|In 1950, the Homer Laughlin China Company made an exclusive Western pattern (or Cowboy series) for F. W. Woolworth stores. The original concept was to make a series of western inspired decals to be used on the Kraft (rope) shape in an ivory glaze. Eventually, the Rhythm shape was used and the series was assigned the treatment number, W-251.
It is somewhat unfortunate the Kraft shape wasn't used since the rope border would have tied into the cowboy theme nicely. Perhaps Rhythm was chosen since other potteries were using rope shapes in the same manner. Universal Potteries had a rope border shape called Rodeo which was used as a basis for a line with Roy Rogers decals. The W. S. George Pottery Company also used a rope shape with their Hopalong Cassidy child's set.
To the right are some of HLC art director Don Schreckengost's notes on the Western pattern. There were multiple border motifs considered, but only one, the cowboy hat, was used. Some of the center designs included the ranch house, a corral, cactus, camp fire, and branding. Also considered were gold stamps for use around the border. The final selection of center designs included: ranch house, bronc riding, campfire, lasso spinner, and the wrangler.
Below are copies of the sketches drawn up during the early concept phase of the line. Most are noted as being intended for the Kraft shape and others feature a wide array of border designs under consideration at the time. The sketches come from the research files of Jo Cunningham and Darlene Nossaman. At the bottom of the page are actual production examples on a Rhythm platter and dinner plate. Besides the standard Rhythm line, the Western pattern was also used on Nautilus Ivory and pick up pieces including the Jubilee coffee pot and the square ashtray.