Ceramic Art Company

  

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In operation

1889-1906

Wares

Belleek china, Belleek vases (Industrial Directory 1901); Belleek china (Industrial Directory 1906)

Maker's Marks

Click to enlarge

Notes

The Ceramic Art Company purchased a tile shop on Prince Street from Miss Robinson in the 1890s (Harney 1929).

Eight connected Lenox-era structures, two to four stories high, were still standing in the late 1970s. The oldest building was along Mead and St. Joe’s Streets and dated from the Ceramic Art Company period. This building was constructed in such a way that the structures could have been converted into tenements if the pottery venture failed. Walter Scott Lenox, one of the two founders, became the sole director of the pottery in 1894; in 1906 the name was changed from the Ceramic Art Company to Lenox Pottery. The firm made high quality ivory-tinted Belleek ware with help from two potters who were brought in from Holland. Lenox was the first company to sell china by the piece rather than the entire set. President Wilson bought a china set for the White House in 1917; it has been the official china there ever since. In 1954 Lenox moved all production to Pomona, New Jersey. In the 1970s administrative functions were still carried out in the old buildings on Prince and Mead Streets. Further architectural detail is given within the text (Abramson and Karschner 1978).

“Jonathan Coxon, Sr., who served as superintendent of the Ott & Brewer plant during most of [the] period of American Belleek production, entered into a partnership with [Walter Scott] Lenox in 1889 establishing the Ceramic Art Company at Prince and Mead Streets. He and Lenox applied their knowledge of the new process to their own production.

Coxon retired in 1896 from pottery making but Lenox continued the Ceramic Art Company changing the company name to Lenox in 1906. From the very inception, the Ceramic Art Company concentrated its effort on the creation of high quality Belleek porcelains creating some of the finest decorative porcelains ever produced in the United States. Lenox dinnerware ultimately achieved a degree of acceptance accorded only the finest of its foreign competitors. The highest accolade was bestowed upon Lenox when it was selected to supply the White House with its dinner ware during the Woodrow Wilson administration. This is a distinction which it continues to hold” (Goldberg 1998:52).

All buildings and structures on the site were demolished in March and April, 2005, except for the three-story office building and one-story workshop on Prince Street (Hunter 2005).

Selected References

Fitzgerald, Thomas F. 1890-1900. “Fitzgerald’s Trenton and Mercer County Directory, Together with a Directory of Bordentown, Burlington, Mount Holly and Lambertville, NJ and Morrisville, PA, Included a Fund of Information Concerning Public and Private Institutions, National, State, County, City and Borough Governments, Gathered from Reliable and Official Sources.” Thomas F. Fitzgerald, Trenton, New Jersey.

Ceramic Art Company. 1891. “The Ceramic Art Co.: Potters and Decorators of Belleek China, Indian China, and Artists’ Specialties.” E. O. Wagner, New York.

“The Potteries.” 1891. Crockery & Glass Journal 34, October 1, 1891, p. 31.

Ceramic Art Company. 1897. “The Ceramic Art Co.: Makers and Decorators of Exclusive Productions in Artistic China and Porcelains.” Ceramic Art Company, Trenton.

Fitzgerald, Thomas F. 1901-1905. “Fitzgerald’s Trenton and Mercer County Directory, Together with a Directory of Bordentown, Burlington, Mount Holly and Lambertville, NJ.” Thomas F. Fitzgerald, Trenton, New Jersey.

New Jersey Bureau of Industrial Statistics. 1906. “The Industrial Directory of New Jersey.” Trenton, New Jersey.

Secretary of State. 1914. “Corporations of New Jersey, List of Certificates to December 31, 1911.” MacCrellich & Quigley, Trenton, New Jersey.

Holmes, George Sanford. 1924. “Lenox China: The Story of Walter Scott Lenox.” Lenox Incorporated, United States.

Holmes, George Sanford. 1937. “Walter Scott Lenox.” Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society 16 (April):177-80.

Abramson, D.V. and T. Karschner. 1978. “An Inventory of Historical Engineering and Industrial Sites, Trenton, New Jersey.” On file, New Jersey Historic Preservation Office (NJDEP), Trenton, New Jersey.

Robinson, Dorothy and Bill Feeny. 1980. “The Official Price Guide to American Pottery & Porcelain.” House of Collectibles, Orlando, Florida.

Gaston, Mary Frank. 1984. “American Belleek.” Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Denker, Ellen Paul. 1989. “Lenox China: Celebrating a Century of Quality 1889-1989.” Lenox, Inc., Trenton, New Jersey.

Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooney. 1989. “American Porcelain, 1770-1920.” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

Nottle, Diane. 1997. “Beauty, Utility and Paychecks. All Built on a Base of Clay.” New York Times, November 9, 1997.

Goldberg, David J. 1998. “Preliminary Notes on the Pioneer Potters and Potteries of Trenton, N.J.: The First Thirty Years – 1852 – 1882 (And Beyond).” Privately published, Trenton, New Jersey.

Conroy, Barbara J. 1999. “Restaurant China: Volume 2.” Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Hunter, Richard W. 2005. “Lenox Factory Buildings Demolished.” Trenton Potteries 5(2/3):1-10.

Denker, Ellen. 2009. “Faces & Flowers: Painting on Lenox China.” University of Richmond Museums, Richmond, Virginia.

Lenox, Inc. N.d. “The Story of Lenox Belleek China.” Lenox, Inc. Trenton, New Jersey.

Wall, John P. N.d. “History of the Potteries of Trenton, New Jersey.” Manuscript on file, Trenton Public Library, Trenton, New Jersey.

Other firms at this site:

Other Names

Ceramic Art Company

Block and Lot:
195E/91

Historic Street Address:
Mead Street and Prince Street; Mead Street near Prince Street; Mead Street corner St. Joes Avenue; 15 Prince Street; 50 Mead; 15 Prince

Municipality:
City of Trenton