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Pere Marquette Railroad China Individual "Auto Ferry" Tea Pot
This gorgeous cobalt and white "Autoferry" pattern tea pot is from the Pere Marquette Railway's rail car ferry service. It is absolutely pristine and looks as though it has never been used.
This is a single serving size teapot. It is correctly bottom marked by supplier Albert Pick of Chicago. This pattern never carried any railway markings on the bottom.
The beautiful side logo is crisp and clear in rich deep blue matching the trim.
Dating this piece is a bit difficult due to lack of information on Pick markings, but our Conroy book says this marking was used beginning in 1931 until 1965 when the company went out of business. Pick was a major distributor supplying many clients with quality commercial china and tableware from many different manufacturers.
Listing this piece was a bit of a toss-up because while it was created for the PMRR, it was used for their maritime auto ferry transportation operation, rather than aboard passenger dining cars. This pattern is illustrated and discussed in "Dining on Rails" (Luckin).
BACKGROUND: Named after Father Jacques Marquette S.J. (1637–1675), a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste Marie, the Pere Marquette began in 1899 after absorbing three local railroads. It was reincorporated in 1917 as the Pere Marquette Railway, and served the Great Lakes Region of the United States and Canada providing rail and passenger ferry service in Michigan and Wisconsin.
The rail car ferry fleet traveled on the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers and on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. They were an important transportation link avoiding the terminal and interchange delays around the southern tip of Lake Michigan and through Chicago.
In the 1920s, the Pere Marquette came under the control of two railroad investors, who in 1947 sold their ownership to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. The car ferry service continued until the 1970s.
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