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Famous Old Ships
Famous Old Ships was a line of dinnerware from 1941 that did not go into production. It was intended to be made up of underglaze prints with different subjects, not unlike previous lines such as Americana and Early American Homes. Jo Cunningham noted in her book, Homer Laughlin China, 1940s & 1950s, that the ship subjects included: Santa Maria, Mayflower, San Martin, Bounty, and California Clipper.

To the right are two sample plates on display at the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex in Moundsville, West Virginia. The California Clipper print is in blue on Eggshell Nautilus and in red on Theme Eggshell.

The pieces shown below are from the collection of The Fiesta® Tableware Company. Unfortunately, the only ships found in their archives are the California Clipper and San Martin. From the samples, it is clear they had considered different shapes (namely Kwaker, Eggshell Nautilus, Theme Eggshell, and Swing Eggshell), at least three different colors (red, mulberry, blue, and green), and a few border patterns, one shell and at least two different floral.

The "R" numbers noted below are research numbers that were hand-written under the glaze so the art department could keep track of the combinations of pattern, shape, and color. Each piece was marked Famous Old Ships with the name of the ship at the bottom.


California Clipper on a Brittany chop plate, R-15-1815

San Martin on a Brittany chop plate, R-15-1929

California Clipper on an Eggshell Nautilus chop plate, R-15-1893

Eggshell Nautilus Covered sugar, R-15-1908

California Clipper on a Swing Eggshell 9" plate, R-15-1883

California Clipper on a Kwaker 9" plate, R-15-1929

California Clipper on an Eggshell Nautilus 9" plate, R-15-1918

California Clipper on a Kwaker 9" plate, R-15-1929

California Clipper on an Eggshell Nautilus 9" plate, R-15-1893

California Clipper on a Kwaker 9" plate, R-15-1809

California Clipper on a Kwaker 9" plate, R-15-1810

California Clipper on a Kwaker 9" plate, R-15-1928

San Martin on a Kwaker 9" plate, R-15-1929

San Martin on an Eggshell Nautilus 9" plate, R-15-1929

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