The Modern Farmer shape is one of the most unusual lines made by HLC. The flatware can be best described as a coupe shape with pleated ripples. Creamers, sugars and sauceboats have a stretched appearance and exaggerated handles. It was based on a shape originally made by James River Potteries of Hopewell, Virginia and once in a while a James River version will be found with a "JR" or "James River Potteries" backstamp.
The first time Frederick Rhead mentions Modern Farmer in his notes is on June 19, 1940: McDonald, Sears Roebuck here. Wants to make James River line. McDonald was the buyer for Sears who worked closely with HLC and other potteries. During the next month, most of the Modern Farmer items were modeled and by August 3, 1940, they were released into production.
Sears picked up the new shape and sold it for several seasons with various decal treatments. They offered at least two: "Gascon," a blue floral treatment and "Breton," a multicolored and multi-sprig decal line that would later become known as "Priscilla" on other shapes. Other commonly found treatments include one with small yellow daisies and another with the popular petit point rose. Several other treatments can be found, but don't expect the large library of decals commonly associated with other shapes of the time such as Virginia Rose and Eggshell Nautilus.
At one point, HLC toyed with the idea of making Modern Farmer in solid colored glazes from Fiesta and Serenade. Samples of Modern Farmer in Serenade pastel glazes were made for Sears in 1941, but the line never materialized.
Modern Farmer is marked with a general HLC backstamps. Production did not continue beyond 1943.
See also section on James River Potteries.