Art Deco Pitcher Has Universal Appeal

By Anne McCollam

September 27, 2019 4 min read

Q: This is a photo of a blue ironstone pitcher with a removable lid. I bought it 20 years ago just because I liked the shape and color. It stands about 8 inches tall and is 8 inches from the handle to the spout. It holds 6 cups of liquid, and it is unmarked and in excellent condition.

I am trying to weed out things I don't need any longer, and I'm not sure what to do with this pitcher. If I had more information about its history, it may help me decide whether to toss it or keep it.

A: Universal Potteries, Inc. made your semiporcelain pitcher. They made semiporcelain and earthenware in Cambridge, Ohio, from 1934 to 1956. Your pitcher with the flip lid, an ice guard on the spout, ridges on the lid and rings at the base is an example of art deco design. It is part of Universal Potteries' Oxford Blue Line. Baking dishes, pitchers, and kitchen and refrigerator wares were a few pieces in the line. Your pitcher was also available in orange glaze. They sold to grocery stores and movie houses, and many pieces were used as premiums to entice customers to return. The pottery was also sold in catalogs. Universal Potteries was well-known for its cattail design that was popular in the 1930s and 1940s.

Your art deco cornflower blue glazed pitcher was part of the Oxford Blue Line and was made circa 1940. It would probably fetch $25 to $75 in an antique shop.

Q: This mark is on the bottom of a large platter that I inherited from my mother-in-law several years ago. She treasured it and would only use it for holiday dinners. It is decorated with a brown pattern that depicts a country scene with cows and a barn. The length is approximately 18 inches, and the width is 14 inches. It is in perfect condition.

What can you tell me about its origin, age and value?

A: You have a brown transferware platter that was made by David Methven and Sons. They were located in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, from around 1850 to 1930. It was mostly a family operation. They produced large amounts of earthenware and stoneware for export and specialized in spongeware, transferware and willowware.

Your platter was made around the late 1800s and might be worth $150 to $200.

 Universal Potteries, Inc. was located in Cambridge, Ohio.
Universal Potteries, Inc. was located in Cambridge, Ohio.
 David Methven and Sons produced earthenware and stoneware.
David Methven and Sons produced earthenware and stoneware.

Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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