Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Innocuous Bowl

I stumbled upon this bowl at the World Market Thrift Shop in Hagerstown one day. AhA! It had the highly desirable Franciscan mark on the bottom. At the time, I did not know much about Franciscan except for that Mr. P continually had plates and various forms of dinnerware for sale made by this 20th century pottery manufacturer. "Desert Rose" and "Apple" were the two favored patterns of collectors. Well, nowadays, just about anything that looks like it has a mark on the bottom that doesn't say "Made in China" is something I have to have and research. Though it was a drab putty gray color, and was rather plain, I purchased it for a whopping $2.00.

I researched all the Franciscan sites I could find, and found out that prior to being called Franciscan, the company was know as Gladding & McBean, and had their start manufacturing various tiles in California in the early part of the 20th century. I was getting somewhere, but still could not identify the bowl. It didn't seem to match any dinnerware pattern that I could see. But I did narrow the mark down to being produced between 1948 and 1952. Well, at least I knew it was somewhat OLD, and not a new bowl.

I joined the GMCB Franciscan collectors board, and they were able to identify it promptly! It was El Patio, matte gray, a design that was produced from the 30s to the 50s. Interesting, but not necessarily a pattern I would pursue collecting. Some of the various shapes of pieces were quite interesting and modern, some not so great. The group members assured me that this pattern had many, many pieces and could readily be found. That in turn meant to me a challenge: WATCH ME FIND THEM ALL! Not that I want a bunch of "el Patio" sitting around, but it is something to keep my eye open for. And the bowl is innocuous enough. It could sit here for a while.

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