Like a lot of plastics that were developed in the late 1930s, melamine was first pressed into service for the military during World War II. One of the earliest lines of melamine dinnerware was Watertown Ware, which was made by the Watertown Manufacturing Company for the U.S. Navy. Melamine ware was appealing to the Navy because it was lightweight, inexpensive, and virtually unbreakable. After the war, Watertown designed a line for the consumer market called Lifetime Ware. Concurrently, melamine ware became popular with airlines, from United to Pan Am.

The most widespread brand of melamine ware was Melmac, a product of American Cyanamid, which sold molding powders to third parties who actually did the manufacturing. After his success with the American Modern dinnerware line of 1939, Russel Wright was hired by American Cyanamid to design a test line of Melmac, which was eventually named Meladur. That led to Wright’s colorful Residential line, which won the Museum of Modern Art’s Good Design Award in 1953. Other brands and manufacturers to look for include Texas Ware, Miramar, and Boonton.


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]

The Mid Century Modernist

The Mid Century Modernist

Stephen Coles' really visual blog dedicated to the Modernist era of design from 1940 to 1970 (aka Mid-century Moder… [read review or visit site]

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [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]

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

This website showcases several hundred pieces of furniture, held by thirteen museums, that were designed for Herman… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]

EamesCollector.com

EamesCollector.com

Steven Cabella's personal homage to Charles and Ray Eames. This site is as clean and visually appealing as the Eame… [read review or visit site]

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

This Library of Congress microsite is an overview of the postwar modern design work of Charles (1907-78) and Ray (1… [read review or visit site]

Classic Modern

Classic Modern

Get a taste of how homes were lit in the 50s, 60s, and 70s with the Danish retro-style lighting designs featured on… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Brand New - Whittard Melamine Set - 15 Piece Set - Motorhomes/caravans/campingVintage Texas Ware Confetti Bowl #118 Aqua GreenVintage Brookpark Melamine Confetti Spatter Bowl Blue 8"Vtg 12" Brookpark Mixing Dough Bowl Melamine Gray Green Red Beige ConfettiVintage Melamine Texas Ware Spatter Confetti Mixing Nesting Bowl 1257 1960s Vtg Texan Plastic Drinking Cup Tumbler Blue Glasses 312 5 2/16”, 12 OzVintage Heller Vignelli Black Dinnerware Set Eames Era 16 Pcs Plates BowlBrookpark Set Of 3 Melamine Melmac ~bowls~greatVtg Melamine Texas Ware Confetti Mixing Bowl #125-green With SpatterVintage Texas Ware Pure White Melmac Melamine 2 Oval Serving Dishes VegatableVtg Boonton Ware~34 Pc~5 Pc Place Setting For 6~cream~sugar~gravy~melmac Dishes New Alex And Zoe Unique Set Of 4 Salad Plates Melamine Wood Grain AnthropologyRetro Melmac Raffia Rafia Cups With Holder Set Of EightVintage Texas Ware Avocado / Yellow Confetti Swirl Bowl 111 MelmacTexas Ware Confetti Mixing Bowl 118 Pink Red Splatter Melmac MelamineBeautiful Vintage Texas Ware Confetti Bowl 111 Green Yellow Tommy Bahama Nautical 4 Stripe Plate 4 Anchor Stripes 8 Total Melamine Set NewVintage 60's Brand New Texasware/park Ave Melamine Dinner Dining Set Dish DishesRaffiaware Thermo Temp Tumblers Glasses Set 8 Caddy Holder Carrier Vintage CupsBrand New Collectible Mackenzie Childs Toddler's Melamine Dinnerware Set~~owl~~ Vintage Texas Ware Lot Of 4 Cereal Bowl S - Bright Pure White Melmac Melamine Set Of 6 Vintage Bolero Therm-o-ware Tumblers Rainbow Colors 5 Inch Texas Ware, Melamine, Medium, Grey, Splatter Bowl10 Vintage Super Don-ite Melmac Melamine Cereal Soup Salad Bowls Usa Yellow 8 OzVintage Melamine Turquoise Blue Oval Serving Platter 1960's Vintage Melmac Turquoise Lidded Butter Dish, Cream & Sugar BowlsVintage Anholt Melamine Black Aqua Turquoise Ashtray Lot Mid Century Retro Tommy Bahama Melamine Blue Stripe Red Anchor Nautical Serving Platter Dish NewMelmac Royalon Lavender Purple 50 Pieces Server Creamer Sugar Butter Bowls Etc.Vtg 10 Lot Melmac Melamine Normal Wear Small Bowl Berry Cereal Dessert Soup KidsEcko Picnic Set, D. Harman Powell, Vintage Retro MelamineLa Chaise Longue Melamine Set Of 4 Plates 4 Bowls Baby Cie Ever UnisonVintage Melmac 1970s Plate Jellystone Park 8" Hanna Barbera Yogi Bear & Bowl Vtg Texas Ware #118 Mixing Bowl Lavender / Purple Confetti Splatter 10" MelmarVintage Melamine Splatter Mixing Bowl Cmp Corp Usa Confetti Melmac Ware Kitchen"3 Little Pigs" & "3 Little Kittens"~ Melmac Plate/bowl & Cup/mug SetsLot 6 Vintage 50’s Sky Blue/aqua Futura Fashion Flair Melamine Melmac Rv LivingVintage Ges-line Green Plastic (melmac) Ashtray For Cigars Or CigarettesMelmac Dinnerware2 Texas Ware Confetti Melmac Mixing Bowls #125, #118Keller Charles Vintage Melamine Hors D' Oeuvre Plates 5 1/2" Flowers ButterflyBoontonware Pink Coffee Cups & Saucers Set Of 16 Boonton - Mis260Vintage Set Of 4 Nfc Melamine Plastic Cups With Chrome Handles Orange And WhiteVintage Confetti Melmac Melamine 10" Mixing Bowl Texas Ware Andy Warhol Presidio Objects Snack Plates/coasters/trays "lips" Set Of 4Therm-o-ware Insulated Sun Frost Casserole Dish W/locking LidVintage 1960's Retro Branchell Melmac Replacement Dinner Plate 10" Green Set Of Four (4) Melamine Animal Ikat-inspired Plates By Wisteria - New / BoxedVtg Retro Thermal Burlap Straw Melmac Mugs Tumblers Pair Green/beigeTexas Ware Blue Bowls Set Of 3Vintage 1960s Dino From The Flintstones Melmac Plastic Cup Boonton Molding Co.!Vintage 1960's Retro Branchell Melmac Replacement Bread Plate 6" OrangeQ Squared Nyc 6783 Blue Melamine Floral Print Bpa-free Salad Plate Bhfo