23 December 2012

Spode and Turkey

Page from Copeland & Thompson US catalogue, 1965
These lovely Game and Turkey Sets were aimed specifically at the US market in the mid-20th century. The illustration is from a 1965 catalogue for Spode's American agents Copeland & Thompson. There is quite a bit of choice here with the prices listed in US dollars.

In the UK, seasonal items for Christmas sold in a different way. Families were likely to use Christmas designs only on Christmas Day and, at a push, perhaps Boxing Day. In the US the festive season stretches from Thanksgiving Day, or the day after, through to Twelfth Night. Much more opportunity in the US to get your festive Spode pieces out for use and for display.

On the catalogue page the terminology and spelling is different for the US: center for centre (UK); platter for dish (UK); # for No. (UK).

North America (the US and Canada) was Spode's biggest market so it was important to make designs, shapes and pieces for that market. Separate brochures and catalogues were produced but often in the US and Canada and this explains why so few survive in the Spode archive.

Spode exported to North America from the very early days of the business. Under the proprietorship of Copeland & Garrett, in 1835, the company was awarded the contract to supply Hudson's Bay Company.  This significantly expanded the Spode business in North America and led to Spode becoming a household name with a reputation of quality and reliability. This Hudson's Bay Company contract continued on an almost exclusive basis until 1872. No documentation has been found so far regarding the termination of the contract. (Details of pieces excavated at some Canadian Hudson's Bay Company sites can be found in the book by Sussman; 'Spode/Copeland Transfer Printed Patterns Found at 20 Hudson's Bay Company Sites...' and full information of this book is on my booklist.)

Usually Spode's Game Sets (Game Services in the UK) were produced with a border design from an antique Spode pattern such as Filigree, British Flowers and Tower (illustrated).
Tower Game Centre, detail, 1962