This is an absolutely authentic, full size cup and saucer set from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. The pattern is "Ancient Mimbreno," dinnerware that was created in the 1930s for use aboard the all-Pullman name train "Super Chief" and is highly sought after by collectors. Both cup and saucer are adorned with intricate graphic bands, and the saucer boasts a bird -- a parrot?
Both pieces were correctly made by Syracuse China, whose manufacturing date code 96-E on the cup translates to May 1997, and 98-H on the saucer means August 1969, making them among the last orders by the railroad intended for passenger use.
IMPORTANT: BOTH the cup and saucer are bottom marked by the railroad, with the cup marked "Made Expressly For Santa Fe Dining Service" and the saucer carrying the full circular copyrighted mark.
CONDITION is lovely with only light surface marks from use. You must tilt the pieces in bright light to see them. There are NO cracks, NO chips, NO flakes and NO repairs. The glaze is strong and shiny, and the colors are rich and appealing. The only things we can fault are that the edge of the round well in the saucer shows slight rubbing from the cup sitting in it, and on the saucer (SEE OUR LAST PICTURE) the edge transfer design does not meet perfectly (which is only cosmetic, hard to notice unless you are looking for it, and is the way it was made).
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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