Back to Keepers Tools USLHS China Ware

Coffee Cup.

Soup Bowl.

China ware was issued for every light station and lightship. Full sets were issued which contain more that what we would think of today. Sets would include large serving pieces, teapots and pitchers bearing the official logo instituted at that time.

A sampling of some of these dishes are included here. The two types of official logos on the china are a blue circle pattern and a brown leafy pattern. These patterns have been difficult to determine when one was replaced with the other and both sets may have even been made at one time depending on who was ordering the supplies. The first issued pattern was the blue pattern and the second was the brown pattern. We have seen another style at one lighthouse museum but since it was a replica set we are not sure if it was official or not. We will make attempts to verify this and publish the results here.

Also featured here is a very rare seen piece of real silver. This piece has the blue style logo on it engraved on the top of the lid. We have found no other silver pieces at local Michigan museums to date. This may have been part of a silver set for official visits from the District Inspector or on Lighthouse Tenders while the inspector was on board. It could also be possibly used on a lightship. If anyone has any information on other silver pieces out there then please forward us the information so we can ad it here.

Although we don't have an official record of what was issued to a light station for a comprehensive list of china there are a lot of different pieces. We also are not sure of how many sets of dishes were used at a station, if we find out more information we will publish it here. one thing is for certain, dishes do break and divers have found at the underwater site of where the lightship Huron was anchored many china pieces that were broken and thrown overboard. Offshore light stations have also been dove on a pieces found that were thrown out.

When the Coast Guard took over from the lighthouse service in 1939 all the china was considered outdated. While some station keepers stayed on as civilian keepers and used their china ware many other who retired left the china in the cabinets and then when the Coast Guard came in to man the light they trashed or broke the old dishes to replace them with their own official dishes. This was probably common at a lot of stations while some former keepers took dishes with them when they left. At any rate a lot of pieces were lost over the years and very few remain in good condition today.






USLHS Official blue logo on china ware..









USLHS Silver Creamer or Sugar Holder possibly, we are not sure on this one.

USLHS Silver cream or sugar holder possibly, we are not sure on this one.







Small Butter Dish.

USLHS Official brown and leaf logo on china ware (above) and a manufacturers mark located on the bottom of all dishes (below).

Small Saucer Plate or Bread Plate.

Serving Dish.

Large Soup Tureen.


Copyright 2001 Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01/12/07