Locations: Los Angeles
Dates of Operation: 1940s - ?
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
2010.03.18 Weil Vase
Weil of California was begun in the 1940s by Max Weil a former Gladding McBean employee. This is notable, because when Gladding’s adopted Catalina artware line was discontinued, Weil bought some of the old Catalina molds and proceeded to produce his own artware using them. You’ll find quite a number of different Weil items with Catalina shapes, but as far as I know they’re always marked as Weil, so there shouldn’t be confusion. According to Chipman, the items produced by Weil were generally of a lesser quality than the ones produced by GMcB. From the items we’ve seen, this indeed seems to be the case.
I’m a bit confused as to Max Weil’s earlier (or is it coincident) work. He had a company called California Figurine Company that produced a lot of different figurines in the style popular in the day - in particular Dutch style figurines, flower holders and vases. I’m not sure if that company was started before he was producing the Catalina copies, but I believe so. I think his figurine company was eventually renamed to Weil of California in the mid 1940s, but I’m not sure what the Catalina stuff was released under, although those items were marked in the usual way (i.e. “Weil Ware”).
One of Weil’s popular non-figurine lines were the bamboo decorated Malay Bambu dinnerware items. We see a lot of this around in antique stores, and single items occasionally show up in thrift stores as well. These are all handpainted, and came in both round and square shapes. An similar line that used flowers instead of Bambu was called Malay Blossom.
The photo above is a vase with Asian-inspired scenery that was probably produced in the 1940s or so. There are quite a few items with this pattern - an interesting thing about them are the textured tree foliage created with tiny rock or clay particles.
The backstamps on items vary slightly, but the majority feature ink-stamp standard text saying “Hand Decorated Weil Ware Made In California Pat Applied For” along with the donkey symbol. I believe a smaller number of pieces may not be marked at all - not sure if that was intentional, or if they originally had paper labels. So far, we haven’t seen items marked with his older California Figurine Co. name.
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