Monday, February 7, 2011

Loving my Pope-Gosser

Instead of watching the Super Bowl, I created a Valentine's Day table using my favorite china, Pope Gosser Rose Point.  Every time I use the "Roses" I fall in love again with their romantic charm and detail raised embossed roses and vines.  My LARGE collection of Rose Point china came to me quite accidentally when I worked at a school that was once a World War II Army hospital.  One day while cleaning out an old storage room, I came upon many dusty boxes marked "Fragile."  My heart began to beat wildly as I opened box after box of Pope-Gosser Rose Point china, all lovingly wrapped in newspapers from the 1950's with headlines about Rosa Parks, Yogi Berra, and Mickey Mantle. The total number of plates equaled 61! The boxes also included serving pieces, teacups and all. I was all a-drool with wonder and delight! 

I have continued to purchase pieces so that I can donate the large set to charity events and to friends and family.  We recently donated the china collection to be used in a fund-raiser for "Imagine LA," an organization committed to eradicating hunger and homelessness in Los Angeles.  The dinner "imagined" itself as a throwback to the 1940's when families sat down together to share comfort foods around the dinner table. My "Roses" starred at the table lending their luster and vintage charm.

This last year my son and future daughter-in-law chose an outdoor garden for their summer wedding and honored me with asking to use the "Roses." Of course!  Since they are inviting 120 people, I've continued to collect and now my collection is ready for the wedding.

The following factoids about Pope-Gosser come from a wonderful "compendium of historic chinaware produced in Coshocton, Ohio" called "Recollecting Pope-Gosser," funded by the Joe R. Engle Museum Gallery Fund.  I don't know about you, but I love imagining the men and women who lovingly crafted these beautiful pieces of history.  I've highlighted sections about Rose Point in rose and my comments in blue. 

Bentley Pope, driving force of the Pope-Gosser China Company, spent much of his youth working in some of the famed potteries of England.  Immigrating to the United States in the late 19th century, he was successively employed as manager at various pottery companies.  He continued to nurture the desire, however, for the freedom to produce fine chinaware rivaling that of his native land. To this end he met with jeweler Charles F. Gosser, president of the Coshocton Board of Trade, a group of businessmen who were aggressively soliciting new industries for an expanding area.  The end result of this meeting was the formation of the Pope-Gosser China Company in 1902, with Pope as president, and Gosser as Secretary/Treasurer.

By 1903 production had commenced in the 315’ by 90’ factory, modestly described by I.B. Pope himself as incorporating the “best ideas in pottery manufacture” in a facility which boasted “a model, modern arrangement, equal to if not superior to any plant of this kind in the world.”

Artware, dinnerware, and toiletware were proudly spewed forth by the initial rank of over one hundred
employees.  As customary, china was recognized by a mark underfoot.  Pope-Gosser began its life with a mark consisting of a double ring with wings plus the identification CLARUS WARE.

The factory was located at 329 North Fifteenth Street.  The plant grew from utilizing 6 kilns at its inception to 15 at its peak.

Pope-Gosser originally utilized European clays in their mixture of kaolin, quartz, and feldspar.
I.B. Pope soon adjusted this to include predominant amounts of fine American clays from states including Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, and North Carolina.

Clay was unloaded from the railroad cars and carted into the plant with wheelbarrows.

Collaborating with the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, the Pope-Gosser China Company
developed a new design using a piece of wedding lace collected by David and John Johnson, benefactors of the highly regarded museum recently established in Coshocton.  After working several months, their artist developed the embossed “Rose Point” design.  Differing from other designs of the era, Rose Point was more finely detailed, and extended beyond the normal rim-only decoration.  It was also unique in that it had to be adapted to each piece.  The embossed design was produced on a light ivory body with a “glaze of unusual brilliancy and transparency.”

Carlyle Roderick, former employee and presently collector of, Pope-Gosser, recalls the clay forms were trimmed with a notched corset stave.  Sponges were utilized to smooth the “green ware.”

Clay slabs were delivered from storage to “moulding and turning” rooms.  Operators in this area
transformed the basic material into circular forms like plates, saucers and cups, on a rapidly revolving
wheel.  Other workers molded shapes such as tureens or pitchers in plaster of Paris “moulds.”  The
plaster of Paris facilitated the drying process by quickly absorbing moisture from the clay.

In the chinaware industry, there are two basic forms:  flatware (such as plates, bowls, or saucers) which are formed on wheels; and holloware (pitchers, teapots, etc.) made by pouring liquid clay into molds.

The mold-maker, the man responsible for constructing the shell for hollowware was one of the top paid employees of the company.

Chinaware underwent three firings to create the finished product.  Items were packed in an earthenware box called a sagar to be place in huge kilns for the first firing.  Emerging from the first, the “biscuitware” was inspected for flaws, dipped in glaze, then fired a second time. Before a final, brief firing in the decorative kilns, women employees handpainted and did “decalmanica” (applying of decals).  Gladys Matthews recalls working on the pattern above.  In the decoration room, each of the buds had to be hand-spaced exactly right.

The Pope-Gosser China Company survived the war years, but struggled to remain competitive in post-war America.  It was during this decade (the 40s) that the tureen mark identified the Pope-Gosser China.  Due to the limited demand for china at this time, employees often worked only one and a half days a week, which was preferable to being layed off.  When company President William Pope died in 1948, his death further weakened the struggling company.  

In the 1950s a final attempt at survival was made as Pope-Gosser developed hundreds of new patterns, “constantly seeking to meet the desires of the American housewife.”  Unfortunately,
their effort was unsuccessful.

On May 3, 1958, citing the increasing cost of operation and the pressure of imports (particularly from Japan), the company declared bankruptcy, releasing the last of its one-hundred-fifty employees and closing its doors. Steubenville acquired this pattern from Pope-Gosser China Co in 1958, but only made it for less than a year since Steubenville closed in 1959.

The 52 under the wreath mark indicated that the piece was manufactured in 1952.

More information found about Rose Point design used by Pope-Gosser and Cambridge Glass:

Rose Point Etching

by Russell Vogelsong
Issue 90 - October 1980

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article first appeared in the Vogelsong Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 2, August 28, 1971.

The following information came to us from two sources. Our first was from a circular letter dated October 25, 1934, and was sent to all agents by W. C. McCartney, explaining the introduction of a new Rose Point Etching. The letter reads:
We expect to have ready around November 1st, samples of the new Rose Point Etching, at which time we will send you samples and full information.
In the November issues of China, Glass and Lamps and Crockery & Glass Journal,
Our second source of information was from what we believe to be one of the first advertisements for Cambridge Rose Point. The ad reads as follows:
A magic word - a word to conjure visions! Brides of Yesterday in hoop skirts! Brides of Today in slender silhouettes! Brides of royal blood, resplendent, glorified, adorned for the altar in bridal veils of Rose Point lace!
Rose Point lace is made entirely be hand by the peasants of Belgium, requiring infinite skill and patience. Years are sometimes required to complete a single pattern and many hands have a part in the making. The finest of cotton thread is used and so delicate is the design that magnifying glasses are worn by the workers. It is never washed, as water would destroy its perfect texture. The younger generation of Belgians have neither the patience not the inclination to perform so tedious a task, so Rose Point lace is becoming increasingly rare.
And now there is another Rose Point luxury for brides, less rare, less costly, but beautiful and distinctive and new - CAMBRIDGE ROSE POINT CRYSTAL!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Along these same lines, the December 1974 Issue #20 of the Cambridge CRYSTAL BALL contained an article by Ruth Forsythe. We are reprinting a portion of this article here.
This is just part of a letter found in an old notebook of W. C. McCartney of the Cambridge Glass Company. It is not known to whom it was directed or from whom it came, but certainly brings out again the importance of design and name in selling.
C/L#30 - Page #2
'Regarding Rose Point Lace. Stopped into Marshall Fields this morning and talked to the buyer of this department. They have a fireproof safe in which they keep all of the Rose Point and other fine handmade laces.
I do not know how complete your information is on this type of lace, but this lady told me it was practically all made in Belgium and none or very little being made now. It is all made by hand, of cotton, taking years to make even a single yard of some of the more complicated patterns.
They have one piece there 9" wide that they want $75 a yard for, and this has been marked down from $120 a yard. They have another piece 18" wide and this is a very exquisite one with the rose petals made free from the main body of the fabric. They are asking $300 a yard for this and it has been marked down from $500. This piece of lace has been in the store for over forty years and was exhibited at the last Chicago Worlds Fair."


  1. What a wonderful and interesting post! I've never seen this pattern before and it's so lovely! I enjoyed reading all of the history too.
    Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  2. What an amazing and wonderful provenance for your beautiful china. Thank you for sharing your story and the history and for stopping by my post.. I know that the wedding will be magnificent. Cherry Kay

  3. My first time visiting. What a beautiful and informative post! My husband's aunt has spoken of Rose Point, so lovely.

    The wedding sounds wonderful.

    Clicking to follow.
    Pat@Back Porch Musings

  4. Thank you very much for visiting my blog and posting a comment. That comment led me to your blog and I so enjoyed the story about your Rose Point.

    I read parts of it to my husband and he is now quite apologetic for his comments about my "dish addiction". Thanks, I can shop again!!!!

    We will see pics of the wedding, right?

  5. I have a set of Pope-Gosser China Made in USA Rose Point Warranted Gold Coin which I inherited from my grandmother. She was born in 1890 so this china could be very old. I know nothing about it and cannot find anything on the internet or anywhere that matches its description. It has the raised decorations of roses and vines as do all the examples on the Replacements Websites and on E Bay. It also has an edge of "Warranted Coin Gold" around the edge and a line of Gold inside the bowl. It has a number of flowers "painted" inside the bowl and inside the teacups and in the middle of the plates. The flowers consist of two pink roses, something that looks like a tuplip, a yellow daisy looking flower and a blue six petal flower plus some sprigs of "bells" and other delicate leafage. On the back of each piece it is printed "POPE-GOSSER" (in an arch) underlined by a triple hyphen "---" underneath that MADE IN U.S.A. then ROSE POINT. Then stamped below it says "WARRANTED COIN GOLD". There is no wreath around that writing as I have seen in some of the internet photos. Any idea what I've got here? My e mail is as follows: If you know anything about this particular type of "Pope Gosser" I would be very interested in knowing about it. Thanks.

  6. Thank you for this article! I just received portion of a set of Rose Point China from my mother in law for my wedding a few weeks ago. I also have the plan white style, no color. They are beautiful! Do you know anything else about the Stubenville company? i wanted to buy a few extra plates that i found for a good deal, but they are Stubenville rather than Pope-Gosser.


  7. "We're just trying to move in the right path and trying to get as unique as we can for summer time season frame and the Community Cup identifying games because the purpose is to be qualified for a the Community Cup. These are the only points that aren't in its favour. You really like your pet dog and manage them in the best possible way.
    My web blog fake vagina

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  19. Thank you so much for this in-depth post about Rose Point! I came upon a Rose Point teapot that I'm getting ready to list on Etsy and found that I knew nothing about it. Your research has been really helpful and I promise to cite your blogpost if I cite any of it in the listing.

    The wedding must have been lovely -- I can't think of a prettier (or more fitting) china pattern to use. Thanks to for writing an interesting blog -- I'm glad I discovered you & I'll be following from now on!


Thanks for your encouraging messages! No anonymous messages. Thanks!~CJ