Modern Variations

Page 2

This page starts with a few more blue cow and white cow creamers, then red ones and a couple others, followed by a bunch of cows with flowers, then miscellaneous ones from around the world. Then there is a subsection with cows that resemble each other, coming from the same or similar molds or just being similar interpretations, including a few more Elsies and Elsie knock-offs like those that were featured on the Advertising and Souvenirs page. Page 2 concludes with my small but prized collection of cow creamers or pitchers from the Acoma Pueblo.

As a reminder, click on any thumbnail for a larger picture.
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Two German white with blue cow creamers

These two lovely cows are unmarked, but are undoubtedly 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).

Small basket-weave blue and white legless porcelain cow creamer

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. I've been looking for a better version for well over a decade, without success.

Moorland blue cow creamer

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 Moorland 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 when his collections was being sold off in pieces at the Catawiki auction site.

White cow creamer with blue transfer print white cow creamer with poorly applied transfer print

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, 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.

Red swiss cow creamer by Cotfer

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.

Here's another by Cofter of 'Geneve' - in its box this time, marked "Creamer, The COWCOLLECTION" and also, on the bottom, "The Original Swiss Cow Collection, Copywrite 2011 by Lehmann & Vallotton". They do seem to favor red cows, although all the ones we saw in Switzerland were the more normal white, brown, black etc.

Red MWM Market cow creamer

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

Tracy Porter's 'French Meadow' red cow creamer

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.

Lustre splotted orange and black on white cow creamer

Well, this one isn't red but this seems like as good a place as any to put it. The lustre and coloration are very unusual - haven't seen any more of this type. I have no information about it but would hazard a guess that it's Japanese.

Three 'Pioneer Woman' cow creamers

As I noted in the introduction to the white cows, the ‘fashion’ seems to have changed starting in the early 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) as well as many others with oodles of ebay offerings 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…

Light green Food Network cow creamer

Here’s a similarly odd colored 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.

grey green creative coop cow

This one is close enough in color to be a cousin of the one above. It is of course made in Chaina, with a (removed) sticker for Creative Coop of Memphis TN.

Pair of melon cow creamers by Traders and Company

Yet another example of the mid-2010s trend to weird 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 (and in one case here, 3-leaf clovers).   Most of these are made in Japan.

Smiling white cow creamer with flowers

This little lady is identical to the cow that’s in the middle 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.

Five white cow creamers with flowers

Two white cow creamers with flowers

More flowers.  In the photo of 5 cows, the two in back are Japanese; the left-most one with the head forward and loweing, 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”.

Goebel white cow creamer with flowers Brown and white cow creamer with flowers Two 'Old World Pattern' cow creamers by Temptations

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.

Austin & Maynard pudgy cow creamer with red flowers, side Austin & Maynard pudgy cow creamer with red flowers, butt

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.

Ashland Global Chic cow creamer This fairly large and heavy ceramic cow with small green flowers came with a sticker labeled “Ashland Global Chic Creamer” as well as a black stamp that Says “ASHLAND, Made in China, Fabrique en Chine”.. The only Ashland I can find on the web states that “Ashland has been almost a century in the making. Throughout our evolution from oil company to diversified chemicals conglomerate, to a global specialty chemicals company, we’ve advanced by becoming ever more capable of adding unique value to customer products.” They list a whole range of industries they supply, but they don’t seem to be in the cow creamer business. Perhaps it’s one of their many subsidiaries.

Smnall French pporcelain cow creamer witth flowers and gold trim, side Small French pporcelain cow creamer witth flowers and gold trim, butt

This little hornless and unmarked but well-flowered cow came along with a set of French porcelain cow creamers with transfer pictures that are found on the Advertising and Souvenirs page.  She has a very nice spray of little blue flowers on her derriere.

Molly cow creamer by MacKenzie-Childs

This lovely lady is Molly Creamer and she came to me as a wonderful gift from a dear friend in early 2017. I was amazed because I thought that it would be impossible for someone to actually find one that I didn’t have in a store…in this case, Nieman Marcus.  Molly is a bit unusual with the raised mustard colored rim around her back opening, and the flowers composed of dots.  Like the squat cow above, she has a remedial udder and no teats.  She was handcrafted in Aurora, NY by MacKenzie-Childs, which per their web site was founded in 1983 in the basement of a 1909 building built as a dormitory for a girl’s prep school. They have since moved up in the world, to a lovely farm overlooking Cayuga Lake which they invite you to visit.  Their emblem is a thistle and they have Scottish cattle on the farm, but I find nothing particularly Scottish about Molly.

Light green porcelain cow creamer by I.E.&C. Co of Japan, side Light green porcelain cow creamer by I.E.&C. Co of Japan, mark

No 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 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.

Sitting up cow caricature creamer

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.

Two 'Berries Creamer' cows by American Atelier

These two have markings that sort of look like stylized flowers to me, but they are styled “Berries Creamer” and bear stickers for American Atelier, made in China.  I found them in a ‘remainders’ store in Virginia.

Three Blue Ridge (maybe) cow creamers

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.

Cow caricature creamer with flowers and large brown horns IAC 1998 cow creamer from China

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.

Herd of 10 miscellaneous cow creamers Herd of 7 miscellaneous cow creamers

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

White & black large cow caricature creamer bought in Lima Peru

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.

Russian Budy cow creamer Russian Budy cow creamer mark

While talking about cows from interesting places, here’s one of the few (except for a Gzhel teapot and a couple other wild teapots) 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 whole lot more than I know about most of my cows, so I’m grateful for the information.!

White cow caricature creamer with large head and red tail, horns and hooves

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

Four interesting Japanese cow creamers Assortment of 4 Japanese cow creamers

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.

Two cow creamers on stands

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. 

Cow creamer on base with picture of 'Welsh Costumes' on left

This is another interesting creamer on a base – it has gold spots and trim, as well as a picture on the left of three women around a table labeled “Welsh Costumes”. There’s a little brownish cow with a similar picture about 2/3 of the way down on the Advertising and Souvenirs page; that one was German made, with the post-WWI ‘Foreign’ mark.   This one doesn’t seem to have that mark – rather the bottom of the base is unglazed and a former owner has written on it in indelible black ink, but in such a way that I can’t decipher the meaning. It came to me from a seller in the US, but it’s certainly European, and like the one with the same picture most probably German made for sale in the UK.

Colorful Jim Shore cow creamer on square base

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

OCI 1995 cow creamer with blue ribbon Loomco cow creamer with blue stocking cap

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.

Black and white caricature cow creamer from England

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.

Japanese bull and cow creamers

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

Japanese bull and two cow creamers

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

Three cow creamers

Three cow creamers

The kneeling brown and white cow in the middle of the upper photo 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.

Four striding cow creamers

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!).

Two gold plated cow creamers and a white one with small flowers

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

Two speckled cow creamers

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.

Two cow creamers

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.

3 homemade sitting cow creamers

These are matched, and it's beyond me whiy I thought I needed three. They are all handmade, likely from some paint it yourself ceramics place, and by this time have a bit of age on them. The makers were apparently proud or at least not ashamed of them...from left to right they say LB80, Amy70 and VF HOM 11/73.

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. Similarly, the pure white creamers which Williams Sonoma first popularized in the US and are now found in dozens of varieties. What follows here is a subsection of this page featuring cow creamer 'families' of sorts - similar in shape or style, sometimes almost identical but often just taking advantage of a popular shape.

Three similar cow creamers in popular form

Here starts one example of family similarity, 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.

Two similar cow creamers from Western Germany

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 appear 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. 


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.

Two cow creamers from same mold as Betsy White cow creamer with pansies and gold trim

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.
Elbee Art cow creamer with bulgy eyes

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.

Holley Ross and Erwin Pottery cow creamers, side Holley Ross and Erwin Pottery cow creamers, front

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.

3 Holley Ross similars

Holley Ross and her buckets and sugars have moved to the Sugars and Creamers page, but here are three of her look-alikes.

2 similar large headed filled below cow creamers

Here are 2 minor variations on a creamer that’s filled below and is characterized by the large head, thin rope with bell, and legs merged.  Similar to these are a gold and a black one each with a sugar bicket, shown on that poage.

Pope Gosser cow creamer

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 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.

5 small round cow creamers 5 small squat cow creamers

Here is bunch or little roundish and squat cow creamers that are similar in theme if not all that identical in shape, and that come from all over.  They don’t all have stories, but…the little round guy with the red spots and ‘hair’ in the left photo 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 behind 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.

Two English bone china cow caricature creamers with wide open mouths Enclish bone china cow creamer marks

Here is one more example demonstrating how molds are used by several makers, or alternatively that one factory sells to several distributors. These two have slight differences in the shape of the base, not to mention very different markings. The Milton China one with the cow on the side here also has a cow on its neck. I have a third one similar to these, with a standing cow on its side, that's in a herd of miscellaneous creamers elsewhere on this page. I have also seen ine (I didn't buy it) marked for "Crochendy Crefftauer Cantree, Fine Bone China, Wales" and signed by the painter "PR '98'.

Two ceramic and one red clay bull creamers from similar molds

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…

six Kenmar-style cow creamers in various colors

 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 embedded 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.

Lugene's Japan cow creamer Lugene's Japan cow creamer sticker on belly

This is 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.

Red and yellow Home Essentials & Beyond cow creamers

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.

Pink ceramic and white and brown metal versions of the 'Kenmore-style' creamers

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.

Red and pueple 1950s japanese Kenmar style cow creamers Spotted cow creamers of similar shape Brown variants of this style cow creamer

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.

Seagranes cows

This form of creamer seems to have even inspired artisan potters. These two seem to be trying to look like an amalgam of an old Staffordshire creamer and the ‘Kenmars’. They are a very fun interpretation. The purple one is inscribed "JCS" for James Christian Seagraves. There is more about him on page 1 along with pictures of his brown cow creamer marked Breinigsville 1970 in raised letters on one side, and Pennsylvania USA on the other. The white one with brown and black spots here has "VAS" on the base, and I believe this to be for his second wife, Verna Alice (Maerkeffer) Seagraves. I have a second one by VAS elsewhere in this page. Apparently she joined in James's pottery hobby from time to time.

Spotted Seagraves cow creamer on base

Here is my second "VAS" cow creamer -  It was sold as “Seagraves art pottery”, a nice tribute to Verna Alice, the wife of James Christian Seagraves. The cow itself seems to me to come from a quite popular 'paint it yourself' mold, but with some differences including the base.

Two smaller versiuons of the 'Kenmar-style' cow creamer 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.
Two Canadian Beauceware cow creamers

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 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.

Gold brocade glaze cow creamer

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 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.

Purple, red clay cow creamer from UK 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.

Two simple European cow creamers, standing 2 short European cow creamers

These four, that bear a family resemblance to the ‘Kenmars’ and others above,  came from the collection of a Belgian gentleman from whom I have acquired quite a few very nice European cow creamers.  These were of particular interest because of the heavy and vibrant glaze – but I have no idea when or where they may have been made. Actually there were several others in the auction lot that I won, but they were broken in shipment.

Chamart gold cow creamer

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.

2 large & 2 small sitting up black  bull creamners 2 sitting buills

The little black sitting bulls are quite common – stamped made in Japan, and from a few different molds and factories it seems as these two are not quite alike.  I have a suspicion that they (like the others in this part of the page) may have been made to capture the popullarity of Ferdinand the Bull whose story was first published in 1936 followed a couple years later by an Oscar winning Disney short film.

The larger black one with gold hooves is also from Japan and ia made from red clay; the others are ceramic. The fourth bill in this group is unmarked, but is very similar to the brown one in the right hand photo that is marked in gold in a circle, "Coventry, Made in the USA", and has the mold mark 5540 B. The seller said that 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 Coventry, like many other US ceramics firms, lost much of its market to cheaper foreign goods, and it closed in the mid l960s. Its white companion bull with the flowers is unmarked but looks to me to be very similar.

Gold and White sitting bull creamers from Coventry

Although unmarked, these two – one plain white and the other with a gold glaze – sure look to me like they are from the Coventry 5540 B bull mold.

White with black sitting up bull creamer by Coventry Brown and white Conetry bull

Here are two more bull creamers by Coventry, bearing the mold mark 5562B. Obviously Coventry liked to make bulls - and did so with at least two different styles of molds.

Two white sitting up bull creamers and sugar bucket

In this photo of two bulls and a bucket, the luster one is unmarked but quite similar to the Coventry 5540B bulls above, while 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 shakers as well as the bucket sugar.  He has a silver sticker that says Napco Ceramic, Japan, and the number S1294.  The very useful website 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.

Two pre-WWII sitting bull creamers from Japan

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.

Four similar sitting up cow creamers from different countries

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.

Four similar sitting up cow caricature creamers

Three similar sitting up cow caricature creamers

Sttting up cow caricature creamer and sugar and similar cow creamer

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.

Porple and white sitting up cow caricature creamer by Margorie Montgomery

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…)

And one more – only slightly different, which I bought more for the picture of the box than anything else – it reads Cookson’s Pottery, Roseville Ohio, and was one of a box-full being sent to some store for stock. I haven’t been able to make out the address, but it was before zip codes were in use, thus sometime prior to 1953. A web search indicates that Cookson Pottery, founded by Gerald Cookson, was in business from 1945 to 1995 and made planters, vases, and garden ware (and at least one cow creamer).

2vSmall Rio Hondo Pottery - like cow creamers

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.

5 Flat topped sitting up cow creamers with fill hole on top of head

Two ARDCO flat topped cow creamers and a third

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.



German brown and white lustre glaze flat topped cow creamer

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.

Three pointy nosed flat headed sitting up cow creamers

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.

Sitting up flat headed cow creamer with blue flowers

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’.

Blue sitting up cow creamer with single opening on flat top of head

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

3 British cow creamers Here is another example of a popular mold, used by many English potteries. The greenish cow on the left is stamped Bernadette Eve, England, Handcrafted Fine Staffordshire Ironware; the one in the middle is unmarked, and the one on the right is from Tony Wood Studio, England.
Two sitting up cow caricature creamers with big ears

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”

Six lying down cow creamers Four lying down cow creamers

From sitting cows, we move to cows kneeling or 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.

Two lying down cow creamers by Joseph Szeiler

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  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.

Devon Ware open top lying down cow creamer Wood Potters and Ro=yal Crownford versions of open top cow creamer

An English creamers from this fairly common mold was shown on the Places page. Here are a few more, including that one. On the left, the white cow with brown spots is marked for Devon Ware, Fielding. According to The Potteries wensite, this firm started as S.Fielding & Co. Ltd around 1876 at the Railway Pottery, Stoke, and the name was changed to Devon Pottery in 1912. The markings have changed over the years, sometimes being Crown Devon which has been extensivelky used in the 20c. They apparently wend out of business or became yet something else aroud 1982. The one with blue flowers is marked "Charlotte, Royal Crownford, Staffordshire" and the black and white one with orange hooves is from Wood Potters of Burslem, Staffordahire". Both of these potteries were discussed a bit on the Places page.

Safe Harbour cow creamer, side Safe Harbour cow creamer, base

To me the most interesting creamner of this form is this “Safe Harbor” version, which appears to have been made for some special occasion or group. The base reads in script: "Safe Harbour - Designed from an old platter on hand engraved copper attributed to Rogerd 1829. Produced in Royal Staffordshire Ceramics England". Interestingly it came to me from a German-Amish area in Indiana, and probably came over to the US with one of those families. I have since seen this design on other cow creamer shapes.

3 English kneeling cow creamers, sides 3 English kneeling cow creamers, bases

Here is a second extremely popular form of kneeling English cow creamer. Like the ones above, a version of these - by Burleigh - was featured on the Places page. Here, lkeft to right, are versions by "Royal Crownford, Ironstone", "Burgess & Leigh" of Stoke on Trent with a Martha's Kittchen logo and decoration, and one by Burgess from Middleport Poittery, Staffordahire, entitled "Frederick Rathbone Traditional Kitchenware" See the section below for a bit on Royal Crownford.

For information on Burgess and Leigh, one can go to the history page on the web sitwhere one learns that "In 1851, Messrs Hulme and Booth started an earthenware business in the central pottery in Burslem, Stoke-On-Trent. This pottery produced earthenware until 1862 when Mr William Leigh and Mr Frederick Rathbone Burgess formed a partnership and took over the running of the central pottery. The business moved to Middleport Pottery by the Trent and Mersey Canal in 1889, where you will find us today. Following the deaths of William Leigh and Frederick Rathbone Burgess, the business continued with the support of their sons, Edmund Leigh and Richard Burgess. The Leigh family took sole control of the business in 1912 when Richard Burgess passed away.During the 20th Century, Burgess and Leigh became known as ‘Burleigh’. Following difficult conditions in the 90s, the Dorling family purchased the business and a new era of family ownership began. In 2010, Burleigh was acquired by Denby Holdings Limited, the parent company of Denby Pottery. A year later, The Prince of Wales stepped in to help with emergency repair works needed at Middleport Pottery – his charity, HRH The Princes Regeneration Trust, offered the £9 million support that we needed to keep production going. " At least they're still operating, albeit no longer under the original family, and as noted on the Places page they claim to be the last remaining Victorian potteryt factory in England. And as of this posting (August 2019) their web site offers 8 different patterns of this shape cow creamer, for 34GBP each.

2 English kneeling cow creamers, sides 32English kneeling cow creamers, bases

Yet two more, with very similar patterns and coloration as well as shape, this time by Crown Devon Fieldings and Royal Crownford. There was a bit about Crown Devon above, and here's more from the features/Crown Devon page of The Potteries web site:"The Crown Devon story started in the early 1870s when Simon Fielding put his life savings into the Railway Works in Sutherland Street, Stoke-on-Trent. But within a few years, the bailiffs came in and it was Simon's son Abraham, who stepped in to save the company. Majolica ware was in fashion and Abraham started to produce it in abundance. S. Fielding and Co flourished and expanded, introducing a vast range of new products. The Crown Devon backstamp appeared on a number of patterns from the 1880s although it was 1912 before the Railway Works was renamed The Devon Pottery." It goes on with a whiole lot more fascinating infor ation about this company that as noted above closed in 1982.

Royal Crownford was a trade name used by J.H.Weatherby and Sons who according again to the Potteries web site started in a small works in Tunstall in 1891then moved the very next year to the larger Falcon Pottery at Hanley. They suffered the same sorry fate as many other family owned pottery firms in Staffordahire, and closed in 2000, the chairman (great-grandson of the founder) blaming 'cut=throat competition in the hotelware business' for its demise."

Japanese version of above British cows creamers

Of course the Japanese, not to be outsone, also have to get in the act. Here is their version of this prototypicaly Englush kneeling cow creamer.

teo Kent Stafforshire kneeling scow creamers Kent Knot mark

These two, somewhet similar to those above, are clearly stanped for Kent. Their knot mark, used from 1944-1962 (I believe) is also shown. These two also bear an "R", possibly the mark of the painter. The standing version of Kent cow creamers (of which I have many and which served as prototypes for other makers) is featured down near the bottom of the Favorite Brands page, along with a bit about the compeny. There is a standing version quite similar in features and coloration to these two on the Staffordshire page, along with a while bunch of other Kent and look-alike cow creamers. We bought both of these at the Bermondsy Market in 1997, for 25GBP for the pair.

English and Trico-Nagoya kneeling cow creamers

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.

Three Germnan or Bavarian kneeling cow creamers

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.

These two are very similar to the three just above. The one on the left is marked for Germany, and its neightbor is from the other side of the world, Japan. The Japanese generally did a very nice job of copying fine European pieces in the 60s and 70s.

Hard porcelain brown shaded kneeling cow creamer

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

2 Austricn cows from Vienna

No guessing where these were made. They are marked Gmunder over a design of a square box with a flower in pot and GK, over "Keramik, Made in Austria, Handmakerei". They come in a variety of colors, matching other pieces of China. I settled on just a couple because they were't inewxpensive. If you like them, you can get your own at Pawlata Keramik, Handel GmbH, Kartner Strasse 14, 1010 Wien where we got one in 2000 and one in 2006 while attending the European Geop[hysical Union's annual bash.

The lighter brown one in the left is marked for Germany. On the right, the darker cow is English and we bought it at the Bermondsey Market while building the collection living in London

Japanese and Czechoslovakian kneeling cow creamers

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.

Kneeling water buffalo cow creamer

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.

A herd of 'cute' cow creamers

Boxed 'Bossy' cow version, creamer and S&P

Four more variants of the 'cute' cow creamer

This cow creamer pattern is often advertised as ‘cute’. I find it rather obnoxious 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 seen it attributed to a large number of potteries, and many places have used it as a souvenir.  The box shown here that says its name is Bossy isn’t any help in identifying its origin – this version was made in Taiwan, but the box has no other information.  Many of these little horrors come from Japan of course. From the number of them for sale on eBay – there’s always a couple dozen or so 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.

'cute' cow creaemr and box Three 'cute' cow creamer variants 'Cute' cow ceamer w/S&P and box Black and white 'cute' cow creamer w/S&P Large headed 'cute' cow creamer variant Blue & white 'cute' cow creamer
Yet more…will it never stop??  These things must date from the 1940s, but are still being made and sold.
'Cute' cow creamer variant with SC souvenir filler

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

Four paint it yourself cow creamners

Two paint it yourself cow creamers

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.

Four paint-it-yourself cow creamers with bells, and a sugar bucket

Here are examples of another popular ‘paint-it- yourself’ mold. It took me a while to tumble to the fact they were all basically identical, just embellished via the imagination of the crafter. The four here are all grouped up around a sugar bucket that pretty obviously belongs to the black and white cow with the blue eyes and pink flower necklace. Most of these bear some sort of mark for the maker.
Three hone painted and embellished cow creamers Two more from the same mold, with a companion lying-down cow from a mold I hadn’t seen before. It and its brown standing companion are marked for “May’ and came to me from 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 then noticed that while all the others of this mold have essentially plain udders, this one has three extremely long pink teats. So, I sprang for the $12.

5 from the same mold front view, 5 same mold

Here are five from the same mold - not DIY this time, but pretty obviously late 20c American commercial products. Two of them have some identification - the Carnation Contented Cow (also shown on the Advertising and Souvenirs page), and the blue splatter painted one which is from Hudsonware of Vermont, also shwn above on this page since I didn't realize for a very long time that these were so nearly identical. One of them has had its horns broken off before it was painted and glazed which also confused me for a while.

cow These three white cows with flowers are from the same mold, also commercially produced. They’re marked, from let to right, for “NMamel”, “Evelyn Crane” and“ATH 1968”

porcelain similars IPAT marks

These two are also from the same or a very similar mold. One difference s that they are porcelain. The cow in back is one of the French 'souvenir' cows shoen on the "Advertising and Souvenirs" page. I bought the one in front knowing it was similar to the three above but hadn't recognized until it arrived that the French cows are also from a very similr mold. What's interesting about the 'new' flowered cow is that in addition to the mkeris name, it bears the seal of the International Porcelain Artists and Teachers, Inc" which is headquartered in Grapevine TX and has a museum there. Its web site notes that, as its name proclaims, "IPAT, Inc. is a 501-C3 Texas Non-Profit Corporation dedicated to the promotion and education of porcelain arts.". This cow is also interesting in that the flower decorations are all over it, including belly and ankles.

Japanese milk, cream and half&half cow creamer set in fence

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”.

Japanese cow creamer like those in above set

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 similar long low cow caricature creamers from Japan

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

Two Japanese heavy ceramic cow caricature creamers

These 2 are heavy ceramic, and although unmarked I'm almost positive they are also from Japan, and likely early post WW-II.  Who else has such imagination?

Threeo nose-licking cow caricatrure creamers from Occupied Japan<

Speaking of imagination, here are three more of the ‘nose-lickers’ like those shown in the Japanese section of the Places page. They are marked “Occupied Japan” and are typical of the sort of fairly crude pottery made as souvenirs or for export at the time.

Four Borden's Elsie creamers, two original and two copies

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.

Four Elsie 'knock-off' cow creamers Three Elsie 'knock-off' cow creamers

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.

Two Elsie copy creamer and sugar sets

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.

Large white with blue cow creamer with Elsie-like face

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.

Five similar rotund cow caricature creamers from all over

This bunch of cow creamers from the identical molds came from many countries around the world - US, Japan, South Africa (the spotted one on the right – the only cow creamer we found in that country, and obviously an import), England…and even a paint-it yourself version.

For the remainder of this page, I display a number of Native American interpretations, all from the Acoma Pueblo potteries of New Mexico.  The Acoma Pueblo is some 80 miles west of Albuquerque and is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. From Wikipedia we learn that “Four villages make up Acoma Pueblo: Sky City (Old Acoma), Acomita, Anzac, and McCartys. The Acoma Pueblo tribe is a federally recognized tribal entity. The historical land of Acoma Pueblo totaled roughly 5,000,000 acres (2,000,000 ha). The community retains only 10% of this land, making up the Acoma Indian Reservation. Acoma Pueblo is a National Historic Landmark… The English name Acoma was borrowed from Spanish Ácoma (1583) or Acóma (1598). The Spanish name was borrowed from the Acoma word ʔáák’u̓u̓m̓é meaning 'person from Acoma Pueblo'. ʔáák’u̓u̓m̓é itself is derived from ʔáák’u (singular, plural: ʔaak’u̓u̓m̓e̓e̓ʈʂʰa). The name does not have any meaning in the modern Acoma language. Some tribal authorities connect it to the similar word háák’u 'preparedness, place of preparedness' and suggest that this might be the origin of the name. The name does not mean 'sky city'. Other tribal elders assert that it means 'place that always was' while outsiders say it means 'people of the white rock'.”

Acoma is renowned for its pottery tradition. There is a lovely web page with lots of information at There we learn that "The pottery of Acoma is strongly recognized for fluted rims, thin walls and geometric design. Potters of the pueblo implement similar techniques found in the local region, from collecting of the clay material from limited sources, forming the vessel for specific use, decorating with patterns and design by hand, to firing the pot at high temperature...these pots were traditionally hand-coiled, with hand-mixed clay and custom slip... Traditional designs include rainbow bands, parrots, and deer; or a black and brown motif with geometric pattern and impressively accurate fine lines. Orange and black are traditional colors... Hatching patterns symbolize rain, while lightning, thunder clouds and mountains are also represented. The influences of the cycle of life, water and sky are frequently used."


At the risk of boring all but the most interested readers, and largly for my own sake to further explain my interest in these lovely cow creamers. I quote from r "Today, the artists from such Pueblo villages as Acoma, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Jemez, and 16 additional pueblos create beautiful artistic pottery, not to use, but to celebrate the culture that has survived for centuries. These pots are still made from the natural clay, cleaned and shaped by hand, without the use of a potter's wheel. They are polished using smooth stones and painted with vegetal and clay slips before being fired under piles of sheep manure or pinion wood.

"Acoma, popularly called "Sky City" because of its location atop a 350-foot-high mesa in Western New Mexico is covered with connected adobe homes, great pools in the natural rock and a seventeenthcentury church. Acoma is a "living" pueblo and has been continuously occupied since the 12th century. The Acoma village was well established by the time of the invasion by Coronado and the "Spanish Entrada," ca. 1540. The village remained in a backwash of the Spanish "conquest" until it was brutally brought into the Spanish mainstream in 1599. The pueblo was hostile to Spanish rule and the inhabitants participated in the 1680 Great Pueblo Revolt. Mission San Estevan del Rey, constructed between 1629 and 1641, is the oldest church of European construction remaining in New Mexico. In 1629, when Fray Juan Ramirez came to Acoma, every sack of sand for the adobe had to be carried up the narrow accesses, one step at a time, and every timber for the roof had to be carried from Mount Taylor, thirty miles away. From 1750 to the present, Acoma’s standard for fine pottery has been set by the large, thinwalled white olla. Tempered with the ground-up sherds of broken pottery, the surface of a smoothed and unpolished Acoma jar has exceptional matte velvet feel.

"According to Acoma legend, the sacred twins led their ancestors to Ako, the magical white rock that would be their home forever. The twins also led them to the whitest, finest clay in all the Southwest. Since the eighteen century, Acoma potters have made thin-walled, large ollas, slipped in pure white and decorated in red and black. Today, authentic Acoma pots are made from local, slate-like clays. Traditionally, the Acomas use both mineral and vegetal based paints for their designs. The characteristic white backgrounds allow the Acoma potters to produce crisp black images, as well as rich polychrome designs. When traditionally fired, these clays produce a very white vessel. After they are fired, these clays also are strong enough to allow the production of very thin walls."

Acoma cow creamer by Jessie Carcia

This beautiful example of an Acoma cow creamer 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.

Josie, a very special Acoma cow creamer

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.

Here is a very idisyncratic big mouthed cow creamer from Flo and Lee Vallo. From a New Mexico culture site and that of the Hotel Chaco in Albuquerque where they sometimes display their techniques, we find "Flo and Lee Vallo have been making and painting pottery for over 20 years. She was taught by her mother and grandmother, and her mother-in-law has encouraged her to explore and expand her craftsmanship. The couple are fourth-generation potters and painters. With this exploration of pottery, they opened a small Pottery business on the Acoma Reservation. Tribal members and community members come to purchase their pottery for cultural and traditional use…. The Vallos re-created Cylindrical clay pottery vessels with intricate black and white designs that were also among the treasures found at Chaco Canyon. Working in the traditional pottery methods, the Vallos mine the clay from a sacred mountain, dry and prepare the clay, form the vessels using traditional methods and hand-paint them using natural pigments with a quill from a yucca plant. The Vallos frequently demonstrate at National Park sites and at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.". Comparing what I got mine for on eBay to the prices they seem to get in pottrery specialty shop, I got a very good deal. Well worth it.

Acoma cow creamers by M.B. Acoma cow creamers by A.Pasqual and Rose Leno

Four more from the Acoma Pueblo. The two on the left 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. On the right, the larger white and black one is signed by A. Pasqual, and the little one by R Leno, I believe Regina Leno (a dauchgter of of Juana Leno, another of the ‘matriarchs’ - here is a bit of her genealogy, from Worthpoint:"REGINA LENO-SHUTIVA (Jeannie Leno) b.1955 Acoma Pueblo. Active since 1967. Granddaughter of Eulilia Vallo, Granddaughter of Lupita and Jose Luis Vallo, Daughter of Thomas and Juana Leno, Sister of Rose, Phyllis, Marie, Isabel and Joyce Leno-Barreras.).

Two Acoma cow creamers Next to the small Regina Leno creamer also shown above is a larger one in a very similar style signed by “R. Leno-Shutiva”. I assume this is her married name.

Acoma cow creamer by Leno. Acoma cow creamer Leno

Yet one more, slightly taller than those above and with a thinner face, marked simply for "Leno, Acoma NM"...but I am almost positive it is by Regina Leno-Shutiva, from before she was married, because of its similarity in coloration and style to her others.

Small Acoma cow creamer by Loyce L.

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 state border in Arizona.

Sm,all wide mouthed Acoma cow creamer Small A. Corpuz Acoma cow creamer

Here are two other versions of the small Acoma cow creamer. The one on the left with the large open mouth has no markings but is distinctively Acoma by design and coloration. Its companion with the rainbird design and twisted handle is marked for A. Corpuz and came with a small bowl by the same artisan.

Long necked Acoma cow creamer

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.

Acoma cow with rainbird, front Rain bird design on acoma cow

This lovely Acoma cow with a braided handle has rain bird designs on its sides. Raibbirds are a very popular theme at many of the pueblos, and as I understand it were first used by the Zuni ~1700. The ones on this cow are quite large and fearsome. The cow has "Acoma NM" written on the small base, as well as a couple initals which seem to me to be a J or S followed by an L. One of the Lenos??

Small Old Acoma coww pitcher, side Small Old Acoma coww pitcher, front

This small, cute, and unusual cow pitcher with handle is marked on the bottom simply "Old Acoma", which is now known as "Sky City". I do believe it is fairly old as these pieces go, and its shape and style are unlike anything I have seen before.

Horizontal Acoma bull pitcher/creamer

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.

Cow headed grey Acoma jug by S. Chino

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.

Round unmarked Acoma-like cow creamer

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

Acoma cow creamer by E.V. with 'cow' on forehead

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.

small Acoma cow by E.V. small Acoma cow by E.V., side

Here is another cow by E.V. also labeled "Cow". Since I haven't found any that are so labeled by other potters, it may well be that's it's E.V., not us, that neess to be reminded what it is. TYhis one is very small - 3 1/4" high - but makes up for the small stature with the big eyebrows.

Acoma cow creamer by W. Shroylotye

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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