox Chinastone Poppies On Blue Pasta Bowls (5)Lenox Winter Greetings Christmas Scenic Serving Bowl Ec Gold Trim Cardinal BirdBeautiful 8 Pc Lenox Dimension Collection Holiday Water Tumbler Goblet Glasses Lenox Ivory China Holiday Pattery Medium Serving Tray Holly Berry Christmas Kate Spade Gardner Street Wedding FlutesLenox "holiday " Holly With Gold Rim 20 Piece Dinner Set Nib5 Pc Place Setting Lenox China Opal Innocence Dinnerware Pearl White PlatinumLenox Holiday Bread/butter Plates (set Ot 5) Used OnceLenox Holiday Gatherings Berry Butter Plate And CoverAntique Lenox Cobalt Blue Coffee Pot With Silver Overlay Elegant DecoLenox Beehive Honey Pot Butterfly Meadow In Original Box With Lid & SpoonLot 2 Pair Lenox Charleston Pattern Tall Candle Sticks Holders Stunning PerfectEarly Vintage Lenox Porcelain Beehive Honey Jar W/bees~lid~original Tag! Nr!Lenox Autumn Pair Of CandleholdersSix (6) Lenox China Presidential Westchester Footed Cup & Saucer Sets M139Lot 3 Lenox Temple Collection Citation Gold 5 Piece Place Settings Plates,saucerLenox Floral Fusion 20pc Dinner Set Bowls Cups Plates Salt Pepper Sugar 8 Beautiful Vintage Lenox Porcelain Dinner Plates Tuscan Orchard Scrolls GoldLenox Holiday * Oval Serving / Vegetable Bowl * 10 1/4" Christmas Holly * Exc!Lenox China Holiday Holly Dimension Dinner Plates -set Of 2 - Tags Still On!Lenox "holiday" 5-pc Place Setting - Popular Christmas Pattern!!!Set Of 7 Lenox Special 5 1/2 Inch Bowls With Gold Trim Lenox Demitasse In Gorham Sterling Holders, Six (6), C. 1900 Fabulous!!Lenox Winter Greetings Fine Ivory China Goldfinch Luncheon Plate Mint 9 3/8 MintLenox Winter Greetings Everyday All-purpose / Cereal BowlLenox China Christmas Tree Shaped Holiday Tartan Pattern Candy Dish BowlLenox Holiday Cups & Saucers (set Of 12); Used Once!Lenox Punch BowlLenox First Blessing Porcelain Nativity Figurine, Shepherd With LambLenox Butterfly Meadow Stackable Tea Set With Bag Holder Nib @look@Lot Of Vintage Lenox "tuxedo" Pattern Demitasse Cups And Saucers 24.95nr!!!Lenox Holiday Set If 8 Dessert Plates NwobSet Of 4 Lenox Classic Edition Bone China Dinner Setting Bowl Dinner Plate Lenox Holiday Assorted Pieces. Bread Plate, Plate,vase,teacup,candy Dish2 Lenox Holly & Berries 6 Inch Bowls With Gold TrimLenox China Christmas Holiday Salt & Pepper Carved Shaker /s Usa Made 1stquality50 Piece Lenox Weatherly Service For 8 With ServingLenox Autumn Salt And Pepper, Gold Stamp.Lenox Holiday Coffee PotLenox Eternal Coffee Pot 5 CupLenox Blue Tree B300, Blue Mark, Oval Vegetable Bowl, Mint8 Beautiful Vintage Lenox Porcelain Salad Plates Tuscan Orchard Scrolls GoldLenox Red Ruby Champagne Flutes, Set Of 2 Christmas Etched HollyBeautiful Lenox Eternal Oval Vegetable Bowl 10"(2) Lenox China Holiday 10 3/4 Inch Dinner Plates-made In U.s.a. Set Of 4 Lenox Dimension Collection, Holiday Dinner PlatesLenox Winter Greeting Tartan Everyday 14 1/2" Serving PlatterLenox China Christmas Holiday Tartan Pattern Tea Coffee Cup And Saucer Mint