This cup and saucer set from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad is in superb condition. In the sought-after authentic "Mimbreno" pattern, it is very attractive with southwestern U.S.A. Native American-inspired decoration and rich deep red and black geometric rim designs and a feisty parrot in the center of the saucer.
This is a full size coffee or tea set, well designed for over-the-rails dining car use. The cup sits squarely in the deep saucer which has a wide base. The manufacturer was Syracuse China and both pieces are date coded: 96-K (November 1967) on the cup and 98-I (September 1969) on the saucer.
IMPORTANT: The saucer carries the full "Ancient Mimbreno Indian Designs" large black bottom marking, "Made Expressly for Santa Fe Dining Car Service". The cup is correctly marked by Syracuse China but does not carry the black railroad bottom marking.
CONDITION is lovely. There are NO cracks, or repairs. The saucer appears unused -- we could not find any surface marks or scuffs anywhere, even around the ridge in its well where a cup would sit. The cup shows only the very lightest signs of use (you MUST tilt it in bright light and try hard to find any surface marks - which is difficult to do). IMPORTANT: SEE OUR LAST PICTURE: On the top of the handle on the right is a chip in the GLAZE (not the pottery). This is very hard to see, the best way is to use a fingernail.
BACKGROUND: "Mimbreno" chinaware was designed for use on the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway’s deluxe, all-Pullman name train “Super Chief,” which on May 12, 1936, left Dearborn Station in Chicago, Illinois on its maiden run. The designers of the Super Chief had settled on a Native American theme. They chose architect Elizabeth Coulter, who had designed many of the famous Harvey Houses in the Southwest, to design the china and flatware. Ms Coulter based her china designs on the depictions of stylized animals and other life forms that decorated pottery crafted by the ancient Mimbres Indians of New Mexico. True to the Indian potters, most of the railroad’s Mimbreno china was created in black and white with deep red, incorporating animals, birds and some geometric shapes into the designs. Mimbreno china was well loved, and the railroad continued to purchase it until 1970. After discontinuing its passenger use, however, the Santa Fe continued to use Mimbreno aboard business cars.
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