Yorktown Art Deco shape: Edwin M. Knowles ‘flower pots’

Edwin M. Knowles China Co., 1937 Flower Pot pattern in Yorktown shape

I picked up this plate somewhere back in Texas, intrigued by the lovely shape and colorful design. For years, it was displayed on an easel on the buffet. The move to Mississippi took its toll on a lot of things, due to lack of space mostly. A few years ago, while hanging shelves in the living room, items fell off of the shelves in the dining room due to vibrations. This chop plate and my Mother’s 1947 teapot were casualties. I glued the handle back on the teapot, but retired it from use. Call me eccentric, but I kept the plate even though the broken pieces were too small and damaged to attempt to reattach them. I kept thinking I would use it in a project of some sort. I once covered the top of a small table with bits of broken china in a mosaic design, after I saw it in a magazine. In the process of continuing to clear the kitchen, I was again confronted: throw it away, allow it to continue to take up space, or repurpose/reuse.

Ship back stamp, 1930-31; plate dates to January 1937

According to several resources I located, the ship back stamp was begun in 1930, but changed by 1940. The shape of the design was indicated below the manufacture date (37-1), but pattern names did not begin until the late 1940s. Knowles himself, president of the company, died in 1943. The Art Deco-Modern Yorktown design was first introduced in an ivory body, with colors added later. The decals were added mid-1936.

Orange and yellow tulips on classic Art Deco shape

A similar pattern in the Yorktown was Knowles’ ‘Penthouse’ design, with an additional shorter orange line on the side tabs. An alternate edition of flower pots was manufactured that featured solid orange tabs with narrow black lines between the ridges of the tab, giving it a really elegant Art Deco look.

I confess (as noted above) to being a bit eccentric around things which appeal to me. No one makes me get rid of things or forces me to keep them. If I like it, and it is functional or beautiful to me, that is all the reason I need. When I set out on this quest to pass the valued family heirlooms on to my nieces to enjoy now, that was to me the right thing to do to ensure they were not at some point in the future lost in the dustbins of the past.

My four nieces and my great-niece are sentimental about our family heirlooms and their history. All 4 had the luxury of growing up with not only their grandparents, but their great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles and hearing many of the stories connected with them. They want these tangible things, and just as my grandmothers and mother passed many of them on to me while I could enjoy them, I want to do that now for my nieces–“give them their flowers now.”

There are only 4 more dish items to pack of the family history. Then it is on to the jewelry and textiles. Somehow, that seems a loving and appropriate thing to do. A thrift shop plate with a broken edge? I might make jewelry…or a mosaic…or, I might just put it on display in my renovated kitchen where it will not match the color and smile when I walk past it…kind of like Grandma’s painted sherbet dishes.

This entry was posted in Art Deco, Family, Kitchen Remodel, Mississippi, Modernism, Texas, Vintage dishes, Young County and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Yorktown Art Deco shape: Edwin M. Knowles ‘flower pots’

  1. davidprosser says:

    The palette reminds me a little of Charlotte Rhead who was a leading ceramics designer in the 1920’s 30’s, She was with Burgess and Leigh (Burleigh Pottery) and then with Crown Ducal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love these little treasures, even when broken, the broken being part of their story. I’m sure any one of those nieces would love to have this on a little sand in their home, even slightly worn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzassippi says:

      Thanks, Dorothy. I treasure even the broken and cracked. Many of the really old family heirlooms have a least cracks and chips. My grandmothers used them that way as there were few options for buying new dishes just because one got a chip.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Betty says:

    Your project to “give them their flowers now” is very commendable. Now, I do wonder about the 4th niece who is currently not interested. I know there are things I gave away out of frustration for storage, feeling overwhelmed by clutter. My appreciation for family heirlooms has grown with my age even though I am more of a “pitch it” person. I love the drooping flower design on this plate and wonder what you will eventually decide to do with it. Anything you display – even with a chipped edge – is going to look great in that new kitchen. I look forward to reading about the jewelry and the textiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzassippi says:

      Thank you, Betty. You are kind to say so. I appreciated my grandmothers and mother and aunts and great aunts giving me items while I was still able to enjoy using them or looking at them. While I still enjoy looking at them, just like deciding to retire, I knew when it was time. My 4th niece adores her family; I should have said she is not sentimental about family dishes but she loves knowing the family stories–I will correct that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Betty says:

        Oh, I didn’t take it to be anything negative about the one niece. Only that everyone is different, and we can change through out lives.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Suzassippi says:

          I did not taking it negatively. Indeed we do change…or do not change. Sometimes when I know the story inside my head, I forget that others do not. I truly appreciate your ‘wondering’ and how you help me see things through others eyes.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth says:

    LOL I’m also working on a Homer Laughlin post and Mr. Rhead will be in it! We are on to something big here!

    You plate is quite charming and I also have a bag stored away with broken china and two shattered Blue Willow plates that are intended for something creative someday. I am sure your nieces and great-niece will be thrilled with the things you pass on to them and it is nice to know they will be appreciated and treasured by yet another generation.

    Liked by 1 person

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