Posted 4 years ago
I am a big time collector on trying to bring about more awareness on these American made figurines and have asked Hunter, with Collectorsweekly, to review the possibly of establishing a catagory for figurines as they do not really fit into art glass or the catagory of dolls. A little history of the company is as follows:
Florence Ceramics was a Pasadena California based ceramic company in existence from 1942 to 1964. The company was established by Florence Ward after friends urged Florence to take up a hobby in an attempt to channel her grief after the loss of Florence & Clifford’s youngest son to streptococcus infection. Florence decided to take up modeling clay figurines in the family garage. Florence Ceramics operated in two smaller shops before moving to a modern 10,000 square foot facility located in South San Gabriel Boulevard in Pasedena. By 1946 the company was displaying figurines at Los Angeles gift shows and selling directly to retailers in San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, New York and Atlanta. Additionally their figurines were sent to Hawaii, Canada, South America, and Europe.
The newly constructed plant incorporated in 1949 was years ahead of its time. The company’s workforce was one hundred strong and the self-imposed guidelines for comfort and safety of the employee was years ahead of even the most stringent laws as determined by government standards of today.
Representatives from well-known manufactories in England and elsewhere journeyed to California to speak with Florence regarding the making of her figurines. It is believed that Florence Ceramics was the first ever to use china spray paint finishes. Previously finishes were brushed on by hand. Florence Ceramics was also the first to hold actual patents on productions molds for porcelain figurines. Like other companies ahead of their times Florence Ceramics was plagued by companies making knock- offs of less quality and the company was forced to initiate lawsuits in order to stop the influx of these foreign inferior pieces. The barrage of cheap imports could not be stopped completely and Florence found it difficult to compete in the marketplace. In 1964 Florence sold the building and kilns to Scipto but had the figuirine molds destroyed – thus making the Florence Ceramic Figurines very collectable as no more can be made.
For further information, two excellent resources are: “The Florence Collectibles – Era of Elegance” by Doug Foland and “The Complete Book of Florence Ceramics – A Labor of Love” – by Barbara & Jerry Kline and Margaret Webrspaum