Home on the Range with Western China Tableware -- It's beautiful, it's fun to collect and show, it's nostalgic
Examples of Wallace Rodeo western china
WALLACE: Rodeo ... Boots and Saddle ... Pioneer Trails
Although all of these patterns are sought after, the Rodeo pattern is one that seems to be the most popular. Both the Rodeo and Boots and Saddle have been reproduced by a Texas company, True West, BUT all are marked on the bottom with the True West name. This is extremely helpful in knowing whether it is a vintage piece or a new one. The True West pieces are not inexpensive, however, and they are well crafted. All of the Wallace restaurant pieces are very heavy. They were made to stand up under hard use in cafes and restaurants. The True West pieces I've used are equally sturdy and heavy.
Keep in mind that the pieces I discussed have the pattern name and the Wallace China logo as well on the bottom of each.
Western restaurant china isn't just for restaurants anymore
Some of you probably remember eating off heavy china that may have had brands around the edge and western scenes in the center. Some of the plates were even divided into sections -- the larger area for the meat and the two smaller ones for green beans and mashed potatoes. Sometimes it was difficult to keep the gravy totally on the potatoes as some would slop over into the bean area. Many restaurants provided larger divided plates so mixing food was not so much a problem. Often steakhouses served their meals on oval plates (small platters).
Most often, the plates were very light brown with the decorations in a darker brown. Occasionally, the background was white however, and a few of these were decorated in blue instead of brown.
One of the largest makers of western-themed china was the The Wallace China company. This company was founded in 1931 and specialized in hotel and restaurant china. It was in 1943 that the company produced the western series called Western Ho. These patterns were Rodeo, Boots & Saddle, Pioneer Trails, and Longhorn and were designed by Till Goodan. Wallace was acquired in 1959 by Shenango who continued making some western themed pieces. Examples of these pieces will be pictured (with the exception of Longhorn), with appropriate labels.
All western-themed pieces are extremely popular today and, if you have some, you are very lucky. It appears that Ralph Lauren is also very lucky. See the picture showing what appears to be Boots and Saddle dinnerware at his Double El Ranch in Colorado. The food covers much of the plate but I don't think it is Rodeo.
Boots and Saddle & Pioneer Trails patterns
Wallace China images
Wallace El Rancho, Pioneer Trails, other Wallace pieces
El Rancho is another Wallace pattern made for restaurant use. The pieces are similar in color to Boots and Saddle, though lighter. El Rancho was also made with a white background. Most of this pattern pieces that I've seen have the smaller plates (Rodeo & Boots and Saddle have very large ones) but there are platters which could be used as a plate.
Some serving pieces have only the Wallace China information (not a pattern name) on the bottom. A few also have the name of a restaurant, event, or other business too.
While the company was still Wallace, some pieces were produced with a silk-screened effect. The ones I've seen were serving pieces but probably others were made. They can be with a white background or the light tan.
Pioneer Trails is also part of the Western Ho series. Again, the background is tan but the decorative work is a more reddish color. I have only seen small and large plates. These are more densely decorated than the other Western Ho pieces (see pictured example).
After Shenango took over the Wallace company, they also produced some restaurant china which was both sturdy and beautiful. Shenango will be discussed in my next hub, along with other makers of western ware.
Wallace Western Ho china
Wallace made many pieces that had only the brands. Any of these were intended to be used with either Rodeo or Boots and Saddle. For example, mugs might have just the brands but other mugs will have the Rodeo cowboy or the Boots and Saddle pictured. .
Pieces that can be used with Rodeo and Boots and Saddle
Accessories for your Wallace China
While these items are not produced by Wallace, they fit in beautifully with the western-themed Wallace china. For example, there is a wide array of glass sizes that are clear but have a lasso circling near the top and brands above the lasso. The brown decorations go well with the china's brown. Some of these glasses have the Libby 'L' on the bottom but not others, so I don't know if Libby was the only maker.
I am also including a picture of a creamer which also goes great with Wallace western. These creamers come in different sizes ... remember, cafe servers often brought a 'master' creamer for more than one person. The small size was an individual creamer. The creamers can be used as toothpick holders, as a vase for short stemmed flowers ... again as an accessory for the tableware.
Examples of glasses that go with western china
Summary but more on my next hub
I hope you enjoyed this hub and will read my next one which will discuss other makers of western-themed tableware. You might be surprised to learn which companies added western-ware to their inventory.