Johnson Brothers Tableware
Johnsons Brothers began as a British tableware manufacturer. The company also exported their products, especially noted for their “semi-porcelain'' tableware. The most popular designs that are still collected today include "Old Britain Castles", "Dawn", and "Historic America". The company joined the Wedgewood group in 1968.
The Johnsons Brothers company was names after its founders – the four Johnson brothers, Alfred, Frederick, Henry and Robert. In 1883, Alfred and Frederick began production of durable tableware called "White Granite". Their business became a success and they were later joined in the business by both Henry and Robert.
After the success of their White Granite, the brothers developed a material known as “semi-porcelain”. This earthenware was similar to fine china, but it was as durable as ironstone. The products were exported to the united Sates and became very popular as they were reasonably priced and very durable tableware items. In 1898, Robert Johnson moved to New York to take care of the business’ expansion into the United States.
The original factory closed in the 1930s to accommodate the use of electricity rather than coal in pottery production. The business enjoyed popular success until the 1960s, when tastes changed and competition grew. To remain competitive, Johnson Brothers became part of the Wedgewood group.
In 2003, Johnson products were no longer manufactured in Britain and production was moved to China due to lower production costs.
Guide for collectors
Johnson Brothers produced tableware for many years, so dating the pottery can be tricky. To find out how old your tableware is, use a reference guide for Johnson Bros. China. Using the reference guide you can identify your pattern by shape and colour. Once you have identified the pattern shape you can find information about the manufacturing and history of the product. You can also use the internet to help find and date your tableware. Try www.replacements.com.
Notable auction sales
In January 2006, a collection of Johnson Brothers Ceramic Tableware in the Fruit Sampler pattern sold For $100 through Susanin’s Auction House. The set included 8 dinner plates, 6 salad plates, 6 bread plates, 10 bowls and 11 teacups with 6 saucers.
A Rare set of 109 pieces of Johnson Brothers English flow blue china set in the Warwick pattern. Set includes tureen, platters serving bowls and 31 dinner plates Sold For $1,900 in July 2005. The Four Seasons Gallery estimated the set to sell for $2,500 - $3,500.
A Johnson Brother "Savoy" pattern flow blue china set with 62 pieces sold for $1,700 in July 2005 through Four Seasons Auction gallery. The set includes large tureen and under plate, graduated platters, gravy boat and more and was made circa 1900.
Dallas Auction gallery sold a one hundred sixty piece set of Johnson Brothers English china in "The Lucerne" pattern, circa 1910 for $450 in May 2003. The set consists of 15 - 10" dinner plates, 15 - 9" salad plates, 15 - 6 1/4" bowls, 12 6.5" bread plates, 12 - 8" soup bowls, 12 - 6 3/4" medium saucers, 15 - 5 3/4" small saucers, 12 - 5 1/4" berry bowls, 13 - 2 1/2" cups, 11 - 2 1/4" demitasse tea cups, 12 - 4.5" demi/tea saucers, 11 - 2" double handled bowls, 1 4"t gravy boat with under plate, 1 5.5"t covered vegetable, 1 - 8 1/4" open vegetable, 1 - 10" oval dish, 1 - 11.5" oval plate.
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