Here is a hard to find pedestal sherbet dish from either the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway or closely associated railroad enterpreneur Fred Harvey, who initially catered food service aboard Santa Fe dining cars and progressed into building and operating the Harvey House hotel chain along the Santa Fe route. The pattern name is California Poppy.
It is in absolutely lovely condition with no cracks, chips, flakes or repairs. The outside is graced with three golden, realistic florals of the plant: a tight bud, a bud that is opening and a fully opened flower with a bud.
California Poppy was a standard dining car pattern used for many years, made first by European companies and then later by Syracuse China, whose company records authenticate that they contracted with the Santa Fe to produce it exclusively for the railway and Fred Harvey and no other customers in heavy-weight, commercial grade dinnerware. Some pieces of this pattern were marked specifically for Santa Fe Dining Car service, but most carried only the china company markings and some small or difficult shapes were not marked at all, like this sherbet. Because the Santa Fe controlled production, unmarked pieces are absolutely authentic, but there is no way to positively say who used them: the Santa Fe or Fred Harvey.
This dish has no markings, but it is the heavier weight and shape of those made by Syracuse China for the railroad -- a very critical distinction, because Syracuse China manufactured California Poppy in two weights: the heavy, commercial weight ware made only for the railroad and lighter household weight often referred to as "thinware."
COLLECTOR NOTE: The Santa Fe’s exclusive rights to the California Poppy pattern apparently applied only to heavy restaurantware or hotel commercial weight china. Syracuse China’s lighter weight, household china decorated with identical “Poppy” artwork was never sold to the railroad or used on trains. Instead, it was made for ordinary commercial sales through standard retail outlets. Beware especially of pieces with “S.S.” (“Store Selection") in the bottom marking, a designation applied to high-quality seconds that would be sold at the Syracuse, New York factory outlet. However, although this ware has no collectible value to railroad china collectors, many enjoy using it on the table, while their authentic Santa Fe pieces sit safely on display cabinet shelves.
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Scarce California Poppy Railroad China Pedestal Sherbet Dish: Santa Fe Railway or Fred Harvey