Esquire shape cup and saucer with Snowflower pattern decoration


Edwin M. Knowles China Company ( American, 1900 - 1963 )


Russel Wright ( American, 1904 - 1976 )

Designed 1955
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General Description

In 1955, the Edwin M. Knowles Pottery Company commissioned designer Russel Wright to produce an inexpensive, yet appealing, tableware line to be marketed through discount stores and mail-order firms. As it turned out, Russel Wright’s designs accomplished neither goal. From the beginning there were problems with the sophisticated matte glazes, for example. Retailers found that the pale ware photographed poorly and thus was difficult to sell through catalogues. And shoppers apparently considered the shapes too strange. To improve the situation, Wright suggested the application of new decoration patterns and the restyling of some shapes. But Knowles, which was already under financial stress, discounted Esquire in 1962 and went out of business the following year. 

Adapted from

Charles L. Venable, China and Glass in America 1880-1980 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art: New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000), 463.