Russel Wright’s American Modern dinnerware, produced by Steubenville Pottery Company of Ohio, was introduced in 1939 and had sold some 250 million pieces by the end of the 1950s. The original colors were Seafoam Blue, Coral, Chartreuse,Grey, White, and Bean Brown. A second set of colors included Cedar Green, Cantaloupe, Glacier Blue, and Black Chutney. Today the line is produced by Bauer Pottery of Los Angeles, for whom Wright designed after World War II.
American Modern pieces were unadorned by decorations, which made them modern, and formed from earthenware, which made them affordable. But earthenware is relatively fragile compared to stoneware and porcelain, so many vintage pieces of American Modern on the market today are marred by chips. That’s probably why Wright’s next line, Casual, was manufactured of a high-fired china by Iroquois of New York. Colors for this more durable dinnerware ran from Sugar White and Lemon Yellow to Ripe Apricot and Pink Sherbet. More difficult to find are pieces Wright designed for Paden City Pottery Company and the Sterling China Company, which produced restaurant ware.
Interviews & Articles
I’m the curator of the ceramics bit of the Bowes Museum. It’s a big museum with 30 galleries of which three or four are devoted to… [more]