Dates of Operation: 1946 - 1977
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
I had no idea there was such a large collector fanbase for Florence Ceramics. Besides online groups, there is at least one collector club and at least two collector book on the company. The thing is that we just do not have any interest in the majority of ceramic pieces produced by founder Florence Ward. Because of that, I’m going to keep the general information very brief here - if you have more interest in the company, you’ll want to check out the books or sites associated with Florence.
The Pasadena company was started in the 1940s as a hobby for Florence Ward, but quickly became a full time occupation which grew to include her husband, son and at it’s height, 100 employees. Various locations are noted, but the one which there was an address for was on San Gabriel Blvd in Pasadena - I believe that it’s currently the location of the Walden School of California, and in fact the building exterior looks to be the same as the older picture of the plant. I’m familiar with this area and have often driven down San Gabriel Blvd on various errands. According to Chipman the family sold the business in 1964 to a company called Scripto Corp which kept the name Florence on various items until it closed in 1977.
The majority of the ware that is popular with collectors are various elegant and highly detailed semi-ceramic Victorian figurines. As I said, I’m not into these porcelain figurines, but there is a huge following and they do sell for rather high prices. I have to admit that the figurines are stunningly detailed, crafted and painted. The dresses and clothing of the figurines feature lifelike ruffles and folds. The few items that I’ve more an interest in are the animal figurines that were made by Florence - there was an additional line that was designed for the company by Betty Davenport Ford that features stylized bisque animals that I really like.
In addition, you’ll note the unusual Florence casserole or serving dish bottom that I came across at the thrift store. This was a really interesting design featuring a swoop shaped bowl with handles and a Bauer ring-like exterior. There was no cover, but I think it may have come with one. I don’t know if this was something that Ford also did for the company - I’d be interested to find out more about this dinnerware line. I took pictures of it so that we’d have a photo of the backstamp - it definitely is from Florence Ceramics. Note that there’s another unrelated “Florence Pottery” which was based in Ohio from the 20s to the 40s. I believe that pottery is related to RumRill / Red Wing.
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