May 15, 2011

It Was Under My Nose the Entire Time

I've had a hard time finding the right things to go in the china cabinet in our dining room and I had been meaning to dig out the boxes of china and silver I got from my Grandparents on my mom's side and my mom's Depression glass. I figured maybe there was a unique or pretty piece or two that I could use. I've used the Depression glass a lot over the years but the china kept moving from house to house and never left its boxes. I finally got around to it today and dug out some treasures I didn't have much appreciation for a decade ago.

Turns out Grandma and Grandpa Bell had a very popular set of Haviland & Co. china from Limoges France. Just my luck to be sitting on this little gem for the last 10 years. I did try to use it once but there weren't enough pieces to go around so back in the box it went and there it stayed. Of course after my rediscovery of the china this afternoon I went straight to Google and this appears to be the Ranson pattern with scalloped edge and gold trim. Schleiger No. 1, Blank #24. Circa 1894-1931. Turns out Haviland made some 60,000 patterns, and this was the most popular, crazy. I don't know if you consider it "French" because the Haviland's were Americans that began producing their china in Limoges in American style which the French didn't much appreciate.

1 serving platter, 5 monogrammed Luncheon plates, 11 Salad plates, 
5 Bread and Butter plates, 8 cups & saucers

I wonder if my grandparents got this china from someone else. It is a very incomplete set, doesn't even have dinner plates (or was that the norm?) I don't know that the monogram looks like a "B" (for Bell) and it was produced before they even got out of high school. I will probably never know the story here unless my Uncle Chuck remembers because I never knew anyone on my mom's side of the family except my grandparents, my mom and my uncle. I don't know if I didn't ask any questions growing up because I was a self centered brat or because it didn't occur to me there was anyone else outside of our little circle or because we weren't really the sit down and talk it out kind of family. 

I don't remember my grandparents talking about their families. There were no pictures. I know there was a falling out on my grandpa's side and I remember towards the end of his life he mentioned to me in passing that he ran into his sister at the bank one day like it was nothing and I remember saying, you have a sister and she's alive and lives in Algonac??? His father was a baker. My grandpa worked for Chris-Craft for over 40 years and when he retired, he told me later, all they gave me was a damn watch! (a Rolex that he never wore). My grandma died my first year in college so I didn't spend nearly the time with her that I did with my grandpa. I don't remember ever hearing a single thing about her family or her growing up. I think she went to college, I know she drove a school bus once, and she made the most perfect sandwiches cut into triangles, always with butter on the bread.

What letter does this look like to you? 
It is barely legible on 2 of the plates and completely gone on the rest.
Update: the monogrammed plates are slightly different than the rest of the set
The gold does not go all the way around the rim and they only have Mark I in green
The backmarks (Mark I and Mark c)
"For H. Watson & Company" is on just one of the plates
 11" oval serving platter
tea cup and saucer
 2 other Haviland Luncheon plates, not sure the pattern yet

Will this mystery ever be solved? Doubt it. Such is life. I feel like I don't have a lot of history having had no contact with many people outside of my immediate family and having lost almost everyone at a young age. There are so many things I wish I had asked my grandparents, my mom, my dad...don't make the same mistake if it is not too late. My mom's Depression glass sat in the same cupboard in our house, above the fridge, my entire life. I don't remember her ever using it. Where did she get it from? Did she love it? Why didn't she use it? The history of her glass isn't that important, just another question that will go unanswered. It's beautiful. I love it. I use it, but I think I will start using it more.


  1. Hi Keri, your grandma's china is beautiful! I especially love the delicate teacups. I feel the same way about family pretty much, I spent every summer with my grandmother growing up but she died when I was in my early 20's so I never got a chance to really know and appreciate her...but it's great that at least you have something left from her and your mother that you can display, I couldn't find your post about your mother's depression glass collection and would love to check it out:)

  2. Thanks Kelly! I was pretty excited when I "found" it again. I haven't posted about the depression glass yet, but that is a good idea for a post :)



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