This is a full size coffee cup and saucer set from Amtrak. The pattern name is "National," which was made by Homer Laughin. This was the last heavy-duty commercial restaurantware made for Amtrak before they finally switched over from true china dinnerware to Corning Ware, which is a unique glass-ceramic product.
New and humble as it may be, "National" has a place in railway dining car china collections. It was the last of the actual china used by larger, commercial over-the-road railroad lines. Discarded when Amtrak replaced it with Corning products, it is surprisingly difficult to find today: "purist" collectors seeking "antique" railroad china tend to spurn it, and without railroad markings it goes unrecognized in tag sales, antique shops and flea markets. So don't be surprised if National increases in value in the future. We think it will be a "sleeper."
This set is in excellent condition with NO cracks, chips, flakes or repairs. The colors are terrific: strong medium blue with the correct adjacent gray stripe that almost blends in. There are a very few light utensil marks that can't be seen without tilting the pieces in bright light and looking hard. There is just a bit of wear in the saucer well from holding a cup, which is minimal.
According to our Restaurant China Vol. 2 (Conroy) the bottom mark by Homer Laughlin can be dated: TD translates to April, 1979. We do not know the meaning of the | or |||| marks -- Conroy provides no explanation. This ware was never railroad marked in any way.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak, is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the contiguous United States. Founded in 1971 to take over most of the remaining U.S. passenger rail services, it is partially government funded yet operated and managed as a for-profit corporation. Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces
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