Hi everyone. As I’d mentioned earlier, I’m going to be posting up California Pottery “guessing games” every so often. I realize that there’s nothing to “win” by participating - hmm… maybe I’ll have to work on getting some sort of prize for the more difficult ones. But anyway, I thought it might just be something fun for now.
Here are three different California Pottery low flower bowls or planters in white glazes. These were made by many different California companies from the 1940s until the 1970s, and we’ve seen this shape widely produced (usually made in China) today. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to say which company produced each one. I realize that this is a pretty tough task, so I decided to also post the backs of each piece. No zooming in on the stamps!
Actually, you might be able to take a guess based on the stamps. I know that I can recognize the stamp of at least one of these planters from very far away. No other hints yet - but I’ll be sure to drop some if there’s no takers. Also, this time I encourage you to go ahead and look them up in any collector books you might have. You’ll also probably be able to recognize them from looking through the different company galleries on our site.
OK, have at it. I’ll post the answer here next week if it hasn’t been guessed correctly yet.
A recap on the answers: The answer from left to right is: Frank Moreno Ceramics, Metlox, and Pacific Pottery. It was guessed correctly by a combination of Christine and Tom’s guesses (see comments below). The Moreno Ceramics and Pacific bowls have a shiny glaze, while the Metlox has a sort of matte glaze - but that doesn’t really help because I know Pacific also did a matte glaze very similar to Metlox’s.
I usually can recognize Moreno Ceramics low flower bowls from the weird three feet sticking out on the bottom, but they are also often marked. The mark is usually inmold and distinctive in that there are three separate lines of text, sort of in a triangle between the feet. Often it reads “Frank”, “Moreno”, and “Ceramics”, but very often the glaze obscures much of the mark so that it’s difficult to read. Also important is that “new” bowls like this are still being made (often in China). One way to tell a new bowl is to look at the feet. If they are “triangular”, then the bowl is very likely new and definitely not Frank Moreno. To my knowledge, they are never triangular on this type of Moreno piece. However, this does not mean the bowl is definitely a Moreno Ceramics item. I’ve seen other similar bowls that have rounded feet, but they stick out higher than the Moreno Ceramics ones. Also, I think Doranne made very similar items. In this case, look for the inmold mark. Even if you can’t read it, if the words are in a triangle, between the feet, then the bowl is likely Moreno.
Pacific can often be recognized by the inmold circular stamp, with all block letters. The stamp is also “raised” instead of inset - I’m not sure of the terminology, but it “sticks out” so that it’s raised in relief instead of inset into the base. Usually the stamp reads “Pacific” on the top half of the circle, “Made in USA” on the bottom half, and the ID# in the middle. However, on occasion the word “Pacific” is not added. This is a great opportunity to pick up a piece of Pacific if a swap meet seller doesn’t recognize it.
Both Pacific and Metlox have a ringed foot on bottom, but that doesn’t mean anything. I have a hard time recognizing Metlox of the three because the stamps seem inconsistent. They can have an inmold stamp, an ink stamp, both, just a number or nothing at all - often the word “Metlox” (and/or “Poppytrail”) is included, but not always. The same exact item can often be stamped differently(!). The item shown has both an inmold stamp and an inkstamp on top of it. In this case, both say “Metlox” so it’s not a problem. However, a lot of the glazes on early items were very thick, so if there’s no ink stamp, it might be difficult to read. Keep that in mind when hunting for your next Metlox piece!
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