SPINNING WHEEL, a National Magazine about Antiques, May, 1959
Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of WEDGWOOD
Excerpted by Leslie Canavan, September 2000

The idea of a single national magazine dedicating an entire issue to Wedgwood is tantalizing; to find one, albeit from another era, was a true treasurefind from, naturally, eBay! Unfortunately I did not document my purchase price, but it was small I'm sure compared to my joy in owning it. As I was reading it recently, I realized the contents would be of interest from a historical standpoint to contemporary collectors, and more importantly, to those living in the Washington/Baltimore area. I have picked some of the highlights to review and hope some of you will be able to find copies of this old publication in your wanderings. House sales, fleamarkets and the like are usually great sources of old antiques publications. Of course, dusty antiques shops often carry stacks of old antiques publications also.

The Wedgwood blue cover of this issue is the first treat, most of the printing being in white with two black & white illustrations - a woodblock print of the Ivy House Burslem 1759 and a photo of the Barlaston Factory. In the corner is a photo of a dinner plate & cup & saucer in the "Appledore" bone china pattern. Unmistakably a Wedgwood issue! The inside front cover ad is full page from Merritt's Antiques, RFD2, Douglassville, PA, highlighting photos of their wares including a magnificent jasper cheese cloche with fern relief. The article about the cover is a full column long and tells a bit of Wedgwood history. Next, the contents VOL. XV, No. 5:

Index to display advertisers
Guest Editorial by none other than Harry M. Buten ("Collecting Wedgwood requires a great deal of activity, energy, and enthusiasm.")
Calendar of Antiques Shows (84 listed from 4/17 to 6/9 in Ohio, MD, MA, IL, NY, PA, MO, IN, IA, MI, CA, ME, NH, NJ, CT and 1 in Canada)
Memo from Marcia
Josiah Wedgwood I, 1730-1795
The Wedgwood Collection at Leith Hill Place
Wedgwood and His Imitators
Wedgwood's Moonlight Lustre
Wedgwood Jelly Molds
Dating Wedgwood Products by their Markings
The Empress Catherine Service
The Wedgwood Club's 25th Anniversary
Books about Wedgwood
The Wedgwood Mortar
Wedgwood Collections in American Museums
Mercury in Solid White Jasper
Antiques Study Clubs: the Lukens Antique Club
The 5 Questions Most Frequently Asked Me about Wedgwood by Hensleigh Wedgwood

MEMO FROM: Marcia is a column of unrelated paragraphs relative to various antiques topics. The first one, and only with an illustration, caught MY eye immediately. Some of you may know I recently, finally after 30 years of looking, acquired a pair of Rayne blue jasper-heeled shoes in MY size and in near perfect condition; illustrated in Marcia's column is yet a different heel, one with a fern leaf going straight up the back! I have never seen this one and now want it MORE than the ones I have! "Step lightly: Shoes with Wedgwood heels appeared in the spring style collection shown in New York and Chicago by Edward Rayne, shoemaker to Queen Elizabeth II. The heels are being made in three heights, in twelve different designs, in Wedgwood blue & white, and in green & white. The china is reinforced with a steel prong down the center of the heel. Mr. Rayne says this is the first time anything of the sort has been tried, and the heels are smart as well as novel. Beautiful, too!" My blue pair is from the 1970 edition and I was given a copy of the original ad from a British publication illustrating them. Made of dyed-to-match kid the 70s edition came in blue and green. I've seen them in primrose, also by Rayne, and I believe another colorway or two. We have a set of sage & white unmounted heels in stock at present. If one could find a shoemaker with guts they'd be a great pair of shoes!

Marcia's next paragraph tells about the Wedgwood Int'l Seminar in England that coming July, and lists all the planned activities. And the following paragraph also about Wedgwood which I just have to share: "A Book is Born: After her visit to England in 1950, Mrs. William Rolfe Marsh, of Paynesville, MN, began to give talks on Wedgwood before various women's clubs…Eventually the talks evolved into the subject of 'Fine China Dinnerwares'. As she became more familiar with the pattern names of the Wedgwood dinnerwares, she discovered that many of them were names of places she had visited. Last winter Mrs. Marsh set down on paper the story of her trip-and named it "Seeing England Via Wedgwood Dinnerwares"."

And Marcia's last item about Wedgwood : "Dedicated Decorators: Mr. & Mrs. Robert Weinstock designed, built and decorated their home on the Wedgwood theme. They entertained members of the Wedgwood Society & Buten Museum at their "Blue and White Jasper Home" on 3/26 when each guest was invited to bring examples of this particular Wedgwood ware for a study of Wedgwood Blue."

The next page contains a full length, two column wide ad headed by a Portland Vase entitled: "Charles B. Smith, Antique Wedgwood For the beginner-the collector-the connoisseur" He lists 42 items for sale with short description, date & price. Located at 6320 Wissahickon Ave., Philadelphia, by appointment only or mail order and he states he is a member of the Wedgwood Society. Let's look at just a few prices :

(all are blue & white unless otherwise stated) Jasper teapot & lid ca. 1895 $18; Jasper cachepot, 7" high, arabesque relief, ca. 1810, $35; Caneware pitcher, 7" hi, Bacchanalian boys in high relief, ca. 1795, $60; Black & white Jasper plaque, 5" diameter of Mercury, a beauty, ca. 1810, $75; Black & white Jasper Portland vase, 10.25" hi, a beauty, ca. 1820, $375; Tri-color plaque, 16.5" hi, 6.5: wide, light blue & pale green & white relief, trophy design suspended by ribbon, needs a good cleaning, ca. 1800, $85; basalte statue of a bulldog or a tom cat, glass eyes, your choice, ca. 1800, $90; light blue & white jasper trophy plate, a thing of beauty!, ca. 1790, $165; solid light blue & white jasper cup & saucer, "Dancing Hours" in relief, c. 1790 $115, and a similar date umbrella handle, $30! A great variety and oh those prices. Note, "All items shipped Railway Express freight collect…". It would be interesting to know if any of our members own pieces procured from Mr. Smith; Muriel your name comes to mind!

The article on Josiah Wedgwood I is illustrated with a photo of a Staffordshire Toby jug of Josiah I made by Coopers at the Anchor Pottery, Hanley. The mug was based on a contemporary bust of Wedgwood and "well shows the subject's strong yet sensitive character translated into the potter's idiom. In this homely piece seems to be expressed the potter's thanks to the man whose practicality, united with artistic taste, brought "china" dishes to the everyday tables of everyday people-and opened the door to industry expansion." The article continues on with a bit of biographical information about Josiah.

"The Wedgwood Collection at Leith Hill Place" is a one page article well illustrated with photos of the outside and one room interior as well as a cabinet full of wares. Next page contains an ad from Arthur L. Sherman, The Westchester, Washington 16, DC and is illustrated with a photo of Wedgwood Majolica from the estate of a well known WDC collector. The platter is 12 x 25" in Shell & Seaweed at $75. "Complete list of over 50 pieces furnished on request." All pieces mentioned in the ad are priced below $50 with the exception of one other large majolica platter, also $75.

Spinning Wheel was published in Taneytown, MD at a price of $5 for two year subscriptions and had a reported 40,000 circulation. Imagine, there were 40,000 copies of this issue at one time!!!

"Wedgwood & His Imitators" by Charles B. Smith is a condensation from a presentation given at a meeting of the Wedgwood Society 12/19/57 and appeared in full in Buten Museum of Wedgwood Bulletin No. 1.

"Wedgwood Jelly Molds" is a one page article describing the collection of Col. George Duff-Dunbar, Treasurer of the Wedgwood Society of London. One photo shows 17 gathered upon a dining table.

"Dating Wedgwood Products by their Markings" was written by Harry Buten and reprinted in part from the BMW Bulletin No. 1. At the top of the page, above the article title we find "Aesthetic appreciation of beautiful Wedgwood is increased by the intellectual satisfaction of knowing more about…", a quote I recognized from Mr. Buten even before I looked and saw the article was written by him. The illustrations in this article are wonderful; a Victorian tile, a Calendar tile, jugs, a tea urn and a rectangular box w/ pierced lid marked in colored slip "1824 Duchess of Portland".

And an ad illustrating 5 Lithophanes from Art Studio, 55 S W 1st St., Miami, formerly of Upper Darby PA. Located in Miami is/was their Lithophane Museum, over 2000 items! I note that the commercial ads appearing on most every page are from dealers all around the country. Many from the New England area, but not exclusively. Many list items & prices, a great deal of glass. THE OLD HOUSE of Buzzards Bay, MA had a blue Wedgwood England 5" bowl for $12, creamer $15 and urn vase for $35, shipping extra, no reproductions!

There is a one page article with photo on the Wedgwood Club's 25th Anniversary. The photo shows Mr. & Mrs. Gorley presenting a check and a Monteith replica made especially for the Club to Mr. Milton E. Lord, Director of the Boston Public Library, toward the 25th Anniversary Fund in memory of Mrs. Marcus A. Coolidge. Over 25,000 people visited the May, 1958 Exhibition of Wedgwood in the Fine Arts Gallery of the Boston Public Library!

And for those of you interested in a challenging search, here is a list of Articles in Spinning Wheel magazine relative to Wedgwood:

3/58 Josiah Wedgwood, Button Maker
4/58 Part II of the above article & Early Wedgwood
5/58, Sadler & Green, Transfer Printing Pioneers; How others Use Their Antiques (Jewelry from Jasper shards).
2/57 Western & Southern Views on Wedgwood Blue Plates
11/57 The Longfellow Series & Emile Lessore, Artist
2/58 Adams Staffordshire Scenic/Historic Plates
5/56 Wedgwood Albany Views
4/54 Wedgwood Buttons
9/53 Josiah Wedgwood Basaltes
7/52 Historic Plates & Calendar Tiles, 1881-1901
11/47 Continuity in Staffordshire (What a scavenger hunt this would make!!!)
Of interest to me was the article on THE WEDGWOOD MORTAR by George Griffenhagen, Curator, Division of Medical Sciences, Smithsonian Institution. He describes Wedgwood production and the history of mortars & pestles, but then talks about the fact that even in 1959 mortars & pestles are frequently described as "Wedgwood" or "Wedgewood" even though they are not made by the Wedgwood firm. It has become a standard nomenclature, to wit: "For almost 2 centuries now, the pharmaceutical mortar and pestle, almost exactly as Josiah Wedgwood designed it, has remained an essential tool in pharmacies. In the US, 40 State Boards and the Nat'l. Assoc. of Boards of Pharmacy require all pharmacies to have in possession from 1 to 3 sizes of "Wedgwood", or "Wedgewood", mortars." I actually ordered a "Wedegwood" mortar & pestle in two sizes a year or so ago from a pharmaceutical catalog provided by a pharmacist friend. They of course were not made by Josiah's company, but are interesting nonetheless. Coors Porcelain Company of Golden, CO manufacturers a mortar described as "Wedgwood Type Coors USA Porcelain". The Coors Porcelain Company is the same family as the brewery.

And among the ads again, we find Wedgwood Cream Ware at Harmonie House Antiques, Santa Barbara, CA, Wedgwood books at Paul A. Ruddell, 461 S. Ben Franklin Sta., Washington 4, DC, "WEDGEWOOD - IMPRESSED" matchbox $35, at the Beaver Hat, Middleburg, VA (the ad carries no other address or contact information - must have been well-known!) Amanda's Antique Shop, 10 North St., Plymouth, MA lists a number of Wedgwood pieces for sale, and a list available. And Agnus Ashby Antiques in Ventura, CA was carrying Wedgwood, soup tureen, ca. 1815, cream w/ flowers A1602, $45. And in the Wanted to Buy section we see Mrs. B. Blatt of Baltimore wanting jasper, marked all colors and also Wedgwood jewelry. And another "Wedgwood for private collection, especially jasperware & jewelry", Mrs. Bernadene Rovner, also of Baltimore.

And Hensleigh's article, the 5 most asked questions:
1. Is Wedgwood always marked? (Yes, unless not thru carelessness so amateurs only buy marked)
2. How can one tell a piece of old Wedgwood? (marks or experience!)
3. Is Wedgwood always blue & white? "Surely no reader of this magazine can be in any doubt as to the answer to this question, but the fact nevertheless remains that his question is constantly asked of me by members of the general public."
4. Is Wedgwood made in America?
5. Is the Wedgwood firm still operated by Josiah Wedgwood's Descendants? "It was only a few days ago that I heard from one of our dealers that a customer in her store had been overheard to say, 'Of course, all of the Wedgwoods are dead.' The writer believes this to be untrue." (3 direct descendants were then actively involved in the company)

The back cover in black on Wedgwood blue is a full page ad "Books About Wedgwood" from Antiques Publications Inc., Ladiesburg, MD.

I hope I have found some highlights of this magnificent collection of articles which have interested many of you. Those of you who know me well, know magazines are another of my passions and finding these old issues full of Wedgwood articles is like finding gold to me! If anyone would want a copy of an article, please call, fax, write or email and we'll see if we can't share! And let me know if you find any of the other issues of SPINNING WHEEL! I'd love to read some of those articles mentioned!