What Is The History Of The Lenox Crystal Company?

What is the history of the Lenox Crystal Company? Lenox began in 1965 with the objective to create quality complimentary pieces to go with fine tabletop wear. The Lenox business, in its first incarnation...

The Lenox business, in its first incarnation called Lenox's Ceramic Art Company, was started by potter Walter Scott Lenox in 1889. However, "Lenox crystal really began in 1965," says Timothy J. Carder, vice president of design at Lenox, Inc. in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

How Lenox developed from a ceramics store to the leader in fine china and crystal that it is today is a classic American story. According to the Lenox website, Lenox's Ceramic Art Company set itself apart from all others by the way it created it's pottery. "It was organized as an art studio, rather than a factory, and offered one-of-a-kind artwares in lustrous ivory china, rather than a full line of ceramics."

In just eight short years, the company had impressive works displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. By 1902, to keep up with the growing trend of fine dining at home, Lenox changed the company's name to Lenox Incorporated and started to create custom-made plates, painted by notable artists. Soon Lenox had carved out a place in the homes of Americans nationwide, including President Woodrow Wilson and his wife Edith in 1918.

This gave Lenox the distinction of creating the first American china to be used at The White House. Sadly, in 1920, Walter Scott Lenox passed away. The company carried on, however, and the factory expanded that year to include a classy oak-paneled showroom. Plus, the offerings had branched out to accessories such as figurines, pitchers and lamps. Later, Lenox would assist the American military during World War II by providing a resilient ceramic called Lenoxite to produce resistors and other important items for use in electronics.

By the 1950s, Lenox dominated the tableware industry, producing about half of all fine porcelain dinnerware purchased that decade. Patterns such as Westwind, Kingsley and Jewel were especially popular. What followed was the construction of the "most advanced ceramics factory of the time," reads a timeline on the official website. In the 1960s, the company flourished, providing daring designs and shapes to reflect the Pop Art Era, and adding crystal to its line.

Says Carder, "The crystal company was originally run by Bryce Brothers and then Lenox acquired it in 1965 and really specialized in light blue crystal, similar to what Bryce brothers had been making." Lenox wanted to "create complimentary pieces to go with fine tabletops at that time," says Carter.

For nearly four decades, crystal production continued as it began. Carder explains, "When the Pennsylvania factory closed down, the majority of the crystal giftware and stemware was then manufactured in other parts of the world." The change was necessary to fulfill the demands of the Lenox crystal customer base.

Carder says, "There was a need for more piece types and the manufacturing processes we have here couldn't cater to all of the different configurations we needed to make." Today, the Crystal line boasts over 40 patterns of stemware and barware.

Popular stemware lines such as Clarity® and Debut® feature elegant champagne flutes, goblets, iced beverage glasses and wine glasses. Barware favorites include Shooting Star, which includes a complete bar set and Tuscany Classics, which offers cordial glasses, decanters, margarita glasses and more. Undoubtedly, something for everyone.

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