Here is a terrific demitasse or after dinner size cup and saucer set, in the pretty "Blue and Gold" pattern used by the Union Pacific and two other railroads on "The 49er," a name train that ran just under 2,000 miles between Chicago, Illinois and San Francisco, California from 1937 to 1941. Following the ending of the train service, the UPRR continued to use this pattern in its station restaurants and other operations.
The bottom markings on both cup and saucer are early -- dating them as having been made during the 1930s-1940s. We checked the marks in our "Restaurant China Vol. II" (Conroy) to confirm production dates. It is possible (but there is no way to prove) they were among railroad ordered pieces, used for on board dining service. Regardless, this set is a lovely representation of this interesting pattern.
CONDITION: You won't find any better. There is little if any use, and NO cracks, chips or repairs. The gold decoration is uniform with almost no sign of wear.
PLEASE NOTE this is a "mixed marriage," but they fit together perfectly, and the colors are an exact match. You can't tell unless you look at the bottom markings that the cup was made by Scammell China (in their better Lamberton ware), and the saucer was made by Shenango China.
Blue and Gold was made by several manufacturing companies, and sold commercially as a stock pattern. This butter chip carries a correct Shenango bottom marking, date coded for being made during the first half of the year 1955. It never rode a train, but possibly could have been UPRR used in one of the restaurants. There is no way to be sure, but it is a great representative of the pattern, and no good Union Pacific collection should be without an example of Blue & Gold.
Blue & Gold is listed in the books with Union Pacific patterns, since the UP initiated the original train service for which it was purchased. There is an interesting reason why the pattern was never marked with any railroad identification. According to "Dining on Rails," because of the great distance involved, the UP shared operations of "The 49er" trains with two other railroads. They were unable to agree on a shared china pattern, and at last compromised on Blue and Gold. The final arrangement was no railway markings at all on any of the dining car ware, because they all refused to use china aboard their trains that was marked for one of the other lines. A unique pattern honoring all three never happened.
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