Ironstone Service Ware
I don't know about you but one of my favorite activities is junk-tiquing at flea markets and antique stores. I especially love it when I find a treasure for one of my collections such as the white service ware in my kitchen. Recently I came across a large ironstone bowl that was a real deal at $38 marked down from $45.
The term ironstone was coined in in England in 1813 by Charles Mason. He put a patent on a new technique that allowed him to make a service ware that was harder than earthenware and stronger than porcelain. This made it a very useful product for the table or in the kitchen.
In 1813 Mr. Mason got a patent that lasted 14 years so by 1827 other companies jumped on the ironstone bandwagon. By 1840 and 1850 they started shipping tons of it over to America. They learned that the Canadian and American market really liked simple decorations. You'd often find agricultural motifs such stalks of wheat because it was being sold to, well, farmers and used to serve up meals to the families and farm hands. The piece I found was made by Grindley and Company, which was in operation from about 1880 to 1991.
The nice thing about ironstone is it mixes well with modern pieces. I can't get enough of white service ware so my collection includes everything from junk store finds to Pottery Barn dishes to antiques. Everything works together so well with a great sense of style and you can really put the collection to work. I put something to use every day.