Spotting a very pretty stack of rose-covered vintage dishes across the room, I hurried on over to get a better look. They certainly were pretty—beautiful really! I turned a small dessert plate over to find any marking it might have but there was nothing written on the bottom of the plate. And there was no price marked on the dishes...a sure sign they would be more expensive than I'd want to pay for unmarked dishes. Still, they were VERY pretty. I walked away to think about it and to find someone to ask about the price.
The clerk, without looking at me, hurried over to the stack of dishes and with her sticker "gun" started shooting every piece on the shelf. I was afraid to look. However...the price was (gulp, it couldn't possibly be true) marked at only $29.95! I almost tripped over myself getting back over to the dishes to tell the clerk that indeed I wanted them. (Badly!) What an amazing bargain for such lovely pieces! Who cared if they didn't have any markings. Did it really matter? No, absolutely not!
So, it wasn't until the following day when I began to unpack the dishes from their newspaper wrappings that I turned over the first piece, a vegetable bowl, and discovered the words Blue Ridge! Of course, they were Blue Ridge! I'd been looking at Blue Ridge odds and ends for years in antique malls and thinking it would be such a privilege to own a few pieces. But a whole set! For $29.95! This was unbelievable! What a gift! My heart was absolutely dancing!In 1916 the owners of the Ohio, Clinchfield and North Carolina Railroads, wanting to expand their rail shipping business, started The Clinchfield Pottery in the small town of Erwin, Tennessee where the railroad stopped and which was centrally located close to raw materials and people to work as employees. The name Blue Ridge came about around 1932-33 because Erwin is located in the Blue Ridge mountains. When Clinchfield Pottery incorporated, the name was changed to Southern Potteries, Inc.
All pottery pieces were hand-painted in an assembly line with the more seasoned painters painting the major designs while less experienced painters dotted the blossoms and colored the leaves and stems. All in all, there were over 5,000 different hand-painted Blue Ridge patterns. I was fortunate to find a website for identifying patterns and discovered that the name of my dish set is Paper Roses! (How romantic!)
By 1946, Blue Ridge pottery was so popular that the company had showrooms across the U.S. During World War II the pottery was in its height of popularity, but by 1957 the boom had ended with the entry of plastic dinnerware. It took a few decades for the Blue Ridge pottery pieces to become as collectible as they are today but there are still some beautiful pieces available in antique malls!
And, once in a blue moon, someone might—just might—find a whole unused set in a thrift store! You just never know!
Go to PINK SATURDAY for more Pink treasures!!