This sweet little set is from the New York Central Railroad, in the "DeWitt Clinton" pattern. It is the after-dinner coffee, demitasse size for espresso or chocolate service.
It is in lovely condition, bright and attractive with no cracks, chips, flakes or repairs. Both pieces are extremely clean, with no glaze runs and clear images in the tiny vignettes.
The design is a cameo of a tiny locomotive, the "DeWitt Clinton" above the year 1831, surrounded by a wide, intricate band of gray and blue. Owned by the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, the DeWitt Clinton was put in service in 1831. It was the first steam locomotive to operate in the state of New York and the fourth built for service in the United States. It was named in honor of DeWitt Clinton, the New York state governor responsible for the Erie Canal, who died in 1828.
There is no date code, but the style of the Buffalo China lettering dates the saucer to between approximately 1915 and the 1940s, per our Conroy restaurant china collector guide. We do not know what the blue T. or FBM mean, nor do we know the significance of the small number on the cup bottom. These may be plant codes, but we can find no documentation about them. Regardless, the pattern itself was made exclusively for the New York Central, guaranteeing authenticity of this set. According to "The Official Guide to Railroad Dining Car China" (McIntyre), DeWitt Clinton ware was used from 1925 until the early 1950s.
This would be a truly lovely addition to any better collection of railway dining car dinnerware.
** Important Collector Note: This ware was reproduced in 1981 by the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad Historical Society. If the tiny number beneath the locomotive is 1831-1981, the piece is a reproduction!
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