Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watertown Woodbine : Ivy Simply Beautiful Melmac by Jon Hedu

Blackbird Antiques NC offers these Woodbine cups and saucers.
Watertown Lifetime Ware's designer Jon Hedu was a genius.  Though Watertown's Lifetime Ware is widely collected still today, one later line not spoken of enough is Watertown's Woodbine.  I simply adore this line, the flowing ivy-like designs, which came later than the original Lifetime Ware. 

The raised design is simply lovely, showing the tiny fruits and wrapping vines.  Courtesy: BlackbirdAntiquesNC.
This line is simply stunning with a raised motif all around it. Perhaps the famous wild Woodbine Ivy, much like a Virginia Creeper, that grow wild and bore tiny fruit was the inspiration for such a design. This Woodbine design is simply stunning and with 3-D motif protruding out of the pieces themselves.  If something could be called a "design melmac masterpiece" this is it.

Note the raised backstamp also has a bit of a vine in it!  Courtesy BlackbirdAntiquesNC.
The designer left no stone unturned because even the attention to detail on the backstamp has a raised motif!  The original patent was filed in July 1952, and granted in October of the same year.

Courtesy: Google Patents, Read all the Patent Info found here.
So why is it that this lovely design hasn't made it's way into more homes?  One can only assume it was not as well received as it's predecessor Watertown Lifetime Ware--though I can't fathom why.  It's not for lack of marketing, that's for sure. I found evidence it was advertised in 1953 though various outlets including House and Garden Magazine, volume #103, with the target audience hearing the words "Distinctive Dinnerware" and at "the discriminating hostess..." The add even suggests you could even write to the "for a free folder" on their melamine. (Porter Street address.)

It was mentioned in the Hospitals Journal (The Journal of the American Hospital Association vol 28 circa 1954) and years later being tested favorbly in Consumer Reports, 1957.   Just by old magazine mentions,  we can establish a minimum four year market to table window.   So where is it all and why is it so difficult to find these days? Did the public stick to the tried and true regular old Watertown Lifetime Ware during this time?  Did perhaps the raised motif make for hard cleaning as dirt would have built up into the tiny berry crevices? Who knows, but it certainly is lovely and in my opinion everyone should have a piece in their melmac collection.

Related Reading:

Read all Watertown related posts HERE.

Go to the Plastic Living Watertown Site HERE. 


  1. I am honored to see this. My father would be thrilled. Best regards Seth Hedu

    1. We found a large platter among my Mom's collection. It is beautiful.


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