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Welcome to Carr China Company

Mattson sample plate 1937 Color Sample Plate

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Showing off a couple of additions in 2019 that we're very grateful to have added to our collection.

The first is the Carr sample plate, top left, that came from the estate of Paul Mattson (Carr designer in the late Thirties) by way of his son Richard. Among the venue logos displayed around the border is at top: Richard. We've been told that the designer added this name in honor of his son Richard, who we're guessing was born in 1937, the year the plate was made.

The second plate is a very hard-to-find color sample plate. On the back of the plate is a list of colors names that corresponds to the numbers on the front.

Recent Additions to the Site

Atlantic Lunch Billiken Shoes Duckwall's

CDH RHP - mystery pattern

 F. & H. - Forstmann & Huffmann dayton house

Lawsuit for damage to ware during construction of Tygart River Dam

In 1939, the Carr China Company filed a claim with the U.S. Government to recover what it estimated to be $48,143 in damages (approximately $891,000 in 2019 dollars) that resulted during the construction of the Tygart River Dam by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

During the dam’s construction, after each pouring of concrete of about 8 feet in height, the top surface was washed down with high pressure water hoses to get a clean and textured surface in order for the next pouring to achieve a good joint there. This high pressure washing caused loose portions of cement and lime to be washed off the concrete and into coffer dams. From the coffer dams it was pumped out into the river beyond the dam, very near the intake pipe for the City of Grafton water supply, which was used by Carr China. This saturation of lime in the water resulted in significant glazing problems on Carr China ware.

Near of end of 1935 and thereafter, complaints were received as to the quality of the ware, and upon investigation it was determined that the ware’s glazing was badly defective. Further studies showed that this was the direct result of the chemical content of water used in the manufacture of the ware. “Different ceramic engineers recognized as expert authorities were separately brought to the plant to ascertain the cause of the trouble and to correct it, if possible, and it was absolutely agreed by these various experts that the chemical composition of the water supplied from the Tygarts Valley River was the direct cause of the damage to this company’s product.”

Carr’s records showed that for the years 1935 and 1936, damaged ware resulted in a loss of 37,320 dozens at an average sale price of $1.29 per dozen.

Eventually this lawsuit became U.S. House Resolution 5625, in support of the Carr China Company claim. After various revisions it became HR 2931, but was returned “with a veto message” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in August 1941. Ultimately, no financial remedy was made to the plant for the damage.

To read the report cobbled together from Google books’ scanning of the procedures, click here.

It is interesting to look back at this period in Carr’s history that at the same time they were enduring the massive loss of glazed ware as a result of the dam’s construction, they were also making thousands of beautifully made dam plates (and far fewer compotes) as giveaways for the dam’s dedication in 1936.

The dam was one of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal projects, and on Oct. 1, 1936, FDR traveled by train to Grafton to give a short speech touting the success of the dam. We haven’t been able to find the date of the dedication, but it was in October 1936 so we’re assuming FDR’s trip coincided with the dedication.

Journal of Antiques & Collectibles


In praise of restaurant china

A couple of years ago we were asked to put together a very short feature on the charms of restaurant ware collecting by the good people at the Journal of Antiques & Collectibles. Click here to see a PDF of our text and photos that we submitted for the issue: "Glazed and Confused." Click the image above to see the layout that appeared in the magazine.


As always, we'd love to hear from you with your Carr China finds and memories of the company.

Ed Phillips

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