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]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Heller Massimo Vignelli Set Of 6 Plates And Matching Cups, New In Box!Texas Ware 11.5" Mixing Bowl Confetti Speckle Splatter #125 Green Red Blue BlackTexas Ware Confetti Bowl 118Vintage Texas Ware #125 11 1/4" Confetti Splatterware Lavender Mixing BowlVintage Texas Ware Bowl No. 125 Dallas Tx.98pc Vintage Boonton Boontonware Melmac Aqua Blue Tableware Cups Plates SaucersVilleroy & Boch Audun Ferme Pattern Rectangular Melamine Tray - 19"Retro <>russel Wright <> Residential Melmac Lot 23 PiecesVtg Russel Wright Pink And White Floral Melmac 5 Vintage Melamime Melmac Chalet Coffee Cups Retro Green Yellow Orange RedDrew Estate Melamine Ash Tray The Rebirth Of CigarsSet Floral Melamine Melmac Camping Barbecue Outdoor Patio Dinner W/ SilverwareVtg Brookpark Confetti Spatterware Melmac Blue Mixing Bowl4 Mid Century Heller (massimo Vignelli) Yellow 7.5" Stacking Salad Plate'sJohn Derian Melamine Serving Tray [target] 2008Melmac Dishes Branchell Color Flyte 8 Dinner Plates PinkNew Le Cadeaux Seville Yellow 4pc Melamine Cereal Bowl Set - Retired PatternDallas Ware Melmac Melanine Dallas Ware Tan Restaurant Stackable Cups FourVintage Prolon Harvest Gold Melamine Bowls = Set Of Three (3)Vintage Speckled Melmac Melamine Tableware 4 Plates 4 Cups / SaucersVintage Mid Century Boonton Ware Melamine Melmac Salt & Pepper Shakers Pink DecoMelmac Color Flyte Branchell 2 Each 7" Serving Bowl Cereal ? PinkSet Of 4 Tillie Asbury Park Nj Small PlatesVintage Lot Of 5 Mallo-ware 5.25" #53 Cereal Bowls Mallory-melamine-melmacLot Of 24 Vtg Texasware Melamine 4th Of July Plates 10" Red/white/blue VgVintage Raffiaware Burlap Melmac Cups ~ Set Of 6 Different ColorsMelmac Color Flyte Branchell 7 Each 5 3/4" Cereal Bowls PinkVintage Ice Tea Tumblers MelmacSet Of 4 Vintage Modern Colorful Heller By Massimo Stackable PlatesTexas Ware Texasware Melmac Bowl 111 Vintage Confetti Splatter Pink Aqua McmServing Trays Platters Atomic Green Melamine And Yellow Set Of 2! Buy It Now!Texas Ware Confetti BowlVintage Kenro Us Military Camping Plastic Melmac Melamine Bowls Set Of 8 Patio12~vtg Camping/plastic/dinner Set~melamine Dallas Ware~oblique~brown~cup~bowl #210 1950s Mallo-ware Bowls Mallory Plastics-melamine-melmac-4 Cereal 4 Soup 2 LgVintage Plastic Cocoa Brown Melmac 8 Bowls 6" Pair Of Vintage Raffiaware Burlap Straw Melmac/melamine Mugs, Peach/turquoise. Vintage Plastic Cocoa Brown Melmac Butter Dish & Lid17 Vintage Green Boonton Don-ite Melmac Melamine Small Dessert Bowl DishesLot Of 3 Melamine Anchor 10" Dinner Plates Nwt