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Modern Variations

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These two are unmarked, but are presumably German since we bought them at Abrecht Glas Porzellan in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany.  They were not sold as a set, and although the kneeling cow might be intended for sugar it also has a mouth hole so perhaps it can equally well serve for a liquid (or maybe you’re supposed to pour the sugar).

This is a finely done but unmarked porcelain pitcher in a basket weave pattern. I'm showing her best side - the left horn is broken and ear chipped, but it's so unique that I couldn't resist it.  Inexpensive, also, because of the damage.

Although unmarked, this quite large and heavy mottled blue creamer is by Moorland, or at least from one of their molds.  There is a bit about them along with a similar creamer accompanied by a teapot in the England section of the Favorite Brands page, and also a couple more teapots - including a blue and white one - on the Teapots page.  This one came with a sticker on the base from a British dealer in antiques and ‘objets d’arte’, as well as a tag around its neck from a December 2001 Antiques Fair in Newark.  From there it went into the extensive collection of a Belgian gentleman, and I got it as his collections was being sold off in pieces at the Catawiki auction site.


To close out the blue and whites, here are a couple simple small white creamers with  blue  transfer prints.  Transfer prints have been used on creamers since the 18c, and the small ‘blue willow’ one here, although inexpensive, this isn’t all that bad a modern example.  The one with a winter scene, however, shows how not to do it…the print has been poorly applied, and parts of it are missing or blurred.

Before moving beyond cows by color, here’s a red one.  No need to guess where she’s from…The maker is Cotfer of Geneva, ‘The Original Swiss Collection, Conceptual innovators in popular Swiss souvenirs for the last 90 years’ per their web site.  There are a couple pairs of theirs on the sugar and creamers page.

This red one has a big yellow flowery design on its belly – it comes from “MWM Market” and was made in China.

This fanciful red creamer on a filled blue base was sold as “French Meadow” and bears a stamp which says it’s “poetic wanderlust designed by Tracy Porter”. It’s copyrighted for Certified International and was made in China.

As I noted in the introduction to the white cows, the ‘fashion’ seems to have changed starting in the early the 2010’s, from white to colored, with the sellers of kitchenware offering rather simple cows in a choice of brilliant and sometimes very non-cowish colors.  Here is one example, sold through Walmart (of all places) from “The Pioneer Woman” as proudly displayed on their tags, and distributed by Gibson Overseas Inc of Commerce, CA.  Yes there is a white one, but it has brilliant flowers and it accompanies its cousins in bright solid teal and red.  And as proof positive of the change in style, on July 18 2011 the Pioneer Woman herself (Ree)  posted a “Life and Style”  note entitled “White Porcelain Cow Creamer” in which she said “Call me crazy, but I really do think this is the perfect gift for so many occasions when you can’t figure out what to get someone. A perfectly white porcelain cow creamer: it doesn’t get any more whimsical, kitschy, fun, sweet, or shiny than that….” Noting that she had 3 herself, she suggested 4 manufacturers from whom folks could get them at the time.  Then what does she do?? Market her own in red and teal. Egad…

Here’s a similar example – it’s  from Food Network, made in China (of course), and it comes in quite a variety of colors – I opted for the pale green and didn’t bother to buy the rest, since I’ve already made my point courtesy of ‘Ree The Pioneer Woman’.  These Food Network creamers are widely available, and I bought this one on sale in a Kohl’s department store in Fredricksburg VA while wasting time before a lunch with friends.

Yet another example of the mid-2010s trend to wierd colors, presumably intended to match someone’s kitchen decor. These two – sold as a pair – were termed ‘melon’ by the seller “Traders and Company” which deals in imported home décor and giftware, and on their web site offers sitting as well as standing cow (and other animal) creamers in several bright solid colors. These cows were (what a surprise!) Made in China.  I think the color is closer to mustard, but then interior decoration isn’t my forte.

Cows also come decorated with flowers.  Most of these are made in Japan.

This little lady is identical to the cow that’s 2nd from the right in the left hand picture above – except that she lacks a bell. I thought she looked ‘familiar but different’ when I bought her – but with as large a collection as this one has grown to be, I sometimes lose track. Elsewhere on these pages you’ll also find a couple larger versions of this mold.


More flowers.  In the photo of 5 cows, the two in back are Japanese; the left-most one with the head forward and lowering, has “MTH 1968” written in gold on its belly.  The one in the middle in front, with the brown horns running straight across her head is marked for Elizabeth Crane; and the little heavy ceramic one on the right has “FRIÛL” on its rump and hails from Italy.  In the shot of two, the lady dressed up with the red ribbon is unmarked, but the heavy white one with blue flowers has a small circular blue sticker that says ‘Made in West Germany”.

Yet more flowers, in a variety of styles.  The white cow with red flowers is marked in blue “Made in West Germany”. It is almost certainly a Goebel product, based on its shape and marking similarity to several others in my collection.  The little brown and cream cow with two red roses is unmarked, but also is most likely German.  The one on the right with a lime green tail and stylized dot-flowers bears a Made in China sticker, and has a close relative with orange coloring. The seller of the lime green one said it’s the ‘Old World Pattern’ from the Dairy Collection by Temp-tations. I’ll take his word for it because I can’t find it on their web site.

This pudgy little fellow (no udder – just a tiny bump where one would be…sort of androgynous I guess) has nice red flowers on both sides, front, back, and nose.  Its belly has a fancy black crown over “Made in England” as well as a similar gold crown above “Austin & Maynard”.  Search as I might, I can find no information about them.

This rather forlorn looking large and sturdy brown and white cow with floppy ears, orange udder  and blue eyes with prominent eyelashes arrived from NY with no indication of age or maker.

Maybe not flowers, but lovely red leaves and berries on this rather amazing greenish porcelain cow with gold horns, tail, hooves and raised gold doily-like or moriage fringe around the back opening.  It bears the mark of I.E.& C. Co of Japan,  as well as ‘Hand Painted”.  Of course this sent me to the web, and after a bit of digging I came across three postings by a retired Canadian policeman by the name of John Henley who has done extensive research into this company and its marks – albeit as he states, their details remain a mystery.  What he has managed to discover is that their wares were “produced during the ‘industrial revolution’ and modernization of the porcelain industry in Japan…from approximately 1885 to 1925.”  They chose not to register their products and mark for the US market, but instead appear to have targeted the British and especially their colonies of Australia and New Zealand, albeit many items that ended up there were brought by emigrants from the home island (my creamer came via eBay from a seller in the US who misidentified it, and could only tell me that he got it in an estate sale).  As Mr Henley notes, their marketing decisions “either lead to a planned exit from the market or the economic collapse of the company in the early 1920s, leaving us with a porcelain product that can match the best of the best and an ongoing mystery.”    For those of you who love the story of a good hunt, start with http://www.noritakecollectorsguild.info/researchers/johnhenley/index.html and go on from there to the two pdf files that present his findings, one of which provides a very informative discussion of the Japanese porcelain industry of the period   I have of course sent a picture of this cow to him. He notes that is the first example he has seen, and a variant from their normal product line. But then if they were focused on England and her Asian colonies, then certainly a cow creamer would be a logical item given the Brits’ affinity for these beasts.

The flowers on the belly of this unmarked caricature don’t exactly overlie the bumps.  It bears a family resemblance to the ‘george z. lefton’ cows that are on the Brands page, as well as to the large set on the teapots page – presumably another example of copying a  popular style or pattern.

These two have markings that sort of look like stylized flowers to me, but they are marked “Berries Creamer” and bear stickers for American Atelier, made in China.  I found them in a ‘remainders’ store in Virginia – have never seem them on eBay.


These three creamers are purported to be Blue Ridge China, the product of Southern Potteries of Erwin, TN (which is not on the Blue Ridge…). From their web site we learn that the site was selected by the Ohio Railroad to stimulate commercial growth along its route, and the pottery was constructed in 1916. The first operators were brought in from similar potteries in Ohio and West Virginia.  By the start of WWI, it was one of the largest producers of hand painted china in the US, with over a thousand employees, half of whom were painters.  Following the war, the pottery succumbed to competition from imports, mostly from Japan, and it closed in early 1957.  If I’m wrong in assigning these to Blue Ridge, I’d appreciate hearing about it.

The caricature with the flowers on the side and the big brown horns is unmarked, and is almost certainly late 20c.  The one with the yellow blanket is marked for IAC©1998 and was Made in China. The coloration has apparently been added after firing because some of it had rubbed off.

This starts a subsection of miscellaneous creamers. Some of the ones in these two herds are described in a bit more detail elsewhere.


Another bunch from all over.  They don’t all have stories, but…the little round guy with the red spots and ‘hair’ came to us from Szeged, Hungary (though I doubt it was made there) – the only cow creamer we found in that country.  I remember that trip well because our luggage had been misplaced, so I ended up with a new Hungarian sport coat, shirt and tie for my appointment that day, and by wife bought the cow for me as a Valentines Day gift while I was ‘working’.  We bought the roundish black and white one that’s next to it in a large department store in Helsinki, Finland, in 1997; my wife gave me one just like it from Reykjavik, Iceland, for Father’s Day in 2004.  Cows do get around.

This pudgy and inexpensive one came from Lima Peru, in a shop near the Mercado that sold geegaws for the local folks.  For sure not Peruvian, almost assuredly Chinese (and there are a lot of ‘Chifa’ restaurants in the area), but I couldn’t resist.

While talking about cows from interesting places, here’s the only one (except for a Gzhel teapot) in my collection that comes from Russia.  The seller said this was “Merry Cow”, from the Budy factory, and provided the following information: ““In 1887, the beginning of the work ‘New Kharkov factory MS Kuznetsova in the village of Budy.’ Budy plant was the fourth plant, which came in the ‘Partnership production of porcelain and faience, MS Kuznetsova.’  Partnership has started to operate since 1889 and the beginning of XX century it consisted of 8 major works are already in Russia.   Since 1892 the plant began to make faience. Prior to this (the early years of plant operation, elaborated polufayans)  after the 1917 revolution, the factory was nationalized.   In 1922 he joined the Ukrainian Trust ‘Ukrfarforfayanssteklo.’  This is a while lot more than I know about most of my cows, so I’m grateful for the information.!

Heavens only knows where this delightful caricarture was made...but it came to me via eBay) from New South Wales in Austrailia.

Yet more assortments of Japanese cows.  Interesting variations in depiction and materials. The smiling cow with the big red nose on the far right is by Sonosco, a small Tokyo company founded in 1962 by Mr. Muneo Nagaoka.

On the far left the shot of the small herd that started this subsection on miscellaneous creamers, there was a cow with a picture of a cow on its side.  It’s English bone china according to its mark – and here are two of its cousins, again demonstrating how molds are used by several makers, or alternatively that one factory sells to several distributors. The Milton China one with the cow on the side here also has a cow on its neck.


Interesting horns on the one on the left with the red collar and grey spots – almost like a goat. It has a square green sticker that identifies it as coming from “j.Willfred”, a division of the Charles Sadek Import Company; it was made in China. This company was founded in 1936 by a father and son team and is still led by family members; they supply giftware and accessories to retailers under both the j.Wilfred and Andrea names.  The cow on the right is unmarked; it’s interesting in that the right two legs are hollow and the base appears to be as well. 

This colorful creamer on a stand - that has a companion sheep sugar that I didn't buy - is labeled "Jim Shore, Barnyard, Certified International, Made in China, Hand Wash Only" and "© Jim Shore Designs, Inc."  Various places on the web note that Jim Shore is a native of South Carolina that has designed a number of lines of collectibles. Learn all about him at www.jimshore.com

One of the interesting aspects of this collection (to me at any rate) is how a style of creamer seems to catch the fancy of the public, and is then copied – either precisely by duplicating a mold or by developing new molds with similar characteristics.  The Jackfield creamers are an early example of this, as are the multiple Elsie’s; the pure white creamers which Williams Sonoma first popularized in the US and are now found in dozens of varieties are another. Here starts another example, dating the best I can tell from the post WWII era – basically, creamers with round or wide open mouths, straight legs, and horns and ears pretty much together and more or less flat across the top.  It would be nice to be able to pick out the cow that started the trend, and while that’s rarely possible, at least in this series we can generally date the style to the late 1940s to mid 1950s, with examples from that era from Japan, Germany, and the US.  Let’s start with this picture of three. The only one with marks is the white cow with a blue ribbon on the right, and she is stamped “Occupied Japan”. This places her sometime after the surrender of Japan on April 14 1945 and before the restoration of independence on April 28 1952 – probably during the latter part of that period when the vast majority of exports so marked were kitchenware. . Although hard to see in this shot she also bears the script word “Elsie” in blue on her left shoulder. As described in some detail and with many examples on the Advertising page, Elsie was first devised as a cartoon character for Borden’s products in 1936, and became very popular following the 1939 New York World’s Fair. This cow bears little resemblance to Borden’s Elsie, but presumably the potter was trying to take advantage of the name since Borden’s Elsie was extremely popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

 

Coming from the other side of the world but at about the same time is the brown cow here that is stamped “Made in Western Germany” in green and has impressed maker’s and mold marks that arrear to be an underlined T and 8781. Her white companion with the little flowers and blue toes and ears is also marked Made in Western Germany, but in this case it’s on the bottom of her left front hoof. 

 

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Over to the US, this creamer with quite similar features but straight cylindrical legs and gold hooves is the star of a 1947 advertisement for “Betsy Cow Creamer”.  Of some note, Betsy hasn’t seen a lot of increase in value over the years – she sold for $1.50 more than 65 years ago and cost me a whopping $4.99.

Here on the left are two more versions of Betsy – same mold, different coloration; and on the right is a slightly different rendition – same basic characteristics but with a somewhat less robust udder and teats

imh Here are three more that follow the same trend – round mouths, straight legs - but with pointier horns. The flow-blue cow in the center is hard bisque and more finely molded, and may well be older than any of the others in this series.

This one is beautifully decorated with gold, and has bulgy eyes and very long eyelashes. It has a small nice older decal for Niagara Falls on top of its rump, and a sticker on its belly that proclaims it came from Elbee Art of ‘Cleveland O.’   I couldn’t find anything significant about them on the web except a 1944 street address. The images that come up on a google search for Elbee Art – as well as on an eBay search -  show a whole lot of little kitsch figurines and salt and pepper shakers. My sense is that this was one of those American ceramics companies that did ok in the 40s through 60s then went out of business.

Now for two more examples from the US. The one on the left is marked for “Holley Ross, LaAnna PA, Made in the Poconos”.  It seems to have been very popular – there are lots like it available both alone and as part of tea sets as shown below, although not all bear the Holley Ross stamp. Here on the right is a creamer from what appears to be the identical mold, but marked for Erwin Pottery of Erwin TN.  The seller stated that it was hand painted by Negatha Peterson, at their request for their daughter. According to several web sites, the decoration on this cow is known as Blue Ridge, developed by Southern Potteries of Erwin TN early in the 20c. Negatha Peterson worked there for 16 years starting in 1941 and when they closed shop in 1957, she and her husband opened Erwin Pottery in 1958 and brought over the Blue Ridge patterns as well as many of the molds.  Holley Ross pottery is still active in the Poconos. They have a web site for their factory showroom which sells many brands of pottery as well as their own -  but it doesn’t have any information on the firm’s history, and nary a coy creamer is in sight. Although Erwin Pottery stopped in 2005 the molds and patterns have apparently been transferred to yet other potters.

 

 
Finally, here in the left is the Holley Ross cow with accoutrements, and three additional versions of this style of creamer.


Here are some minor variations on a creamer that’s filled below and is characterized by the large head, thin rope with bell, and legs merged.  They are unmarked except for the gold one which warrants its gold to be 22 carat.  I think they’re American made.

Here is a similar creamer that although unmarked (except for the 22 carat gold warrant) was advertised as Pope Gosser. A Google search led me to www.ask.com where I found that “In the late 1800's, I. Bentley Pope migrated to the United States from England, where he was a master pottery maker. He settled in Coshocton, Ohio, where he met Charles F. Gosser, a jeweler and President of the Coshocton Board of Trade, a group seeking to foster the development of manufacturing in the area. They joined forces and opened Pope-Gosser China in 1902. Early examples of their work were marked with the Clarus Ware mark. Then they went to the Pope-Gosser China mark until 1908 when they adopted the Unicorn mark which graces their chinaware today. The company grew to being an international supplier of fine china and many pieces reside in the British Museum even today.” The description goes on to describe a merger with other companies into the American Chinaware Corporation in the post depression era, followed by bankruptcy after which “the company was reorganized and its lines were streamlined. They were made less expensive and distributed in dime stores and hardware stores.”  I’d guess that if this piece is indeed Pope Gosser, it comes from that era…I’d tentatively date this cow and its relatives in the section above to post-WWII, say the early 1950s.


Some interesting variants of the striding cow.  The one on the left is unmarked.  The brown one next to it, with the painted flower necklace, is from B.I.A. (BIA Cordon Bleu is a California wholesale company established in 1952)and was made in China.  The two on the right are both from France.  The one with the orange trees growing up the legs has a green stamp that says Made in France for Hoar (I think), and the brown and white one bears a belly-stamp of a gold Eiffel Tower with “Lamalle, NY City, Made in France” (Lamalle Kitchenware of W.25th St Manhattan specializes in professional grade cookware…thus this must indeed be a high-end cow!).


Here are two gold plated cows, accompanied by an unmarked flowered one with gold accents, for contrast.  The one on the left with the raised gold ‘splotches’, is from basically the same mold as the many-colored ones from Kenmar of Japan. It’s pictured below with the others of that shape, along with a bit more about it, since I have learned that it wasn’t as advertised. The gold creamer on the right is from designer Marc Blackwell of New York and bears his MB in a circle mark. Check his website at www.marcblackwell.com


The white creamer with black spots and the fully open back came without identification from eBay.  The blue spongeware one is from Hudsonware of Vermont. These folks seem to find their niche in the coloring technique, not in unique shapes, since this one is from the same mold as the black and white Carnation creamer (see Ads and Souvenirs), and another one of theirs that’s shown in Pitchers also is from a mold used elsewhere.

Here’s another unmatched pair, again one white and one blue; the former has no markings, but the one with blue  designs is stamped for “HOME™, Blue and White, China” and is proudly microwave safe but hand wash only porcelain.

The pink nosed blue-ribbon winner is from Omnibus China, marked “OCI 1995”.  Its companion is ready for winter (or cold milk) with its blue stocking cap and comes from Loomco, also made in China.

This interesting interpretation with a yellow-orange nose, tiny horns, beady eyes and fat legs (remind you of anyone you know?)  came from an eBay seller in Warwickshire England – it has no markings, only a  sticker with just an item number and bar code.


A pair perchance? At any rate, a bull and a cow, both from Japan.

Well, if they were indeed a pair, the bull isn’t very faithful for here he is with yet two more Japanese lady friends.


The kneeling brown and white cow in the middle is marked for Lavie, ©1996.   In the other photo, the unmarked one on the left that says ‘cream’ has been sprayed with bumpy white paint; I’d guess this to be a home-done job.  The stubby creamer with blue flowers in the middle is from Trippies, Inc © 1998 , Made in Taiwan; Trippies is a family owned importer and wholesaler of giftware and cemetery decorations that was established in 1948 and has its showrooms in Columbus, OH.  The creamer on the  right was hand painted in Japan.  It’s another of those that I keep forgetting that I already have, so there are now 4 of then cluttering the shelves.

More duplicates, if all you count is the mold.  This lady with the flat nose and large horns has a raised necklace of flowers, a bell, and a blanket with 3 indented flowers on each side, held on with a strap under the belly.  None of these three are marked, but the black one is from red clay and is very similar in coloration to the three-tiered teapot set that’s from Thames, so that would be my guess.  The other two are ceramic.  There’s also a green version of this creamer hiding somewhere in this theme…

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 Here starts a series of pictures of cow creamers from what has probably been the most widely reproduced modern mold, starting probably in post-WWII Japan in the 1950s and continuing through today. These creamers come in a huge range of colors and have been widely used as souvenirs. There are accompanying sugar bowls, salt and pepper shakers, and butter dishes.  As you can see from the pink creamer here lying on its side, some of the earliest versions came with a little bell hung from a wire imbedded in the neck.  I have tended to refer generically to the maker of these as “Kenmar” (about whom I can find no information except that they were from Japan) because many of the early ones are attributed to them.  Whether they were the ones to first design this mold I have no idea – but certainly these have been produced and copied now for some 60+ years, both by a number of Japanese pottery firms, and by makers from other countries.

Here’s another early example with the bell hung from the neck wire – in this case, with a jug shaped sticker that reads “Lugene’s, Japan’ as well as an advertising sticker for a store in Mountain Home Arkansas. There seems to be a fair amount of Lugene’s pottery on sale at various sites, but I have yet to locate any information about the company.

For comparison, here are a couple from around 2015. These two are from Home Essentials and Beyond, but similar versions are sold by a number of home furnishing and decorative ceramics companies.  The bright coloring is typical of kitchenware from the post-2010 era.

Two more of the same shape – a pink ceramic one with a bell on a string, and a metal version, the only one I’ve even seen. I have no idea where it was made.  The pink one has a bit of a story – it’s a replacement for one that jumped off our kitchen shelf many years ago, the only cow we have had that tried that trick. I still have the head as a warning to all the others to stay put.

The red and purple cows with bells from a wire embedded in the neck are the prototypical 1950’s era Japanese creamers, possibly by Kenmar but certainly Japanese.  The 4 spotted ones show a bit of the range of sizes and shapes in which these creamers have been and are still being made, by quite a few different manufacturers; the spotted cow on the left is a souvenir of the ‘world-famous’ Ruby Falls at Lookout Mountain, TN.  The brown ones are further variants on the theme; the dark one with stubby legs bears a silver and black sticker that reads “G Nov.Co, Japan”. I can find a bunch of their kitsch ceramics on the web, but no information about the company.

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This form of creamer seems to have even inspired artisan potters. This one appears to be trying to look like an amalgam of an old  Staffordshire creamer and the ‘Kenmars’.  It is signed by hand “JCS”, and the seller stated that he bought it directly from the maker,  “James Christian Seagraves (1913-97) [of Breiningsville, Lehigh County, PA], who like Lester Breininger,  Thomas Isaac & Russel R Stahl and Ned Foltz, was influenced by traditional 18th century PA German redware pottery.  Famous for his folk art birds, plates, whistles, etc. Circa 1960.”   Certainly a unique and very fun interpretation.
These are smaller versions of the same basic shape, with ceramic neck ropes and bells.  They are stamped “Japan” on the bottom of the right front hoof.
Here’s another company’s take on the same or similar mold – in this case, the seller states that it’s Beauceware. I’d never heard of that, so thanks to Google I have learned from http://www.quebexport.com/beauceware/indexE.html that “Beauceware (trademark) became an important part of the great industrial adventure of Beauce County, in Quebec country. Established in the first half of the century in 1939, and operating until 1989, the company diffused an innovative image by establishing the production of an industrialized utilitarian art: pottery.” This interesting site gives a nice history of the factory, as well as some useful info about how to determine the age of a piece…I’d guess this cow is from the early 1950’s, given the color of the clay and the lack of any mark.
This is probably the fanciest, not to mention priciest, of this shape creamer.  The seller attributed it to McCoy, from their Sunburst Gold line which was produced only in 1957.  It does have a lovely hide of matte and glossy 24carat gold.  If this was indeed a McCoy, it would have come from the factory of Nelson McCoy in Rosewood Ohio.  It turns out that there are a bunch of McCoy collectors, and they have a superb website at http://www.mccoypotterycollectorssociety.org/index.htm that will tell you more than you may ever have wanted to know about the McCoy companies, their pottery, and the society itself.  I asked them about this creamer, and they kindly  assured me that it was NOT a McCoy – none of the McCoy factories ever made any cow creamers - and that the ‘golden brocade glaze’ was made by many different potteries. Oh well…it is indeed pretty, even if I did get snookered.
This small creamer that came from the UK would appear to be modeled after the ones just above, but is unique in its size and exaggerated hooves and legs. It’s made from red clay with a drip glaze, and the seller referred to it as ‘studio pottery’ meaning, I believe, that it was handmade.

Here’s another gold creamer – 22 ct I believe, with a lovely white enamel inside.. It’s a quite popular French item from the number that I’ve seen on offer on eBay, often at indecent prices.  It’s marked “Made in France, Exclusivité CHAMART France”. A web search reveals that “Chamart was the brainchild of founder, Charles Martine. The name ‘Chamart’ is a contraction, a combination of Martine’s given name and surname. Creating the company in the early 1950s, Martine was the first to bring a variety of French porcelains to the United States. In 1965, he introduced the Limoges Box to the American market, designing a collection for Tiffany & Company. It was immensely popular and quickly became the cornerstone of Chamart’s business. Martine’s marked taste, devotion to crafting quality, and insistence that each piece be meticulously handpainted from start to finish, made the Limoges Box become a product for which Chamart is now world famous.”  The current president/CEO is the niece of the founder and she has introduced other lines including dinner and serving ware, thus this lovely if standard-shaped cow.

The little black sitting bulls are quite common – made in Japan of course; and from a few different molds, as these two are not quite alike.  The big black one on the left with gold hooves and horns is of red clay; the others are ceramic.  Not all are Japanese – the one in the middle is marked “Coventry Made in USA”, and has their number “5540 B”.  The seller indicated it was from the 1940’s, and probably designed by Elaine Carlock, who was their designer and sculptress. From the ‘ohiolink’ website we learn that  Coventry Ware inc took its name from the township in which it was located; it was originally D’Or studios, which was started in 1932 by Carrie Orr Daum. The studio initially made plaster products, and began to manufacture ceramics in the 40s.  During the war years it produced molds for soldiers’ equipment.  Following the war it, like many other US ceramics firms, lost much of its market to cheaper foreign goods, and it closed in the midl960s.   In the photo of two cows and a bucket, the luster one is unmarked and quite similar to those in the other photo; the white one with the blue and gold garland and gold horns, hooves and bell is quite different, and came accompanied by salt and pepper sharers as well as the bucket sugar.  He has a silver sticker that says Napco Ceramic, Japan, and the number S1294.  The very useful website www.headvasemuseum.com tells us that “Established in 1938 in Bedford, Ohio, the National Potteries Corporation, otherwise known as Napco, imports various styles of ceramic, glass, and china giftware. Irwin Garber, who would later launch INARCO, joined the company in the mid-40s and spearheaded its development of head vases. Owned and operated in the Midwest, Napco distributed a variety of collectibles, including decorative wall accessories, ashtrays, ceramic and wood house wares, floral arrangements, ceramic planters, decorative glass, novelty figurines, mugs, trivets, and Christmas ceramics. Napco used a wide array of marks…”.  My thanks to Supon who decided to share his interests.

Although unmarked, these two – one plain white and the other with a gold glaze – are clearly from the Coventry bull mold like the one in the middle of the left picture above.

Here is another creamer by Coventry, this one bearing the mold mark 5562B.

Two more sitting bulls, both from Japan. The larger bears the stamp of a black circle divided into three parts over “Made in Japan”. This mark was used by Maruyama Toki Yamashiro Ryuhei, Seto, Aichi province and in the 1920s- and 1930s.


Here’s another group of sitting cows that look quite similar to each other, although they come from very different locations.  The yellow one bears a scene entitled “La Veille”, and was indeed purchased in “Normandie”.  The brown one is made of some very heavy, dense material and came from the Amalfi Peninsula in Italy.  The white faced one with the bright flowers all over was made in Taiwan, and its neighbor with the pink flowers and tail was ‘handcrafted’ in Thailand.  Flat earth, I guess.


More look-alikes.  None of the cows in the shot of four are marked, although someone suggested that the ones in the middle are from Dee Lee pottery of California, and the one with the blue flower has “D” written on the bottom.   In the second set, the one on the left that’s basically identical to them is a bit more informative; it has a blue stamp of a palette with “Sleepy Hollow Pottery, Laguna Beach, Calif”, and the written letter “A” – perhaps the same pottery, different painter.  The blue one is unmarked and is obviously from a different mold although with the same basic features (including the udder that sticks out between the legs on both sides, ouch); the one on the right with the flower necklace has written in pencil on the bottom, “”RDE, 2.65”; presumably, the price at one point in its life (I paid 8.99!).  The third photo carries on the theme, although “Roy” and “Batchie”, a bull and cow creamer and sugar set, would appear to come from a paint-it yourself shop.

Here’s yet another variant – this time without the udder sticking out to the side.  It bears the script inscription “Margorie Montgomery Studios” about which I know nothing. It came with a chipped right rear foot which wasn’t mentioned in the eBay description, so the seller kindly refunded my money (and said to just throw it away, which I couldn’t bear to do…)


These small heavy ceramic creamers are quite common, and I think that they may come from several US potteries, although the basic form is attributable to Rio Hondo Pottery of El Monte, CA, which produced whimsical animal ceramic figurines from the 1930s to the early 50’s. These little creamers are hand decorated, so they have a wide range of markings. I have also seen them advertised as possibly Shawnee (a Zanesville, Ohio company, that produced fanciful pottery items starting in 1937), although I’ve never actually seen any cows with their label or mark.


Flat-topped cows with holes in the tops of their heads seem to come in two basic varieties  -  sort of rectangular ones and sort of roundish ones. In the shot of 5, the big white and orange bull only has some numbers.  The brown pitcher to its left is stamped Bavaria, and the potter’s mark is an inverted triangle; the light green one that’s somewhat similar is unmarked.  The little blue guy on the left of both shots is simply stamped Japan.  The other three, with stubby horns and flowers that are holding their tummies with their front legs, have a palette shaped sticker from ARDCO, Fine Quality, Dallas, and were made in Japan.  One of them has the original price tag from Gibson’s…69 cents.

 

 

This is a finely molded hard-bisque German variant of the flat-headed cow.  It has a very lovely luster glaze to complement its golden ears and horns.

Here are 3 with a shape similar to the large orange and white one above.  It’s ‘sister’ here is actually slightly smaller (though the little blue one, marked “Made in Japan” is sitting on the quarter so it’s impossible to tell.)  I would guess that the white one with red flowers, although unmarked except for the written number ‘801’, is European, probably Italian or Portuguese.

Another from a similar mold to that used for the white one with red flowers just above, albeit slightly larger probably due to firing differences. This one is marked ‘409, F’.

Another ‘flat-top’ variant, of the single-hole variety, colored blue with gold decoration.

These two are indeed cows, albeit looking like they have a bit of donkey DNA. They came to me from Australia, unmarked except that one bears a stamp for “Japan”

From sitting cows, we move to cows lying down.  Although the brown creamer on the left is unmarked, it is quite similar to the white one in the photo of four which is stamped for T.G.Green, Ltd., Church Gresley (Swadlincote, Derbyshire), and Made in England.  Plus, we bought it at the famous Bermondsey market in London, so it’s almost certainly English.  T.G.Green was established in the 1790s, and is apparently most well known for what is called ‘Cornishware’; poking around on the web, it would seem that at some point it became part of the Table Top Company, and the Church Gresley plant has recently been closed.  The grey and white cow next to the dark brown one is from Japan, although it bears a close resemblance to the German ones, like the white one on the far right; that one is inscribed ‘1891’ in addition to ‘Germany’ (I believe, both from the nature of the inscription and the shape of the head, that it’s by Gerold Porzellan of Bavaria).  The small brown ones, 3rd from left and far right in the two photos, are also inscribed Germany between the hooves on their lower right side; the one in the photo of six was said to date from around 1910; the dark brown one appears to me to be much newer. For the rest – the large brown cow with its feet together in front, 3rd from right in the photo of six, is English; the others are from Japan.

Here are two more similar to the large brown cow in the left picture above.  This is a popular English mold.   The lighter colored one here bears no mark expect for the advertisement for “Broadway” on its left flank.   The dark brown one with black horns, ears and hooves, however bears the stamp of “Studio Szeiler”.   Joseph Szeiler appears to have been a quite successful and popular potter, and there are a number of web sites about him and his work.  From http://www.worldcollectorsnet.com/szeiler/  we learn that he “was born in South West Hungary in 1924, the son of a Master Butcher. He attended High School for eight years and in 1944 obtained his entry to the Budapest University. His ambition was to become a veterinary surgeon, and to this end he studied his chosen course for two and a half hears. Sadly, the uncertain and complicated situation of his country was such that he decided to give up his studies, and left Budapest in 1947”.   He first went to Austria, then to England where after a few false starts he ended up finding work in the potteries in Burslem, Staffordshire, where he learned the trade and became determined to become a master potter himself.  Starting in 1951 he built up his trade, mostly of animal figures (perhaps motivated by his earlier desire to be a vet), eventually owning a factory on Moorland Road.  After his death in 1986 the property was sold off, and the current owners, Moorland Pottery, also have made some cow creamers and teapots that are shown elsewhere on these pages.

Two English creamers from this fairly common mold were shown on the Places page. Here are a couple different ones – the white cow with brown spots is marked for Devon Ware, Fielding (which is discussed in the Places page), but the really interesting one is its neighbor, “Safe Harbor”, which appears to have been made for some special occasion or group. Interestingly it came to me from a German-Amish area in Indiana, and probably came over to the US with one of those families.


On the left is a typically English kneeling cow; and on the right a fine specimen, handpainted, from Trico, Nagoya-Japan.  I can find a lot of their products, but no information about the company, on the web.


The two brown and white cows in this picture seem to be identical except for the marks – one is stamped Germany, the other Bavaria, - and they were bought together on eBay.  Their reddish colleague is very slightly larger but from a very similar if not the same mold, and is unmarked.

This well molded, hard porcelain creamer is unmarked, but I’d guess it to be European from early 20c.


The white creamer with black spots is stamped ‘made in occupied Japan’.  It’s the nicest piece from that era that I have seen.  The brown cow with the large head is a very nice example of Czechoslovakian porcelain.

This unusual cream colored ceramic water buffalo with green markings is unmarked, but I have a hunch it originated from somewhere in Southeast Asia, where such beasts are very common and highly prized.


This creamer pattern is often advertised as ‘cute’. I find it rather awful, actually, but then I guess my tastes differ. It frequently comes with sugar bowls and salt and pepper shakers.  Makes it even worse! What I find most amazing about it however is the wide variety of molds, as well as colorations, shapes, and materials (note that there’s even a metal one) in which it is made.  I’ve also seen it attributed to a number of potteries.  The box that says its name is Bossy isn’t any help – this version was made in Taiwan, but there’s no other information.  From the number of these for sale on eBay – there’s always 5-6 of them on offer - it remains unseemingly popular. Ugh!  So why do I buy it or display it? Well, collections like this can’t be based just on personal preference – we’re equal opportunity cow-ists.  I did of course check the web for ‘Bossy Cow’; it turns out there are actually a couple of web sites that use that name, but they don’t relate to this beast.  World Wide Words does however provide some information on the name ‘Bossy’ for a cow – it apparently derives either from the Latin bos (ox or cow) or West County dialect where a buss or bussa is a young unweaned calf. I also learned that The California Aggies (UC Davis) have a ‘Bossy Cow Cow’ cheer.  Amazing.

Yet more…will it never stop??  These things must date from the 1940s, but are still being made and sold.

And not only that, but folks keep coming up with variations on the theme.

Now, these I like. Perhaps it’s because my Dad made me the black one on the far right of the shot of four. Actually all of these are ‘homemade’ in the sense of having come from a ‘paint it yourself” ceramic shop. Lots of love, or at least ‘like’, invested here. Maybe one day I’ll make one myself.

Here are examples of another popular ‘paint-it- yourself’ mold. It took me a while totumble to the fact they were all basically identical, just embellished via the imaginationof the crafter. The four here are all grouped up around a sugar bucket that prettyobviously belongs to the black and white cow with the blue eyes and pink flowernecklace. Most of these bear some sort of mark for the maker.
Two more from the same mold, with a companion lying-down cow from a mold I hadn’tseen before. It and its brown standing companion are marked for “May’ and came to mefrom Florida. The folks that fashioned these were quite imaginative – especially‘DiPalma, Calif’ who made the one with the blue hat. I was going to pass it up but thennoticed that while all the others of this mold have essentially plain udders, this one hasthree extremely long pink teats. So, I sprang for the $12.
cow These three white cows with flowers are from the same mold, but aren’t all of the DIYtype I believe – They’re marked, from let to right, for “NMamel”, “Evelyn Crane” and“ATH 1968”

This one is also signed – “VAS” – and seems to be quite similar to the ones in the upper picture just above, with the addition of a base.  It was sold as “Seagraves art pottery”, but I haven’t been able to find any information about such a person or company.  Perhaps I mis-read the name however, since there are a whole lot of potters in and around the town of Seagrove,  North Carolina – per the ‘heartofnorthcaroline.com’ web page, “the largest community of potters with the longest continual history of pottery making in the United States.”


Without completely intending to, the collection has here slipped back into the sub-category of ‘several of a kind’, meaning deliberate purchases as opposed to just random whoops.   Here, the fence is a clear demarcation of cow contents – milk, half & half, and cream, marked on both their chests and their foreheads.  Otherwise unordinary as individuals, that makes these three chubby little cows pretty special, and not found as a group that often, especially in their little cage.  The red and gold labels on their sides read “Our Own Import, © Japan”.

Apparently these little chubby cows didn’t always come in sets…here’s one from the same mold that’s all on its own.


Four more ‘matching’ cows, again from Japan.  The Japanese sure have many fanciful ideas about how cows should look.

These 2 are heavy ceramic, and although unmarked are also most likely from Japan.  Who else has such imagination?

Speaking of imagination, here are a couple more of the ‘nose-lickers’ like those shown in the Japanese section of the Places page. Both are marked “Made in Japan”.


Will the real Elsie please stand up?  Actually, the two in the middle are both ‘originals’ – the white one which has a blue “Elsie” sticker and “© Bordon Co.” stamped on the bottom, and the light brown one, which while unmarked is identical to one of the two that were featured in the Ads and Souvenirs Theme, where Elsie’s story is told.  The white ‘fake Elsie’ on the left looks nearly identical but is not as well executed and is hand painted; I’d imagine it was made from a mold that was taken from an original.  The yellow and brown on the right, like those in the next few pictures, was apparently designed to look somewhat like the real Elsie and take advantage of her popularity.  This one was a souvenir from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

Here are some more Elsie knock-offs…some with bells, some not; but all with a raised garland, and a bow on the tail, just like the original.  None of these have any identifying marks, but they’re almost assuredly made in Japan.


Here are yet two more examples, this time with creamers.  I don’t believe the ‘real’ standing Elsies ever had a companion sugar bowl, although the ‘head’ versions of Elsie were accompanied by Elmer as the sugar.  These are again without marks, although the ones on the right are red clay, like many other creamers made by Thames of Japan.

This one is interesting because it has an Elsie-like face, but none of the other accoutrements. Unusual blue spatter paint on the ears, tail, etc – no markings.


Switching now to a series of creamers from around the world (I suppose they could have been in the ‘Places theme just as easily…) – here to introduce this sub-theme are a bunch with the same pattern, but from all over…US, Japan, South Africa (the spotted one on the left – the only cow creamer we found in that country, and obviously an import), England…and even a paint-it yourself.


Lets start this section with the USA – in fact, a series of Native American interpretations, all from the Acoma potteries of New Mexico.  The Acoma Pueblo, some 80 miles west of Albuquerque and the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America, is now renowned for its pottery.  This beautiful example is signed by Jessie Garcia (Sun Clan, 1910-1990), and dates from 1950-60. She is one of the ‘matriarchs’ of Acoma pottery, master potters who were important in the revival and promotion of their art.

This little smiling lady is Josie, and she has an interesting story. The lady from whom I acquired her visited Acoma in late 1989. A friend of hers from Albuquerque introduced her to Howetruna (Tex Salvadore), Chief of the Acoma Tribe, and when she visited the pueblo she spent the night at his home. After a dinner of what she claims is the hottest deer stew she ever ate, they sat up and talked and laughed long into the night. He gifted her this little creamer when she left the next day, and said that it was the last piece of pottery his wife Veronica had ever made, and the only cow creamer.  She had told him while she was making it that it would belong to someone very special, and the next day she was killed in a car accident. He had kept the pitcher for the next four or so years waiting to find that someone special, and decided that it was her because of the joyful and healing time they had together.  After many years she was looking for someone to pass it on to who would give it a permanent home, and so it has now become a treasured part of this collection.

Four more from the Acoma Pueblo. The two in individual shots bear the initials “M.B.”, which the (knowledgeable) seller indicated is most likely for Mabel Brown, a tribal elder who was known for her cow pitchers. In the set of two, the larger white and black one is signed by A. Pasqual, and the little one by Rose Leno (presumably a relative of Juana Leno, another of the ‘matriarchs’).

Next to the small Rose Leno creamer also shown above is a larger one in a very similarstyle signed by “R. Leno Shutiva”. Could it be that Rose got married?

On a cross country trip the summer of  2012, my wife and I drove to Acoma, New Mexico, and visited the cultural center at the pueblo,. Naturally I was hoping they would have some cow pitchers for sale, but no such luck.  I did however find this cute (and inexpensive as these things go) little one, signed for “Loyce L., Acoma”, at the gift shop at the Petrified Forest National Park just across the border in Arizona

Inflation comes to Acoma cows…In addition to the word “Acoma”, this one is marked on the bottom, “85¢”.  I paid $114.06 plus postage!  I have no idea who made it, but it’s a nice and different interpretation, and sure has increased in value.

Here’s a very different Acoma interpretation, a bull pitcher. It differs from the others not just in shape, but by having a fairly heavy glaze. I have no information on the maker – it simply has “Made in Acoma” written on the bottom.

This is a fairly unusual interpretation – simple cow head on a spherical grey jug.  It’s marked “S. Chino, Acoma” – and the seller noted that the S is probably for Shirley Chino.

This round and fairly crude bull has no markings, but is pretty obviously Native American, even if not Acoma.

This one is definitely Acoma – marked as such along with the maker’s initials, ‘E.V.’  It displays a bit of Indian humor since just in case you couldn’t figure out what it is, it’s clearly marked “COW” between the horns. The seller indicated that she bought it at the pueblo in the mid 1960s.

This is a very modern Acoma interpretation – cow I believe (and it was sold as such) although it lacks separate horns – marked for the maker “W. Shroylotye, Acoma, N. Mex.”

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