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Red Wing Dinnerware: A Brief History
Red Wing had been producing the finest utilitarian stoneware items, using locally-sourced clay, since the late 1870’s. In the mid-1930’s, the company decided to import a finer-bodied clay, and transform their ceramic production into art pottery and dinnerware. The introduction of refrigeration some years before was eating into stoneware sales; they needed an alternative to boost sales and dinnerware fit the bill.
Initially, patterns were bright solid colors; later patterns were hand painted and some of the last patterns used stencils. Dinnerware production numbers and sales were closely monitored, and as a result, individual patterns and pieces within a line were quickly added and dropped.
For a time, the Red Wing Potteries made special-order dinnerware items for customers such as Hamm’s, Diamond Jim’s and Sweden House.