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Favorite Brands

Many of the ‘modern’ creamers (and teapots, and pitchers, etc) have stickers or marks which identify their makers, and I’ve tried to identify them in the appropriate theme section.  Here I’m featuring just a few factories or brands, selected either because I have quite a number of their cows in my collection, or because their brand names are quite well known, or just because I personally find them pretty special.

There are two makers or cow creamers that I like best of all.  The first of these is Goebel of (West) Germany, perhaps best known for their Hummel figurines (yes, I have some Hummels --inherited from my Grandmother -- but they don’t pass muster for this collection).  Goebel seems to have made quite a number of cow creamers and pitchers over the years (they bear a number of different Goebel marks, from the Crown through various bees), some realistic, others fanciful.  I would hope that some serious Goebel collector can perhaps tell me how many cow creamers and pitchers they have actually produced – I’ve tried the web and a number of books, but without success.

 

From the number of these that come available on eBay, they seem to be the most common of the Goebel cow creamers.  The smaller version of the standing creamer has a matching sugar bowl, but I’ve never found one for the larger creamer.  This model has also been used fairly widely for souvenirs.

This Goebel caricature of a cow with the large back opening and outsized udder (must be uncomfortable) is also quite common, and popular as a souvenir…at least at Niagara Falls.

Many of the Goebel creamers have apparently been copied by other manufacturers. The smaller of the brown and white ones in the first picture has many close ‘relatives’, and I have a couple of the outsized-udder ones that are unmarked and quite similar to the Goebels.  Here’s another example – the one on the left is marked for “Goebel, W. Germany” and came to me from an eBay seller in the UK.  I bought the other two on a trip to Germany; the middle one is marked “Made in W. Germany”, and the one on the right – that has some extra ceramic on the neck – is unmarked. The ‘original’ has the horns and ears separated while they’re merged in the copies.


Here’s another of those large-uddered creamers (this one without a bell), next to an early and rather wild green Goebel cow pitcher, along with their marks.   The green guy is a bit scarred, but he’s the only one I’ve ever seen in that color; apparently they came in red as well, and perhaps other colors (??).  The red one is sitting next to a Goebel cow-head pitcher.

Here’s another fanciful Goebel representation, a cow head on a barrel; and a lovely small realistic black and white creamer.

Here’s another early realistic Goebel creamer, bearing the incised Crown mark; as well as the letter  “S” and the mold mark “465” over “3”.

These two appear very similar and also bear the Crown mark, but the larger has the initials “Z.V.”, and the smaller one has a mold mark that I believe to be “473”.

Three more, with the crown mark, displaying the differences in size and coloration of this style mold.

Goebel was founded in 1871, and its first porcelain factory was opened in 1878 in Oeslau-Rödental, in the Coburg district of Bavaria. Following the end of WWII, this area became part of the US Zone of Germany – as this interesting stamp on one of the more popular Goebel cow creamers testifies.

and here are a couple matte white ones, both with the stamped full V-bee mark; the one with the bell has the mark on the bottom of the left front hoof, which is unusual since brand marks are usually on the belly as is the case with the one without a bell (and less distinct mold impressions).  It also has a circle with “Foreign” inside, making me think it was a British import.

Here is another white "Goebel, W. Germany" creamer, from a slightly different mold, and glazed.

The Goebel cow creamers appear to be, or at least have been, popular as souvenirs in Germany. Here are a white one with a sticker for Goebel that’s displaying “Grus aus dem Schwartzwald”, and a brown and white one with the small V-bee symbol – similar to but smaller than the ones in the first picture – that shows Hansel and Gretel in “Marchenhain-Niederhimbach”. This one also sports a gold and black sticker on left flank for “E&A, Böckling, Neudenau”.

Finally for the Goebel part of the collection, here’s a beautifully crafted kneeling creamer bearing what’s known as the double crown mark: an incised “wide crown WG” which was in use from 1935-1945, also “S” and “471/2”, plus a green stamp with the same wide crown WG mark.

Schafer and Vater is my other favorite brand.  Gustav Schafer and Gunther Vater founded their factory in Volkstedt Rudolstadt, Thuringa, Germany in 1890, to produce high quality porcelain. In 1896 they purchased the List Porcelain Factory at Neuhaus, and by 1910 Sears Roebuck & Company began to import and distribute Schafer & Vater pottery into the US. In 1913 Paul Schafer took over from his father and, working alongside Gunther Vater, built up a successful workforce of around 200 people, using 3 kilns. In 1918 the factory was destroyed by fire and they set up a new factory to resume production.  The firm closed in 1962, and it’s believed that the East German government assumed control of the vacant factory in 1972, and all records and molds were destroyed. Schafer & Vater are well-known for comical and figural items, as well as jugs, creamers, miniature liquor bottles for distribution by pubs, special advertising runs for clients, figurines, match strikers, hair holders, “naughties”, hat pin holders, and planters. Their impressed mark is a crown above an 'R' in a star, although it wasn’t always used and frequently is indistinct.  A characteristic of their pottery is the fine texture of the locally mined clay that was rich in kaolin and yielded pottery with velvety texture and very fine grain.   There are a number of S&V collectors featured on the web.  I have stayed strictly with their dressed-up animal creamers, but I like their work so much that I have succumbed to a number of their other animals in addition to cows, as you will see.

This standing lady in the yellow and pink dress is perhaps the most commonly available S&V cow creamer.  S&V often made their products in multiple sizes and colors, and from what I have seen they frequently produced blue and white as well as colored versions of their creamers.


Indeed, here’s a whole herd of them…

These three lovely well dressed blue lady cows are a good example of S&V’s size variations.  The largest is 6¼” tall, the middle one 4½”, and the small one 3¾”.  And who knows – there may yet be more lurking out there waiting to join my herd.

Here’s a second version of an S&V cow creamer, nattily dressed in a red coat with green pants…and its blue counterpart.

The creamer on the left here, although unmarked, is almost assuredly S&V…by virtue of style, material, detail such as on the skirt, and finding one on eBay that was offered from an estate of someone who collected only S&V.  The one on the right is a heavier ceramic, not porcelain, and lacks the fine features of the S&V.  A very knowledgeable S&V expert, Cody (Al McQueen) was kind enough to suggest that it is probably from the same area (Rudolstadt) since many factories made similar items and artists moved around.  He also noted that S&V stopped making figural novelties like these shortly after WW1, and from then until they closed in the 1960s made only utilitarian forms. This certainly helps with the dating.

This well dressed lady cow creamer comes in blue as well…another indication that it is almost certainly S&V.  These both have illegible numbers around the base.

Here are two versions of an S&V ‘pitcher’ featuring a back faced cow with an impish look on her face standing next to a winsome Scandinavian milkmaid.  The smaller one came to me from Florida, and the larger – which arrived several years later – actually hailed from Sweden, which likely explains the colors of her vest.  The big creamer stands some 7” tall, one of the largest of my S&V pieces.

And here's another, pretty realistic looking from the side with the back of the cow and the milkmaid, but leading one to wonder exactly what the lady is doing from the look on that cow's face.  I'm anxious to find a multi-colored version of this one.

Eventually I did manage to find a colored version of this comical S&V cow, which I bought via eBay from Sweden.  A year or so later, I was delighted to acquire a similar one – basically the same cow, but a quite different pitcher and milkmaid – this time from the Isle of Jersey!  I believe these are quire rare, both because they’re the only ones I have ever seen, and because the bidding on them was quite fierce. I prevailed, but at some cost! They’re great examples of the S&V sense of humor, combined with very high quality pottery.  Now that I have three of these, I’m naturally wondering how many more variations there are.


Goats come in two styles, but a limited range of colors


and Pigs seem to be in only a single style – the Monk with cowl, keys, and ladle -  but in a range of colors and sizes.

This pig came to me from Manchester England, and the seller said he got it from a dealer in Scotland.  At first I was quite excited because it’s of thicker and heavier porcelain than all the other S&V animal creamers, and has a rim around the back opening as well as an unglazed rim on a recessed, glazed bottom.  It does bear the S&V mark (partial) as well as a mold number, so I thought for sure it must be one of theirs, revealing a different manufacturing technique.  But it turns out, NOT SO! Sometime later I saw what looked like an S&V creamer offered on eBay with a cautionary note to buyers that it was a reproduction.  The seller pointed to the www.keralouve.com web site, of the Mundial Company. of Belgium.  So I there and sure enough – among a lot of other reproductions of many different makers, was this pig.  These folks only sell to vendors, so apparently feel they can pass off their products and let others take the hit for falsifying origin. As noted above, all the S&V molds had been destroyed by the East Germans. Turns out this pig is a recast - the thickness comes from their having used an original to create a new mold .  Coloration, glaze, etc. also differ from the original. Seems I now have to be more careful when acquiring S&V (and other older) items, particularly because I’ve noticed these types of reproductions showing up on eBay more frequently.  Whether the chap in Manchester or the person he got it from in Scotland knew it was a reproduction I have no way of knowing -  but having been fooled once (to the tune of £62) I will now be more careful, and take advantage of eBay’s buyer protection policy should I get ‘bit’ again.

Here’s another pig monk that bears a faint S&V mark – very different from the interpretation shown above, and the only one of this mold that I have ever seen.   I was, and remain, a bit skeptical about this one’s provenance albeit the bisque and mark match those on known S&V creamers.  I checked the www.keralouve.com site mentioned above, but it’s not there, so if this is indeed a reproduction, it’s someone else’s.  At least it wasn’t very expensive, so it was well worth taking the chance. 


Here are a family of bears (now we need a Goldilocks), and a troop of fancy-dressed monkeys with a derby hat, cane, and flowers in hand.  I can only assume they’re on their way to court a lady.

Here’s another shot of the bears - just when I think I have them all, along comes another…in this case, the Grandpa bear on the right, a full 6” tall.  Here they all are lined up on our mantle.

My wife absolutely refuses to let this one join the family on the mantle – bears just aren’t supposed to be orange. She’s not fond of the blue one, either…

Like the other animal creamers, the geese (does one say Mother Geese or Mother Gooses?) come in a variety of sizes and colors. The gentleman with the top hat and lid was sold as S&V and has some similar features and the same whimsical style, but I believe it’s most likely from some other German maker because the porcelain is distinctly different.

Mystery solved (at a very modest price)!.  Here is the S&V small goose in the middle, surrounded by the gentleman with the lid and a lady that is unmistakably a copy of the S&V one. I normally would have passed them up, but wanted to find out who made the ones that are so similar to S&V.  It turns out that they aren’t German as I postulated above, but rather bear the mark of “The Horchow Collection”, as well as “Made in England”.  Naturally I dashed to Wikipedia via Google, finding that “Samuel Roger Horchow (born July 3, 19828 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a catalog entrepreneur and Broadway producer…In 1971, Horchow started The Horchow Collection, the first luxury mail-order catalog that was not preceded by a brick-and-mortar presence. He sold the Horchow Collection to Neiman Marcus in 1988.” Horchow has produced quite a numberv of successful Broadway plays, and is the author of three books. I wonder if he realizes that somewhere along the line he (or maybe Nieman Marcus?) copied S&V?

Back to real S&V, here’s a very large – 6 ½” tall – version of Mother Goose.

I was very pleased to acquire this donkey, via ebay…first I’ve seen, and I wasn’t aware that they made one. He must be fairly rare, because the bidding was quite furious.  Probably could have bought a live donkey or 3 for what I ended up paying.  Now of course I’ll be looking to see what he might look like in a colored version.

When I first got the big grey and white S&V cat (yes, it is marked) I thought these might be quite rare because I had all these other animals but no cats. Well, now it turns out I have four cats in two different sizes and all of different colors. And I know for sure that there’s a plain blue one out there somewhere. These aren’t quite as humorous as the other S&V animal creamers – whether that’s because S&V liked cats or didn’t find them funny, I don’t know. I’m allergic to them, but find these porcelain versions fairly innocuous.

I still haven’t managed to get a blue S&V cat, but this bright orange one with a green tail arrived from the UK early in 2014.  My wife, who likes cats, found this color scheme rather upsetting.  Oh well – at least it provides color-companionship to a goose, monkey and pig.

Before leaving Germany, I should mention Royal Bayreuth.  The Royal Bayreuth porcelain factory was established in Tettau in 1794, and is the oldest privately owned Bavarian china firm.  Since they’ve been making very high quality porcelain for over 200 years there are thousands of pieces and a very active collector’s club, see www.royalbayreuth.org.  I’m not aware that they ever made any full-bodied cow creamers, but they have produced a line of cow , water buffalo, and bull head pitchers, like the ones shown here.  There are more examples in the Heads theme.

Fitz & Floyd.   If I had to pick a third favorite, this US brand company would qualify.  In great American entrepreneurial fashion you have to dig for anything about them on their web site since it’s basically a sales outlet.  They’ve been in business since @1960, with studios in Dallas and production wherever they can get a good deal (China, Taiwan mostly), or so it seems to me.  They make “handpainted ceramic giftware, tableware, decorative assortments, home fragrance and collectibles”, which I interpret as meaning just about anything ceramic that will sell.  Occasionally they go through spurts of popular themes, and for a while in the 90’s produced a number of quite lovely cow items.  Go to the Christmas theme, for example, to see their superb “Eight Maids a’  Milking” pitcher.  Here I feature just two of their cow ‘collections’ –

this Green Acre Dairy set from 1996, and…

the lovely Heidi Holstein who dates from 1994, here with the teapot, creamer, and sugar, plus…


a pitcher, cup, plate, and platter (probably more than I should be showing for a creamer collection, but like the S&V ‘other animals’, a nice accompaniment for lovely examples of the basic collection theme.)

Tom Hatton.  Also from the US, and both designed and made here, are these whimsical cows from the studio of Tom Hatton, dated (l-r) 1994, 91, and 93.   His studio is located in Bonita, CA…On his web site, http://www.tomhattonceramics.com/, his wife Diane tells us a bit about him:   “Tom was born in Hawaii in 1944 to a Portuguese mother and a farm boy father from Georgia.  Growing up barefoot on the beaches of Waikiki was an idyllic beginning followed by a year on the farm where he developed a passion for grits and huge hogs. He grew up in San Diego and attended San Diego State College receiving first his BA and then his MA in sculpture with a master's show featuring among other things, the Bank of America on the back of a pig.  (It was during the Vietnam War.)  He married me, Diane Chase, and taught art classes part-time at San Diego State and the various local junior colleges.  We had two children, Carlson and Alana, and I taught elementary school. In 1983, we were introduced to the American Craft Council shows and Tom found a ready audience for his work in galleries and stores across the country.  While it forced him to be a little more commercial than he would have liked, it served us well, enabling us to work together and put the children through school. In 1995, we chose to let the people who had worked for us, seven of them at the busiest, go on to other things and we pared the line down so that Tom was not doing so much repetition and more one-of-a-kind work.  It is still exciting and he's always working on something new.  He still never talks about what he is making and it is always a surprise when I see a completed work.  It's fun.”  You can see more of Tom’s cow pieces on the Teapots page.

Here is another of Hatton’s cows – this one is dated ’88, and marked A/P for Artist’s Proof.  The lady from whom I acquired it stated that she bought it directly from Tom’s wife Diane when she was cleaning out his workshop. I believe it is one-of-a-kind, and comes from when he was developing his approach to cows, finally settling on the style of the ones above.  For those of you that appreciate his work, check out his teapot and matching sugar and creamers on that page.

Next are a number of other designed-in-the-US and produced overseas examples.

Here are two neat old cow sugar and creamers. The set on the left is from The Holt-Howard Company of Stamford, Connecticut, an importer that was started in 1948 by John and Robert Howard and A. Grant Holt. They focused on whimsical kitchen items and giftware, and are probably best known for their ‘pixiware’. They were bought out by General Housewares Corporation in 1969, but the HH name was apparently retained until production ceased in 1990. See, e.g., http://www.collectics.com/education_pixieware.html. Pixiware was so popular that other companies started to copy it. One of these companies was Lipper & Mann, who are responsible for the funny cow set on the right. According to the web site for Lipper International – Lipper bought out Mann in 1963 and changed the name – they were organized in 1946 on 5th Ave, NY, as an importer of glass and ceramics from Czechoslovakia and other European companies. They started importing from Japan in 1947, which is where these (and the teapot set shown in that section) came from. Mr Lipper passed on in 2002 but the company is still going strong, now as a wholesaler of wooden items and, among other things, ‘Lipperware’.

1

Otagiri Manufacturing Company, more commonly called OMC, was based out of San Francisco and its products were (originally) manufactured in Japan. Around the 1960s, a very similar company called Jard Products arose that had the same designs and even nearly identical stickers. In the mid-1990s, Otagiri was sold to Enesco Corporation.  Otagiri, like Fitz and Floyd, seems to have periods when cows are a popular theme.

3

From http://collectibles.about.com, I learned that “George Zoltan Lefton was a Hungarian immigrant who arrived in Chicago in 1939. Although his background was in marketing and designing specialty clothing, he had a passion for collecting fine porcelain. The Lefton Company was founded in 1941 … he traveled to Japan in 1945 to seal an importing agreement and the first Lefton China product marked "Made in Occupied Japan" reached the United States in 1946… The Lefton Company was purchased by OMT Enterprises in 2005 and moved to California”.  Lefton made cups, pitchers, etc in this cow-shaped form, and they not only were popular themselves, but have been quite widely copied.  There are a number of examples elsewhere in the collection.

Mary's Moo Moos were created by artist and designer Mary Rhyner-Nadig.  They are one of the many collectible product lines of Enesco, a producer of giftware and home and garden décor products, based in Itasca, IL. Moo Moos seem to be quite popular, and there are a number of collectors clubs.  Most of them are figurines, but there are (at least) these two that fit my collection, a creamer (albeit the cow itself is not the creamer) and this teapot, ©1993. 


Fine dinnerware china companies get into the cow-act as well.  Here is a “French Country Cow” set and a “Poppies on Blue” calf creamer, both by Lennox, and…

here is Villeroy and Boch’s “Happy Farm” cow.

There are of course quite a number of English potteries that still produce (or until recently did produce) cow creamers. As just a few examples, here are:

A couple fancy ones from Royale Stratford.  They had a reputation as one of England’s finest makers of bone china, but ceased production in November 2005.

Apparently being ‘one of the finest …’ gets your stuff purchased and resold by Eximious of London.  That was a new word to me, so first I looked it up and found that my huge Webster’s unabridged says that yes it is indeed obsolete, but that it means ‘select, choice, excellent’.  The blue Eximions logo goes a bit further, claiming ‘Excellent, Distinguished, Elegant’.  Dr Bill Long’s Spellers Diary gives a somewhat fuller explication:  “When the Puritans began to publish their voluminous sermons and theological treatises in the 17th century, they bequeathed to the English language not only a peculiar Scripture-centered piety that has been rediscovered by many in our day, but they discovered (or invented) lots of words to capture the fullness and transformative power of the Gospel that they preached… one of their words, eximious, [was] used by the greats such as John Owen and John Flavel, and meaning ‘excellent, distinguished, or eminent.’ Granted, the OED says that it was a common term in 17th century literature which assumed a rather pedantic meaning in the 19th (see the discussion of esurient in a previous essay), but I was impressed through some quick internet searches of the way it is used in connection with the ‘eximious way of the Cross’or ’eximious expression of love’ by the Puritan preachers.”    See what you can learn from the bottom of a cow? Incidentally, the www.eximious.com web site notes that “Josephine Louis, founder and Chairwoman, discovered the charming and elegant shop called Eximious during the time she lived in England in the 1980's. Famous for gifts and monogrammed accessories - the Belgravia shop so thoroughly inspired Mrs. Louis that she decided to start a catalogue and shop in the United States. Twenty four years later, Eximious of London has become synonymous with the understated good taste and elegance of British traditions and is justly proud of a clientele in numerous countries…Eximious' well-deserved reputation is the result of a tireless quest throughout Europe and the world by Mrs. Louis and her staff, who travel for months in pursuit of the select collection of treasures which she is so delighted to share with you.” 

This teapot and creamer are marked for Moorland, Staffordshire, Chelsea Works, Burslem. This pottery studio was started by the Hungarian Joseph Szeiler in Staffordshire in 1951.  His Burslem factory opened in 1955.  After his death it was taken over and renamed Moorland (after the address) in the mid-1980s.

Here are a creamer and teapot from Price & Kensington Potteries, another of the famous Stoke on Trent factories; they’re now part of the Rayware Group.

These three are humorous ‘take-offs’ on the cow creamer by Beswick, a famous maker of high quality figurines.  From www.myantiquemall.com, I learned that “J. Beswick (pronounced BESS-wik) started his Staffordshire pottery around 1894 making dinnerware and such ornamental ceramics as the then ubiquitous Staffordshire cats and dogs. Most were unmarked and are hard to tell from their competitors’.”   In 1934 descendents John Ewart and Gilbert Beswick introduced high fired bone china figurines of “unmatched quality and detail” first featuring animals in humorous settings, and then under ceramicist Arthur Gredington they started using named breed champions as models. Their champion horses, dogs, and cows were very famous and popular (and expensive). In 1969, having run out of heirs to run the firm, the family sold out to Royal Doulton. I’m sure that there is a story to accompany these ‘creamers’; they are actually ‘models’ or satires of creamers, and have no mouth holes. They were designed by Graham Tongue, and were made from 1982-89, Model #2792.  The one with the yellow flowers seems to be the most common, but as seen here there are also blue and purple versions (and maybe more??).

The Emma Bridgewater line of china includes cow creamers in several of their patterns.  They have recently been reintroduced, presumably in time for Christmas ’07 shopping, albeit they bear (for some reason that truly puzzles me) a warning that they are not intended for food use.  Given their price (£50 from their web site!) this seems truly strange and inappropriate. Be that as it may, I of course needed one of each pattern that they make…they’re on page 3 of Modern Variations, along with a couple collector’s versions.


“Kent” cow creamers bearing the knot logo, like the ones on the right and center in this photo, date from 1944-1962 (when the factory stopped making them) and were produced from 19th century molds. The Museum of Pottery and Art in Stoke on Trent (home of the fabulous Keiller collection of Staffordshire cow creamers) has reproduced some in various colors (with the knot logo) for sale exclusively at their gift shop; the creamer with the green country scene on the left is one of those.  William Kent initially established his factory in Burselm in 1878, and produced ‘Old Staffordshire’ style pottery from even older molds.  The early Kent versions, as well as those that predate his operation or have been reproduced more recently, are unmarked.  They come in a wide range of colors and decorations, both on bases and free standing.  All however have lids. See Jim Hurford’s website http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/~jim/ for some examples of older ‘Kent’ type creamers in the Staffordshire theme.