The turkey looking out cheerfully from the center of this small platter knows it won't be eaten for Thanksgiving! From the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, this plate is beautiful in their long-loved Mimbreno pattern, inspired by ancient Native American potters who lived in what is now the state of New Mexico.
The bottom marking is the full Syracuse China manufacturer mark plus the black Ancient Mimbreno Indian Designs, Made Expressly for Santa Fe Dining Car Service. The date code, 99-L, is partially obscured by the black but means December 1970. According to "The Official Guide to Railroad Dining Car China" the AT&SF began using Mimbreno ware in their business cars in 1970, continuing for a number of years thereafter. The railroad officially ceased operations on December 31, 1996, when it merged with the Burlington Northern Railroad to form the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway we know today.
SIZE is approximately 5.75 inches by 8.25 inches.
CONDITION is lovely, with NO cracks, chips, flakes or repairs. The rich deep red glaze with black rim bands is uniform. There is only very slight surface utensil wear, and to see it, you must tilt the piece in bright light and look. The only cosmetic issue we want to point out is on the underside, where there are three EXPECTED areas of glaze miss, caused by the small 'stilts" that held the dish while it was being fired in the kiln.
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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