Here is a difficult to find railroad-marked china butterpat from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, in the popular "Ancient Mimbreno" pattern. This one is the ivory-cream color base ware with black and deep brick red design, featuring a hummingbird in the center.
On the underside is the backstamp " Santa Fe Dining Car Service " that further identifies it. Butter chips without a bottom marking are quite common, but it is difficult to find them with this mark.
CONDITION is lovely, with bright colors and a clear design with no glaze runs. There are NO cracks, chips, flakes or repairs.
SIZE is approximately 3-1/4 inches across.
The maker of this pattern was Syracuse China. There is no Syracuse China mark, but the molded ring design is a giveaway.
BACKGROUND: Mimbreno china was designed for use on the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway’s deluxe, all-Pullman name train “Super Chief,” whose designers had settled on a Native American theme. Architect Elizabeth Coulter, who had designed many of the famous Harvey Houses in the Southwest, was chosen to design the china and flatware. She 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, and some geometric designs were incorporated.
On May 12, 1936, the Super Chief left Dearborn Station in Chicago, Illinois on its maiden run. The 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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