Here for your consideration is a Metlox Poppy Trail "Sculptured Daisy" creamer and sugar, c. 1964 - 1984. They are in good condition with no stains, cracks or repairs. There is a small nick in the glaze along the edge of the daisy finial on the lid and a skip in the glaze along the top outside rim of the sugar bowl. SEE PHOTOS FOR DETAILS.
MEASUREMENTS: Sugar w/Lid 6 1/4" W x 5 1/4" H; Creamer 5 3/4" W x 3 1/2" H.
History of Metlox Potteries:
In 1921 T. C. Prouty and his son Willis founded the company Proutyline Products, which is the company that preceded the history of Metlox Potteries. It was established as a California corporation, which specialized in the development and marketing of their numerous inventions.
Willis O. Prouty [b. 1888] at the age of 18 invented and patented a tachometer that was used on aircraft during WWI [1914-1918]. In 1919 after moving to California, he tested various local clays in hopes of determining one that would be suitable for ceramic production. He found that talc obtained from Death Valley was superior to ordinary clay, a tile body comprised of this material was formulated and patented in 1920. In 1922, a two story plant was built at 719 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. This would serve as the Proutyline Products Company first manufacturing facility. A year later, Prouty invented and installed a tunnel kiln especially suited for tile production. A patent was obtained for this kiln, the trade name Hermosa Tile was used to distinguish both decorative and standard wall and floor tile. The Hermosa Beach facility was sold to the American Encaustic Tiling Company of Ohio in 1926.
Metlox [a contraction of metallic oxide] was established by the Proutys in 1927 in a modern all-steel factory constructed on a four acre tract at 1200 Morningside Drive in downtown Manhattan Beach. In the beginning the facility produced outdoor signs that were devised for maximum day and night visibility and to withstand all types of weather conditions. The company successfully utilized Neon tubing in the signage for the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, California in 1928. Unfortunately, the Depression era would effect the innovative sign business. Willis Prouty reorganized and converted the Manhattan Beach plant to a dinnerware production, shortly after the death of his father T. C. Prouty in 1931.
In 1932, the first limited line of Metlox dishes, christened California Pottery was produced in bright colored glazes. A more extensive line of table and kitchen ware called 'Poppytrail' was introduced in 1934. The Poppytrail ensemble was more understated in design than the initial dinnerware and was offered in fifteen different colors during its eight years of production. The 'Poppytrail' designation was adopted in 1936 as the trade name of the company as a way to emphasize California, the poppy being the state flower. Talc, the major component of the Metlox body, was mined in California, as were most of the metallic oxides that comprised the glazes.
1935 - 1939 Years:
* Produced an exclusive line of pastel colored tableware and kitchen articles for Sears & Roebuck called 'Mission Bell', c. 1935 - 1938.
* 'Yorkshire' dinnerware was introduced at about the same time of the 'Mission Bell' line in the same glazes with a swirl design.
* 'Pintoria' dinnerware with its geometric shapes of wide bordered rectangular plates and bowls with circular depressions were in production from 1937 - 1939.
* Some of these lines were molded by Metlox designer George Skee, assisted by his son Stan who made the molds.
* In the late 1930's Carl Romanelli was the first artware designer hired by Metlox. He is responsible for the introduction of the popular Metlox Miniatures, a collection of small scale animal figurines and novelty items. Romanelli was also responsible for the Metlox artware line, 'Modern Masterpieces', which was comprised of a series of figurines, figural vases, busts, wall pockets, bookends and vases with figures in relief..
During World War II, pottery manufacturing continued on a limited bases as Metlox converted to 90% defense work. Full scale production resumed after the war with the introduction of the company's first decorated dinnerware. Evan K. Shaw was the individual who became instrumental in steering Metlox onto this new course of operations. Shaw became associated with Metlox after his company American Pottery in Los Angeles was destroyed by fire and he purchased the business from Willis O. Prouty in 1946. Shaw introduced that same year 'California Ivy', which was the first in a long succession of hand painted patterns developed under his ownership of Metlox. Others included were, California Provincial, c. 1950, Homestead Provincial, c. 1950, Red Rooster, c. 1955, California Strawberry, c. 1961, Sculptured Grape, c. 1963 and Della Robbia, c. 1965.
The 1950's proved to be a prosperous period for the business with the introduction of dinnerware lines, such as, Navajo, Aztec, California Mobile,California Free Form and California Contempora. The shapes and decorative patterns for these were developed by art directors Bob Allen and Mel Shaw.
In 1958, Metlox purchased the trade name Vernon Kilns after the latter ceased operations. A few of Vernon's best selling lines were used to establish a separate Vernon Ware branch, which was headed by Doug Bothwell. Metlox's Vernon Ware division eventually rivaled the Poppytrail division in the number of shapes and patterns of dinnerware produced.
Artware was another Evan K. Shaw specialty, which was popular in the 1950's and 1960's at Metlox. A line of contemporary vessels in earthy matte glazes, designed by well known California ceramist Harrison McIntosh was produced in the mid 1950's. Concurrent was a series called American Royal Horses, detailed hand painted figurines of various equine breeds. This was complimented by Nostalgia, scale model antique carriages and related articles inspired by Shaw's personal collection of actual carriages.
Shaw's ill-fated American Pottery was licensed to manufacture ceramic figurines based on the Walt Disney cartoon characters in 1943. The Metlox purchase in 1946 enabled him to continue production of this very successful line until 1956.
Poppets by Poppytrail, an extensive collection of doll-like stoneware flower holders and planters created by Helen Slater were marketed in the 1960's and 1970's. Colorstax, a revival of dinnerware in solid colored glazes, c. 1978 and Helen McIntosh's charming and novel cookie jars were best sellers for the company in its last decade.
Kenneth Avery became president of Metlox Manufacturing Inc. following the death of Evan K. Shaw in 1980. In 1998, Shaw's daughter Melinda Avery became the guiding force. Metlox, the last survivor of the original "Big 5" manufactures, ceased operations in 1989.
Note: Reference used for history of Metlox Potteries were Collector's Encyclopedia of California Pottery, Second Edition by Jack Chipman, pages 166 - 168.
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