I had long been looking for a set of old California dinnerware but was having a tough time finding the right pattern. My mother has a set of Metlox Red Rooster dishes which I remember fondly–we weren’t allowed to leave the dinner table until we could see the rooster on our plates. I once owned a set of Franciscan Desert Rose dishes and still loved the pattern but it seemed far too feminine for our house. I was also hoping for something that would mix and match with terra cotta plates from Mexico, dark green Arts & Craft plates, and if I’m lucky, turquoise Bauer pottery.
I was close to settling for the Franciscan Apple pattern–the red would go nicely in our kitchen–when I found a huge collection of California Pottery at an antique mall here in Missouri–and in a pattern I had never seen. The pattern was Orange Blossom and it was made by California Ceramics Co. in Calabasas, California in the 1940’s and 50’s as part of their Orchard Ware collection.
It was clearly a mix of several different sets but it’s rare to find a set with tea pots and creamers with lids, serving plates, and even a salt shaker so I jumped at the chance.
There’s not a lot of information out there about California Ceramics and none of my books on California pottery mention them but dishes from California were so popular at the time, it’s likely some smaller producers just didn’t receive the same attention as Pacific Pottery, Vernon Kilns, or Gladding, McBean. I did discover they also made a Dogwood pattern in their Orchard Ware. It was tempting since Dogwood is the state flower of Missouri, but as an Orange County girl, the orange blossoms remind me of home.