Locations: Manhattan Beach
Dates of Operation: 1927 - 1989
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
2009.09.14 Metlox Colorstax Mugs
2009.08.27 Metlox Del Rey Chop Platter
2009.08.10 Metlox Navajo Dishes
2009.07.19 Metlox Central Park Plate
2009.04.21 Early Metlox Pieces
2008.04.04 Bauer and Metlox Navajo
This gallery is for Metlox Potteries, probably one of the largest, most extensive, and long-lasting of all of the California potteries. I’ve decided that rather than try to “re-invent the wheel” when talking about the more popular potteries, I’ll instead attempt to focus on the patterns and designs the companies made that are either uncommon or not represented in collector books dealing with the pottery.
I do come across quite a bit of Metlox in our thrift store and antique faire travels. I believe that it’s actually the number one or number two most common company whose wares are still available in thrift stores and garage sales. However, that’s not to say that Metlox’s products aren’t valuable or sought after. One of the nicer things about collecting Metlox is that there truly is “something for everyone” in their product styles. There is also huge range of desirability in their products which span over 50 years - some pieces are so common that they aren’t worth more than a quarter, where others can climb well into the several hundred dollar range.
I would recommend that if you have ANY interest in Metlox Pottery at all, or if you are a dealer in California pottery, that you immediately purchase Carl Gibbs Jr.’s definitive Collector’s Encyclopedia. About 90% of identification questions regarding Metlox can be answered from the book, and because Metlox turns up quite frequently, this is a good reference to have at hand. I’ve become accustomed to the format of the book so that when I suspect an item to be made by Metlox, I can turn to the section that I believe might describe the line in question. It may take some getting used to because the book is based on “shape” as well as “year”, rather than on pattern name, but it’s well worth it to familiarize yourself with the structure.
As I said previously, we will try and focus on lines and items that are under-represented in the Gibbs book. However, I’ll also be posting images to this gallery from our own medium sized collection. We have quite a few different Metlox items, spanning the different styles and lines, and I hope to eventually put pictures of every single item we have up here, regardless of whether or not it’s common or not.
I’m also not going to get into the well-documented history of Metlox, except to say that they originated in Manhattan Beach in 1927 and were a huge business force in that area. Actually, the Manhattan Beach Historical Society also has information about the pottery - I believe that they have also preserved the original company tile sign that used to be all that remained of the factory. I haven’t been down there yet, but am planning a trip soon. Also interesting is that in most cases, if you search for Metlox online, you will get information about the new Metlox plaza shopping center area that is named after the company and located at the site of the original factory. That goes to show how important an industry they were in the city.
There are two other things I would like to briefly mention which may be applicable for the collector. The first is that Vernon Kilns, another one of the “Big 5″ potteries of the day, licensed away their name to Metlox when they closed down in 1958. From this, a large “Metlox Vernonware division” was created, and it operated separately from the other Poppytrail division. As such, you will find the same exact Vernon Kilns item with “Vernonware from Metlox” on the back on occasion.
The other issue is that, like most pottery companies, Metlox did NOT mark every single item out there. This is especially true with the older items, but it also extends to newer lines of dinnerware. In particular, what we often see is things like creamers, pitchers, salt shakers, cups and other items not having any marks at all - while other items of the line are clearly marked as Metlox.
Because you will often find a single lone Metlox item, there is no guarantee that you will have a backstamp to let you know that it’s from the company. As such, a saavy collector who knows the different shapes and lines that Metlox made can pick up single examples from the company that other people who are ONLY looking for a backstamp pass over. A large majority of the single items we’ve found have been obtained at thrifts through this. The lesson: familiarizing yourself with the patterns and shapes is extremely helpful.
ImagesEbay listed under this name. We've tried to hand tailor the searches below so they will bring up the most accurate results. If there are no results, it will list general California pottery.