This example is a reproduction celery dish in Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's 1827-1927 "Colonial" design. Called "Centenary" by collectors, the designs in this pattern were originally created to commemorate the railroad's 100th anniversary. Railroad china from the days when passenger railway service was the best way to traverse the country is a hot collectible and reproductions are common. Some rail museums took to selling souvenir copies of dinnerware once used by their passenger service dining cars to raise operating capital. Unauthorized copies and just plain fakes also have been imported and sold by less deserving entities. So this is another area where collectors serious about only obtaining authentic pieces need to be sure to educate themselves.
Visual clues identify the piece in this listing and a knowledgeable buyer will use them to easily recognize it for what it is - a contemporary reproduction. But not everyone that might be offered the chance to buy an item like this would know it to be a modern copy.
For comparison we have included images of an original Baltimore & Ohio Railroad "Cheat River" Centenary pattern celery dish that measured 12 inches long by 6 inches wide. We have clearly marked each side of the combined images to indicate which is the new example and which is the old authentic piece. Note the obvious differences in quality and body type. The new piece looks cheaply made and light of weight. Details are poor in the transfer design and on close examination it can be seen that they do not exactly match the original design. The railroad was so proud of the original design it was patented. The depth of the blue color in the new piece is not at all like the deep blue used in making authentic pieces. Be sure to note, too, that while the shape of each dish is similar, they are not identical.
Because the railroad commissioned several different china companies to make it, marks on Centenary ware varied over the many years it was made. However, the backstamp, "Royal Monarch U.S.A." does not belong to any of the china companies documented as having made the design for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The name, 'Royal Monarch' was used in a W.S. George China company backstamp. But that company went out of business about 1960, so could not have made an item dated, '1978.' The B&O Railroad had also ended passenger service in 1971, when Amtrak took over. Although 150th anniversary celebration china was made that is marked with the date ranges of 1927-1977 and 1927-1978, all of those pieces were produced with a Shenango China mark.
Information about this intriguing and very popular china pattern's various makers is available in the book, "Official Guide to RR Dining Car China" (McIntyre). A bit of history about it and images of the various marks applied is also available on the Railroadiana Online collector's reference site, a link to which may be found on the Favorite Links page in this shop.
Measures 10 inches long by 4 ¾ inches wide and 1 ¼ inches tall.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
Item listings in this shop are intended to be viewed for educational purposes, only. Items in this shop are not for sale.