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Sugar and Creamers

The creamers here all could go in the ‘modern variations’ theme, but their sugar partners are sufficiently interesting that I believe they’re best separated.  As noted elsewhere, there are also a number of sugar and creamer sets in the Teapots section; likewise, several of these here have teapots which are pictured separately.  There’s no real logic to this, that’s just how the pictures were taken.

Meet Mabel the Cow.  This pewter set is a 2011 offering from Vagabond House; they also have a matching butter dish if you’re interested.    Vagabond House is in Sierra Madre, CA…their web page’s ‘about’ section states “We manufacture Pewter and Bronze and hammered brass,  Old carved wood and gleaming glass, Candles in polychrome candlesticks, and peasant lamps in floating wicks, Dragons in silk on a Mandarin suit, In a chest that is filled with vagabond-loot.  All of the beautiful useless things That a vagabond’s aimless drifting brings. “   They don’t sell retail, so I got this one from a web store called ‘The Pink Daisy’.   Mabel herself isn’t marked (presumably so as to not mar her hide), but the tray bears this mark, and the little sugar basket  a similar one, but with a horse’s head in a circle instead of the horse and rider.    For those who care, way down on the bottom of page 3 of Modern Variations there are a few other pewter and other metal cow creamers.  This is however the only one I’ve found that’s part of a whole set. 


Stylized though these may be, they are also very American.  They are handmade stoneware from the Bennington Potteries of Vermont, and date to @ the 1960s.  From their web site we learn that Bennington Potteries was founded in 1948 by a young potter named David Gill.  Although pottery had been a major industry in the area since the late 1700s (see the Bennington theme…), it had started to die out around the time of WWI, and was nearly defunct by the time David Gill started his pottery.  With the increased interest in handicrafts in the 60’s and 70’s it grew considerably, and is now a tourist destination as well as a thriving business.


This is as wild-looking a set as I’ve seen in a long time.  It arrived (via eBay) just before Christmas, so the creamer had a good time watching the ornaments on my office tree until it got shelved in early January.  These whimsical cows are hand-fashioned of heavy ceramic by Jan Newlee Owsley of N.O. Farms Ceramic Works of Ventura CA.  If you find them appealing you can learn more about the artist and her work at

This little ‘hot pepper’ pair is from ©OCI Omnibus, made in Indonesia.  They go with the teapot that was featured in the introduction.

This rather small cow and moon are unmarked…

as is this fancy couple.

This is a lovely pre-WWII luster set from Tashiro Shoten of Japan, active from the 1930s till 1954.   There are several other creamers from this shop on page 3 of Modern Variations.

 Here is another variant of the same basic pattern, this time with a matching sugar bowl, marked with two concentric circles with a 5-petaled flower in the middle and “Made in Japan” between.  The pottery on these is rather crude, indicating that they are almost certainly later (likely post WWII) copies of the much higher quality set from Tashiro Shoten.

This idiosyncratic couple can also be found in the Favorite Brands page, but deserves a spot of its own here. The company website,, notes that it originally started as Lipper & Mann in 1946 as an importer of European glass and ceramics. Mr Lipper bought out Mr Mann and changed the name in 1963. He has passed on but the company is still going strong, run by his progeny. I believe that this set dates from the 1950’s, when ‘pixiware’, popularized by Holt-Howard, was all the rage.

This 1991 set comes from Clay Art’s “Stacked Animals Series”, and was made in the Philippines. Clay Art was established in San Francisco in 1979 as a producer of ceramic tabletop items and collectibles. It operated under its founders Michael Zanfanga and Jenny McLain-Doores for 30 years, then was bought by Renovo. A search for these days takes one to, which in 2013 stated that it celebrates five years of leadership in beverage, wine and giftable barware.

This little set bears a mark in a triangle that reads “Kolo Fajans, JANPOL”, with “Made in Poland” below. I haven’t been able to locate any information on the maker, except that Wikipedia includes them as a Polish makes of faience, or tin-glazed pale earthenware.

This ‘hatching’ pair comes from “egg tokes”, ©Sigma; there is a matching teapot in that theme section.

This is a rather large sugar and creamer set - unmarked but the sugar bowl here rather reminiscent of the Desert Doodads ‘Cow-yote” creamer shown in Modern Variations. I wonder what prompts a cow to howl at the moon?

Cute idea, but probably better for display than use, is this three-piece sugar and creamer w/head for a lid that came accompanied by a salt and pepper and a little green cow face plate.  It’s copyrighted 2006 for Ranger International Corporation, importers from Riverside-San Bernardino, CA (whose website for some reason wants not to let you in without a user name and password (heck of a way to [not] sell stuff!)  and was made in China.

Here’s another try at the three-piece stacked approach.  It reminds me a lot of one of my lady cow teapots, but for sure wasn’t meant as a set because there are significant differences in style.  No markings, but I’d bet it’s made in China.

If you look on page 2 of ‘Modern Variations’, or find Kenmar in Favorite brands, you’ll find a lot of creamers that look like this brown one…as noted elsewhere it’s a very popular modern style, and I’ve got them in all kinds of colors and variations.  Interestingly though, they don’t often come with sugar bowls – and never have I found one of the early creamers that have the little bell attached to the neck with any accompaniment. I have no idea which company manufactured this unmarked set.

This big-eyed, gold horned grey lustre set bears the stamp ‘1561’ – someone’s mold number apparently – but no other information.

This set of thin-faced cows is unmarked, but I have a suspicion that some DIY ceramic shops have a mold for these, and that there are some painted ones around somewhere.

These chubby Holsteins display their heritage via the cross on the creamer’s bell…they’re from “The Swiss Cow Collection by Cotfer Geneva.”

Here’s another pair from the same maker and collection.  Their web site tell us: “« COTTIER Frères, COTFER »  is a wholesaler and distributor in Swiss souvenirs. Founded in 1923 by the grandfather of the present owner, we continue to be conceptual innovators in the popular souvenir range of such items as key-rings, ceramic and porcelain articles, caps, T-Shirts, soft toys and magnets. Maintaining that trend-setting position in the competitive world of souvenirs demands high standards of quality control and the best in customer service, which includes customising articles to your specific requirements.”  I of course checked their catalog, and although there are a whole bunch of cow-like thingies, at the moment at least there aren’t any creamers.

The box this pair came in is marked “New Marco Polo”, and they were made in China.

This little unmarked black and white pair has one very unusual feature: the creamer pours through the ear. Strange, but it works.  Must tickle.

This cute black and white pair comes from Taylor & Ng, made in Japan, and ©
1986.  Their web site notes that "Over twenty years ago (they) brought Far
Eastern concepts to the Western Home", and that they continue that

Here is a lovely but unmarked pair from the UK.

These two sets would appear to be from the same molds, and by the same maker, although I sure didn’t know that when I bought them.  The white ones are marked in light blue, with a crown over “Sta-Ma”, and the seller indicated they came from Mexico.  The ones with the brown flowers are a bit more explicit, since in addition to STA MA and the crown, they are marked for Curenavaca, Mexico.

This creamer in this pair looks suspiciously like one made by Otagiri of Japan…however it’s clearly Mexican, marked in green “Ceramica de Cuernavaca, Mexico” around a cactus, plus “AGO,1986”

Neither of the flowery sets are marked; the cheerful pair with the red scarves have small rectangular gold Made in China stickers, and the pudgy black faced couple are impressed for ©1994, P.I.L.  A Google search for those initials turns up Python Imaging Laboratory, Portland Interscholastic League, and Philadelphia Investors Ltd, inter alia, but somehow I don’t think any of those are a match to these marks.

The nattily dressed couple, he with the bow tie and white dinner jacket and she with the long dress, are from Applause, Inc and I believe that they accompany the dancing couple teapot.  The farmer in blue overalls and his lady with the red polka dot dress and white apron are © for House of Lloyd, 1992, and bear the small gold Made in China stickers.

Here are another two sets that are apparently from the same molds, albeit they’re so differently painted (and separately acquired) that I didn’t realize it until I went to take these pictures.  Neither have identifying marks, although the brown creamer is stamped “8051”

A few years later, thanks per usual to eBay, I acquired yet a third set from the same molds, but this time bearing a sticker for UCAGCO. From the web site (now, what sort of a person would go around collecting mermaids??) we learn that “An importer of dinnerware and glassware, Ucagco (United China and Glass Company) was founded in 1850 by Abe Mayer and originally called Abe Mayer & Co. They had offices in New York and New Orleans and did business throughout the Southeast U.S. as well as Central and South America. It wasn't until the 30s that the company took on the official trademark of UCAGCO and began expanding overseas. In fact, after the war, the company's agent in Japan, S.A. Stolaroff signed the very first contract allowing imports from Japan. A talented ceramic designer himself, Stolaroff worked alongside many Japanese potteries to lead the company's line of ceramics. In 1956, UCAGCO was sold to Sammons Enterprises and in 1962, Stolaroff, who had become the company's president, retired.”

This bluish pair with flower garlands is stamped “T74” and bears small red oval Made in Japan stickers with gold lettering.

Shades of Schuppe! The black sugar proudly carries a large golden fly.  The creamer seems to be hollering, perhaps to wake up her mate.  They both have blue and white Japan stickers but no other identifying marks.

This unmarked brown set has a quite awkward posture – front legs splayed, and front and rear left hooves fused

Here are a couple purple pairs.  The low-slung pair with pink ropes and yellow bells are unmarked; but the ones with gold horns and big black eyes are not only stamped “C197” on the bottom of the hoof, but the creamer bears a placard with the (in)famous purple cow doggerel, “I’ve never seen a purple cow, I never hope to see one.  But I can tell you anyhow, I’d rather see than be one.”

Nothing fancy with this simple new made in China set, but the little calf on the lid is a cute touch.

Another simple black and white set, again made in China, this time from Giftco Inc

This set bears hand-written impression “KAME” on the bottoms.

This floppy eared set simply says “Made in China”

I bought the unmarked brown set that has metal as well as ceramic bells – very similar to the two sets above – from a seller in Oregon without realizing that the creamer is from the same mold as the black and white cow next to it (sans sugar bowl)  that came to me from Manitoba, Canada.  Then on closer inspection I realized that both are identical to a little red and white cow that my wife bought for me in Hungary that’s shown along with a bunch of its friends on page 2 of Modern Variations.  Oh well…at least they have all come from different places.  Cows certainly do get around.

These three sets (and an ‘extra’ creamer) are very similar in styling, all bearing a resemblance to the ©geo. z. lefton cows that have the orange noses and the bright orange flower between their horns.    The ones with the bright maroon noses claim to be “Bessie Cow” and have a red and gold sticker that says “Imports – Enesco – Japan” .  In the picture with two sets and the extra creamer, the blue pair has a palate-shaped red sticker w/gold rim that reads “Lugene’s, Japan”.  The white and light blue creamer is unmarked, and the black and white pair with pink noses simply has an impressed “Japan”.  Variations on a theme!

Here are a couple farm theme pairs where only the creamers are cows.  The checkerboard cow standing in sunflowers with the red bird on its back and the barn for sugar is part of Sakura’s “Weathervane” Collection, © Debbie Mumm, Made in China.  The kneeling cow, apparently too tired or lazy to pull its cart, is from “Block®, Country Farm(tm), by GEAR®” and was made in China, ©1995.

This cute set was a surprise Christmas gift from a neighbor.  It’s hard to find ones I haven’t already posted, making it doubly appreciated.  The milk can is impressed “©GIFTCO”…the only company by that name that I find on the web is located in Vernon Hills, IL, and its homepage says it’s a leading supplier to the school fundraiser industry.  Interesting.  Never knew there was such a thing.

This flowery kitsch set is marked ©LR with a ‘Made in China’ Sticker; the S&P are stamped “Longrich” . A web search turns up several Chinese companies with some version of the name, but with little additional information.

This happy little gal, however, seems more than ready to pull her cart – which in turn is carrying her calf.  No markings, but I remember seeing one similar to it in a closed store in Spain.  I’ve seen a couple of these cows, but this is the only one I’ve come across that has the cart as well (and it was correspondingly quite dear on eBay!)

This black and white cow creamer has a sheep for a companion.  They are “designed exclusively for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store”, ©SW, and bear an admonition to only hand wash them.

This made in China set is a bit unusual in that it includes a napkin holder.

The little squarish white cows with the gold bells, flowers on the forehead and big round ears are numbered 2661, and bear a red sticker for Lefton’s, Japan, along with ‘Reg US Patent Exclusive”.  Apparently Mr Lefton didn’t want to suffer the same copy-cat fate with these, as he did with the flat-nosed roundish ones.  The cowboy creamer and the cowgirl with the big yellow sugar bag carry a sticker for Russ Berrie and Company, Inc.  As the excessively-observant surfer of these pages may note, I also (mistakenly but only tentatively) included the cowboy as a small teapot, albeit this pair is most likely intended to be a set with the larger, guitar playing cowboy teapot. The third pair, in purple dresses with the ears sticking straight out to the side, is unmarked

I got the first of these gift packages in 1998, from a company called Houston Foods.  In 2002 I got another set from Houston Harvest, Inc. (‘HH’). A bit of browsing indicates that “HH was formed in 1997 through the merger of Houston Foods, a TCW portfolio company, and Golden Harvest, a Merit portfolio company”, and was a leading distributor of food gifts and popcorn tins, supplying to mass retailers.  Further googling notes that Milestone Capital Partners purchased HH in November 1996, in conjunction with the management team that also invested.  Wow, who would have guessed there was that much M&A action in the cow candy and popcorn tin business!  Must be makin’ $$!

About half way down the first Modern Variations page, theres a strange black and white cow thats standing on oversized teats, called the Udderly Cow Creamer from Boston Warehouse Trading Company.  These are her close relatives from the same company a smaller creamer, a little sugar bowl, and a tidbit tray, all  entitled Mug Mates, more pals for your table.

This pair is from Trippies, Inc and was made in China in 1995.  There’s a matching teapot that I bought separately several years earlier (see if you can spot it!)

This is a Lilian Vernon set, Made in Taiwan

The Modern Variations theme has a whole bunch of these sitting up cows, from a number of manufacturers.  This set (which also has a salt and pepper) is stamped “S1294”and bears a silver sticker for “Napco Ceramic, Japan”.

Here are several creamers and a sugar with the flat noses and ball-tipped horns that are a characteristic of Thames, and are made in Japan.  The bucket creamer here is actually the mate of the standing cow, and both are marked for their purpose.  All of these are fashioned from red clay, with a frosted brown glaze.

This set also is of red clay, and has bulbs on top of the horns – there is a mold number (7489) on their bellies, and I suspect that they are an early set from Thames. Why early? Well, although the black glaze if hard and shiny, the other colors – blue eyes, gold horns, bell, and hooves, and pink nostrils and inside ears, is ‘cold paint’ added over the glaze.  Whoever had these – now probably well over 70 years old – certainly took good care of them because that paint is very easy to rub off.

This ©1958 Holt Howard creamer and sugar set were also featured under the Brands theme, but I couldn’t resist also putting them (a different set) in here along with their companion milk tumbler.

These four sets all have one feature in common: the heads of the creamer and sugar do double duty as salt and peppers.  The grey pair is from Japan, the brown ones have an oval gold sticker for “Relco, hand decorated, Japan”, and the purple ones that are accompanied here by an additional creamer, are (presumably) Thames, Japan, with their characteristic big noses and horn balls. The black and white ones are cheap ceramic and are unmarked, but almost certainly come from China.

This interesting cow that appears to be star gazing was sold as a creamer with sugar-shaker, but I’d bet that, like the sets above, the shaker is meant for salt and the companion sugar-pepper piece has been lost or broken. Suspicions were confirmed about the purple set above, when this pair was acquired sometime later. These still bears the silver Thames sticker.

Suspicions were confirmed about the last of the above sets, when this pair was acquired sometime later. These still bears the silver Thames sticker.

Although unmarked, this weird little guy appears to be another interpretation by Thames of  Japan.  Beats my how you keep the sugar from spilling while pouring the cream.  I’d guess that the horns on the side were intended to carry salt and pepper shakers

Finally – and again a slightly different version of items also shown under other themes – here’s the famous Whirley plastic creamer along with its accompanying sugar dispenser, plus a tray and cover.