I saw this unusual candy dish in the thrift store and, I admit, my first impression was that it was a bit gaudy. Without my glasses, I couldn’t read the mark very well but I did see that it was made in Pasadena. The script of the mark and the place clinched the deal – I bought it.
It sat on my table for weeks, and occasionally I’d pick it up and admire it, running my fingers across its smooth, ruffled edge. The muted colors and delicate handiwork of the roses captivated me. Finally, I took a photo and decided to do a little research about its history. I couldn’t find the exact piece but I did see another one that was pretty close. However, it turns out the story of this woman-owned American company was the best part of this vintage find.
According to the International Ceramics Directory, Florence Ceramics began in the early 1940s by Florence Ward, an anguished mother who lost her young son to a rare blood disease. To cope with her grief, she took a ceramics course at the Franklin School for ceramics and pottery. Her artistic talent was quickly revealed in her figurines of women and men dressed in authentic historic dress. Friends admired her work and she began selling her signature pieces from her garage.
As her success grew, Florence Ceramics moved to a large, modern facility in 1949 and began mass producing her figurines. Her employees loved working for the Ward family and high standards were always revered. Eventually, as the story often goes, cheaper reproductions from overseas and the death of her husband caused Florence to sell her business to Script in the early 1960s. According to the eBay article, Florence Ceramics aka Florence of California, “A great era of perfection and detail in porcelain figurines came to an end.”
Alas, I do not have any figurines to share but you won’t be disappointed if you take a look at some of these found at Replacements. So beautifully vintage!
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