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Tricorne and Streamline Tableware

This is a tableware. It is dated 1934 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is molded and glazed earthenware. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

In 1930’s America consumer demand for color in ceramics reached a new height and major manufacturers therefore promoted bright glazes as a primary focus for product appeal. In this period the Ohio River Valley was home to America’s largest potteries, such as Salem China Company of Ohio, who introduced open stock designs that allowed consumers to mix and match individual pieces and colors to personalize their table setting. With Tricorne and Streamline, Salem used both the bright “mandarin red” color as well as striking new shapes to lure purchasers. This red color is similar to that used for the rims of a white teaset by Ladislav Sutnar of 1930 in the Cooper Hewitt collection (2014-33-4/17). Don Schreckengost created the Tricorne shape, in response to the availability of a new, uranium-based glaze, when he was a nineteen-year-old art college student on a summer internship with the firm. Tricorne was primarily a plate and saucer shape and often sold alongside the Streamline shape, patented in 1935 by Vincent Broomhall and Herbert A.Smith, which was used for accompanying vessels, such as the sugar bowl, creamer and cup in this set. The Salem China Company partnered with Warner Brothers in order to associate their tablewares with Hollywood glamour and celebrity. Its sales and marketing department hired movie stars to sit for publicity photographs taking their tea with the Tricorne and Streamline sets. Salem also collaborated with movie theatres on “Dish Nights” at which female moviegoers received a free piece of the brand’s china. These advertising schemes as well as Tricorne and Streamline’s aggressively modern color and pattern serve as reminders of the creative strategies that manufactures enacted to maintain a profit in the years of the Great Depression.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

  • Coffeepot And Lid (Austria)
  • molded, enameled and glazed porcelain.
  • Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund.
  • 1986-83-1-a,b

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D (Large plate): 1.9 × 29.5 × 29.5 cm (3/4 × 11 5/8 × 11 5/8 in.) H x W x D (Salad plate): 2.2 × 22.9 × 22.9 cm (7/8 in. × 9 in. × 9 in.) H x W x D (Butter dish): 1.9 × 10.2 × 10.2 cm (3/4 in. × 4 in. × 4 in.) H x W x D (Large bowl): 4.1 × 15.6 × 15.6 cm (1 5/8 × 6 1/8 × 6 1/8 in.) H x W x D (Cup and saucer): 6.4 × 16.2 × 16.2 cm (2 1/2 × 6 3/8 × 6 3/8 in.) H x W x D (Creamer): 5.7 × 14.6 × 11.4 cm (2 1/4 × 5 3/4 × 4 1/2 in.) H x W x D (Sugar bowl and lid): 8.9 × 17.8 × 14 cm (3 1/2 in. × 7 in. × 5 1/2 in.) H x W x D (Dessert plate): 1.6 × 15.2 × 15.2 cm (5/8 in. × 6 in. × 6 in.) H x W x D (Small bowl): 2.5 × 14 × 14 cm (1 in. × 5 1/2 in. × 5 1/2 in.)

It has the following markings

"Tricorne by Salem, U.S. Patent D. 94245” marked on bottom Sugar bowl, creamer, & cup (not saucer) are marked differently Cup: “U.S. Patent D. 96799 Streamline by Salem” Sugar bowl & Creamer: “U.S. Patent D. 96445 Streamline by Salem S 40 HB” [S 40 HB – is only marked on the creamer]

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Tricorne and Streamline Tableware |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>