Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Made in the U.S.A.: Dishes


It is getting harder and harder to find things that are made in the U.S.A.... I have been especially looking for a new set of everyday dishes for at least a couple of years now (notice the recurring theme of how I never buy anything quickly or impulsively!), and wanted them to be American made. 

Our last set of dishes were Mikasa (not American made), and although pretty, they have not lasted very well, in my opinion.  Although some people would think keeping the same set of dishes for 15+ years is doing well, our previous set of Pfaltzgraff Heritage dishes is still mostly around, with barely a chip (although they can break too, they are just very sturdy) .  Previously USA made, as our set was,  Pfaltzgraff dishes are no longer manufactured in America. Even Buffalo China -- the dishes you remember from eating at diners -- is not made in Buffalo anymore! You can probably still find some at antique stores or on ebay...but it is sad... 

Then with the ongoing insecurity of lead and other contaminates that may be in china, or in the glaze used on china (mostly made in China),  I was really determined to find American made dishes.  There are still a few manufacturers around -- you have to look (and you have to love Google for being able to research!) A good list of American made products can be found here, Americans working,  for starters. 

Anyway, it came down to two different ones for me: Niagara China Americana in Rekindled Ruby or Homer Laughlin Gothic, a pretty off-white/cream china with a raised gothic pattern, which I had come across at the restaurant of a historic hotel we stayed at -- the General Francis Marion Hotel in Marion, VA.  
Homer Laughlin Gothic mug -- nice, but do I need 36 of them?
 Homer Laughlin is the company that makes Fiestaware, but the Gothic pattern (and others) are sold at  restaurant supply stores, like Wasserstrom and The WEBstaurant Store. Items in a restaurant supply store are sold by the case, and although a case of 12 plates sounds fine (and maybe a good idea too -- if you have some that break you will still have a service for eight), some items are only available in a case of 24 (certain bowls) and a case of 36 (the mugs I liked).  I do not have the need for 36 mugs, or even have anywhere to store 36 mugs!  I guess I could have given some away, but the idea of buying more than you need still doesn't seem right to me -- maybe because my parents grew up during the Great Depression...

I checked with  Niagara Ceramics that the china I was buying was still made in America, and my contact person said -- "yes, it is!"  They have a lot of really nice patterns, but I liked the color and simplicity of this one best, which will be a Christmas present to my husband and myself this year:
Rekindled Ruby
Niagara China -- Americana -- Rekindled Ruby
I definitely think we should return to manufacturing more things in America, but I understand that it is cheaper to buy them made elsewhere (except maybe France!)  I would happily pay more for something of good quality that is proudly made in the U.S.A!


  1. I like the ones you picked too :)

  2. Our dishes are "Royal Copenhagen" and we use them nearly every day!
    For the past 24 years and I loved them now and I love them!
    They are white and go with everything.
    I love the ones you chose!