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    

Vintage Texas Ware 11" Mixing-serving Bowl Splatter/confetti Melamine Tan (125)Vintage Set Of 6 Texas Ware Texan Green Drinking Glasses Tumblers 312 12 Oz.Vintage Melmac Texas Ware 111 Confetti Bowl Pink Orange Yellow Black Vintage Heller Dishes Designed By Massimo Vignelli (13) Pieces Great ColorsBeatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit 3 Piece Melamine Baby Childs Dish Bowl Cup SetMelmac Texas Ware Confetti Bowl 1950sVintage Set Of 4 Laguna Melmac #303 Dinner Plates Orange Daisy Los Angeles CaVintage Texas Ware Melmac Confetti Splatter Bowl #118 - Lavender Pink Blue NicePair Of Vintage Texas Ware # 118 Confetti Splatter Melmac 10" Inch Vtg Brown Confetti Spatterware Aztec Melamine Melmac Bowl Salad Set Chip Dip LotVintage Texas Ware Large Mixing Bowl 125 Speckle Blue Cornflower Melmac Kitchen 1950s Retro Kitsch Mermaid Fish Watertown Lifetime Melamine Melmac Plate 8"diamVintage Bsa Boy Scouts Trinket Or Change Box ~ Melamine 1950s? Nice!6 Vintage Yellow Raffiaware Thermo-temp 16oz Ribbed Cups Mugs 6" Tall Vintage Libbey Melamine Dinnerware, Cam Pac, Late 40's Early 50's Bongenre For Target Natalya Melamine 20 Pc Dish SetLarge Vintage Brookpark Melamine Confetti Ware Splatter Mixing BowlThunder Group Rose Collection 12-pack 16-ounce Soup Plate 7-7/8-inch MelamineThree Vintage Melmac Florence Plates Melmac Colorflyte Branchell By Russell WrightQ Squared Nyc 6783 New Blue Melamine Floral Print Bpa-free Salad Plate BhfoSet Of 4 Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Melamine Plate By Zak! Designs MintVintage Arrowhead Ever Ware Brookpark Melmac Lot Of 12 PiecesVintage Little Mermaid Melamine Dish Set Plate Bowl Cup In BoxRare 50's/60's Qantas Empire Airways Cup & Snack Plate Set: Melamine: Good Cond.Lenox Ware White Butter Dish With Lid Vintage Whispering Wheat Plates/cup 1 Box Set2vtg 6.5x8 Pan Am Small Dish Plate Lot Melamine Melmac Plastic Airplane Tray2 Vintage Branchell Color Flyte Melmac Salad Plates Orange 7 1/2"Melmac Aztec Dinnerware SetVintage Mid Century 3-rosti "mepal Service" Melmac Nesting- Mixing Bowls-purpleSet Of 4 Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Melamine Plate By Zak! Designs Mint13 Pc Branchell Color Flyte Melmac Dishes By LamoyneVintage Lassie Melmac Plastic Plate - Dog Classic Tv Show Dinnerware BoontonVintage Texas Ware ? Melmac Pie Knife Advertising Wabasso MinnArt Nouveau Melamine Tray Made In Italy / Avril Woman In Garden / EucRare 50's/60's Qantas Empire Airways Cup & Snack Plate Set: Melamine: Good Cond.Nano-sponge Magic Eraser Multi-functional Dish Melamine Cleaner Pad Foam 100xVintage Melmac Flintstones Plate2 Vintage Branchell Color Flyte Melmac Salad Plates Grey 7 1/2"Nhl Hockey Edmonton Oilers Melamine Chip And Dip Platter Plate Brand NewMelmac Color Flyte By Branchell Set