This tiny china jelly dish from the Norfolk & Western Railway is a great find ! The pattern is "Yellow Bird," which graced dining car tables on the crack name trains Pocahontas and Powhatan Arrow.
At only 3 inches across the top, it is just adorable. There are no cracks, chips or repairs, and it carries the correct Shenango China bottom marking without any mention of the railroad.
Our "Restaurant China Vol. 2" book by Conroy says that the B-9 date code on this dish means that it was made during the last six months of 1951.
The dark purplish-red maroon rim band is unique to the Yellow Bird pattern. Larger pieces were embellished with an exotic bird in a floral setting, but companion pieces often were made with only a flower (as this jelly dish) or even only the rim band.
COLLECTOR NOTE: Only Shenango made this ware for the N&W. The Syracuse China Company produced a very similar pattern with an almost identical bird, but the railway never purchased Yellow Bird china from Syracuse. The Syracuse pieces tend to have red, narrow bands, unlike Shenango's wide maroon ones.
An interesting side note is that authentic Yellow Bird demitasse cups by Shenango had only a floral decoration and no bird on them, but Syracuse demi cups had the bird. Collectors have been known to purchase Syracuse demi cups because they find them more attractive, despite their not being N&W pieces.