Dates of Operation: 1940s - 1956
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
Featured B.J. Brock & Co items (view more)
Brock of California pottery is interesting for a few reasons. The first is because they did not start out life with that name. Lehner’s Marks gives the actual name of the company as Southern California Pottery Company, Inc. which started out producing dinnerware sometime in the early 1940s. (Note also, this is not to be confused with Southern California Ceramic Company which made the popular “Orchard Dinnerware” also in the 40s!) Bert J. Brock founded the company which eventually replaced the name with his own in 1950 or so. I can understand why - the earlier name just sounds so generic. Other than Lehner’s book, I’ve never seen any reference to the older name. Most of the time, they’re known simply as “Brock” or “Brock of California”.
The company operated out of Lawndale, which is just east of Manhattan Beach, home to the well-known Metlox Pottery. It is also interesting that while they were operational for a relatively short time in the 40s and 50s, their dinnerware is rather common as far as California Pottery goes. I see a ton of it around, and most of it is transfer-printed dinnerware in one of three different “provincial-type” patterns: Harvest, Country Modern and California Farmhouse. The first two are nearly identical in most cases according to Jack Chipman, except for the coloration and a few of the farm life scenes. The latter is also a farm provincial type pattern.
Another slightly less common pattern is known as Desert Mist and came in green/yellow and gray. This is a solid color pattern with a brownish airbrushed type edging on the dinnerware. I believe that some items in this set may also be marked as “California Rustic”. It’s a rather nice set, that seems to have a lot in common with Russell Wright and later period Bauer items. The picture at right is from Christine (krakencrafts) and is an example of a teapot in Desert Mist.
A majority of Brock pieces are marked in some way, with the exception of some teapots, smaller items like shakers and other odds and ends. They usually read “Brock”, “Brock of California”, or “Brock Ware”. Sometimes, the pattern name is printed, along with “by Brock of California”. I’m not sure if they used paper labels as well as ink stamps.
I was lucky enough to come across one of the more uncommon patterns known as Manzanita which features a modern desert influenced theme that is actually handpainted platinum and pink on top of a white glaze background with gray airbrush highlights. I like this pattern much more than the provincial type of patterns that Brock made - the shape is also very modern, almost like Eva Zeisel pieces. I’ve come across the bowls shown in the pictures, and I’ve also seen a teapot or coffee pot without its lid. I’m going to be keeping an eye out for this pattern at the thrifts.
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