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 Autumn Pattern 12 Piece Place SettingLenox Spice Set And RackLenox Autumn China Table Cloth And PlacematsLenox 4 Pc Place Setting Dimension Collection Eternal Christmas Exc CondLenox Winter Greetings Everyday - Soup/pasta Bowl - Beautiful!Lenox Butterfly Meadow Large Oval PlatterLenox Butterfly Meadow Gorgeous Covered Bowl 1st Quality New In Box Flowers CuteLenox Bone China Butterfly Meadow Large Covered Teapot 10"Lenox 5 Pc Place Setting Dimension Collection Holiday Holly & Berry Exc CondLenox Winter Greetings Fine Ivory China 1995 2 Tea Cups & 2 SaucersLenox Hancock Presidential Collection Set Of 8 Dinner Plates Celtic Knot No ResLenox Tosca 28 Pcs.Lenox Holiday Nouveau Platinum Mugs - Set Of 4Lenox Nwt Village 2007 Tissue Box And Towel Holder Pink White HouseLenox Vintage Jewel 12 Piece Place SettingVintage Rare Lenox Pine Cone & Needle Pattern 8" High Bulbous Vase China Set 8 Lenox Porcelain Old New York Ny 1st Edition Minga Patchin Decorative PlateLenox Simply Fine, Chirp Individual Soup/pasta Bowl, Set Of 4 - 0419mLenox China, Kelly Pattern, Millenium Edition, 10 5-piece Settings & Serving Lenox Butterfly Meadow Tea Pot - Flowers And Butterflies - New With Tag Lenox Village Tea Room Teapot Creamery Creamer Confectionary Sugar SpoonSeven Lenox Mckinley Pattern Tea Cup & SaucersLenox Holiday Nouveau China Bread Plates Set Of 4Lenox Holiday Nouveau ChinaSet Of Lenox Butterfly Meadow Salt And Pepper Shakers - Flowers And ButterfliesLenox Butlers Pantry Bread PlatesLenox Ambassador Collection "pearl Innocence" Salt And Pepper Shakers Lenox Hancock Presidential Collection Set Of 8 Salad Plates Celtic Knot No ResLenox Queen's Garden Vase Made In UsaLenox Winter Greeting Everyday Metal VaseLenox British Colonial Tradewind Pasta/rim Soup Bowl, Set Of 3 - 0417mLenox British Colonial Tradewind Dessert Plate, Set Of 2 - 0419mLenox Holiday Tartan 4 Luncheon PlatesSet Of 6 Lenox Butterfly Meadow 11" Dinner Plates - Flowers And Butterflies2 Lenox China Autumn Gold Trim Pedestal Or Footed Cups And Saucers Presidential Set 6 Lenox Kate Spade June Lane Platinum Salad Dessert Plates Dragonfly Lenox Butlers Pantry 3 Part Divided ServerLenox Poppies On Blue Wooden Serving Tray 6346738 - New In Package2 Lenox China Gold Imperial 5pc Place Setting Plates & Cups Plus Cream Soup (14)6 Lenox Bone China Belvidere Pink Ribbon Dinner Plates 10.5"Rare New 18 1/2" Ex Large Lenox Butlers Pantry Rectangular Platter 6051353Lenox British Colonial Serving Bowl - 0419mLenox 824431 French Perle Ice Blue 4 Piece Place SettingKate Spade "larabee Dot" Mugs Set Of Four - Nib, Set #1Lenox Beltane Blue Set Of 12 - 10 1/2" Dinner Plates - Green MarkLenox Poppies On Blue Botanical Chinastone Dinner Plate (set Of 6) - New W/tagsLenox Butterfly Meadow - Covered Sugar Bowl & Creamer SetLenox 13 1/4" Oval Pearl Platinum Platter New 6111298 Beaded W Platinum U.s.a.Lenox "rutledge" China Cream Soup 2-pc - So Beautiful!! 4 Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday Dinner Plates Cardinals 10-3/4" McclungLenox Holiday NouveauLennox Tiffany & Co Teapot White With Gold TrimLenox Bone China Belvidere Pink Ribbon Oval Vegetable Bowl 9,5"Lenox Hancock Presidential Collection Set Of 8 Tea Cups & Saucers Celtic Knot NrPair Vintage Lenox Blue/ Green Mark Lenox Rose Little Nut Dishes - No Reserve!Rare New 14" Large Lenox Butlers Pantry Stunning Low Fruit Pasta Bowl 6085039Lenox Hancock Presidential Collection Set Of 8 Bread Plates Celtic Knot No ResThe Joys Of Christmas Lenox Set Of 12 Dinner Plates 11" Made In U.s.a 1996Lenox China Federal Platinum Lunch Plate With Beaded Edge Made In Usa 19978 Lenox Kate Spade Gardner Street Platinum 5pc Settings New