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 Holly Dimension Collection Set Of 12 Bread PlatesLenox Holiday Holly Dimension Collection Set Of 14 Salad PlatesLenox Holiday Holly Dimension Collection Set Of 14 Handled MugsLenox Holiday Holly Dimension Collection Set Of 7 Cereal BowlsLenox Holiday Holly Dimension Collection Set Of 14 Footed Cups W/ SaucersLenox China - Tidbit Dish 2-tier Tray - Christmas Holiday Holly Berry~ Peanuts Snoopy Lenox Christmas Holiday Dip Bowl 2004 ~Lenox China - Dimension Collection - Eternal - Round Covered Casserole Dish BowlLenox Winter Greetings Everyday 3 Part Divided Relish Serving Dish TrayVintage Art Deco Female Head By Lenox In Burnt UmberLenox China - Dimension Collection - Eternal - Oval Serving Platter - 16¼ By 12Lenox Holiday Holly Dimension Collection Set Of 14 Bread PlatesLenox Winter Greetings Large Oval Serving Platter, Tray, PlateLenox Autumn China 5 Piece Place Setting Gold Back StampLenox Liberty ChinaLenox Holiday Holly Dimension Collection Set Of 12 Dinner PlatesLenox Eternal Gold Gravy Sauce Boat With Underplate Stand NewLenox "winter Greetings" Cardinal Gravy Boat With StandLenox Holiday Nouveau Gold Accent Mug Usa Rare Item Gold Rim,base And Handle EucRare Vintage Yellow & Ivory Lenox Porcelain Handled Double Basket Vase Lenox Holiday Dimension Set Of Four 8 Inch Salad Plates Made In U.s.a. EucLenox "winter Greetings" Covered Butter DishLenox China - Eternal Bakeware Pattern - Baking Pan - 13½ By 8¼Lenox Sleighride Fine Bone China Usa -8 Rimmed Soup Bowls 8 1/4"-great ConditionRare Vintage Blue & Ivory Lenox Porcelain Pedestal Flared Compote VaseVintage Lenox China First Blessing Nativity Camel Seated Figurine 24 Karat GoldLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Cardinal 12 Piece Set New In BoxLenox Holiday Holly Dimension Collection Gravy Boat And UnderplateLenox Holiday Christmas Gravy BoatLenox Holiday Large Oval Vegetable Bowl4 Magnificent Lenox Jefferson Pattern Soup Salad Bowls "out Of Production" FineLenox - Boxwood And Pine 16" PlatterLenox Winter Greetings 5 Piece Place Setting With Original LabelsLenox Federal Platinum 4 Mugs Christmas NwtLenox Winter Greetings Everyday Tartan Downy Woodpecker Salad Plate - EucRare Vintage Pink Ivory Lenox Porcelain Swan Handled Urn Vase Lenox Platter Winter Greetings Scenic-14 By 7 InchesLenox "opal Innocence" Tissue Box - New!Lenox Holly And Berry Holiday Dimension 4 Salad DishesLenox China, Gold Harvest "wheat" Oval Serving Platter (r-442)Rare Vintage Blue & Ivory Lenox Porcelain Asymmetrical Handled Ewer Vase Lenox Holiday Holly China/1 Dinner,1 Salad Plate3 Sets Beautiful Lenox Golden Holiday Flatware 60pcs Brand New 12 Place SettingsLenox Winter Greetings Punch Bowl - 13 Inch6 Lenox Cardinal Winter Greetings Everyday Dinner PlatesLenox Sleighride Fine Bone China Set Of 8 Salad Plates-8" Usa(4) Lenox Holiday American By Design Mugs Christmas New!Set Of 4 Lenox Special Christmas Dinner Plates Holly Leaves Berries 10 1/2" DiamLenox Holiday Tartan Two 2 Coffee Mugs(4) Lenox Chinastone Poppies On Blue Dinner Plates 10 1/2"Lenox Dimension Collection Eternal Texas Mugs (set Of 2)Lennox Poppies On Blue 7 3/4" Pasta BowlLenox Holiday Christmas Oblong Bowl 6 And 1/5 InchesLenox Butler's Pantry 3 Part Divided Hors D'oeuvre Serving Tray In Ivory ColorLenox Solitaire "small" Platter-14 Inches By 10 InchesRare Vintage Deep Pink & Ivory Lenox Porcelain Handled Double Basket Vase #1Lenox Fine Bone China, Vintage Jewel PatternLenox Solitaire Gravy Boat With Attached UnderplateLenox Eternal Fine China 40-piece SetNew W/tags - Set Of Eight (8) - 9" Soup Bowls Lenox Langdon Gate (ambassador)