Here is a bread and butter plate from a long-time eating house serving the Texas & Pacific Railroad. Located in Baird, Texas, Stanley's was owned and operated for many years by former T&P employee Frank Stanley and his family. A fabulous locomotive graphic is steaming straight out of the maroon red graphic rim band that adorns the dish, which has a light tan, off-white body.
SIZE is approximately 6.5 inches across -- just right for a roll and butter or a small side.
CONDITION is used, but it displays beautifully. The colors are bright and the design artwork is sharp and clear. Despite there being a slight amount of wear in the center from use, you MUST tilt the plate to see any. There are NO cracks, chips, flakes or repairs.
This plate is bottom marked by its maker Iroquois China Company, Syracuse, N.Y. IRO-TAN refers to the tan body for which Iroquois was famous. There was never any actual railway marking on Stanley's chinaware, only that fabulous top logo. The date code E-2 on the bottom is not helpful. Our Restaurant China Book Vol.2 (Conroy) states that Iroquois date codes are indecipherable - no record could be found of the year in which the first "A" was applied. However, Conroy states this Iro-Tan backmark was used between the 1940s and the early 1960s -- which fits with the timeline that Stanley's was in operation.
As a former T&P hoist operator who was forced out of railroad employment by modernization ( from coal- to oil-fueled locomotives), Frank Stanley must have taken particular pride in his eating house, which became famous for being so closely associated with the T&P. This custom pattern chinaware must have been a huge expense for a small enterprise. And to keep in touch with his T&P friends and former co-workers, the restaurant was open 24 hours a day, specifically to accommodate train crews.
PLEASE NOTE: With the plate we will provide a copy (see our last picture) of the article written about Stanley's restaurant and the T&P, for the Railroadiana Collectors Association Inc. magazine, the "Express."
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