Late 1800s- Collecting Fine China to Preserve Heritage

After the American Civil War ended in 1865, and into the 1870s to 1890s, things were changing for our ancestors. Many more immigrants were arriving, industry was expanding, and America celebrated their 100th anniversary in 1876, so many people were looking back at their heritage especially if their ancestors had lived in the colonial era or during the American Revolutionary War.

A new movement began in the late 1800s of historical preservation of artifacts from the 1700s and into the early 1800s of America. Any easy method was collecting antique china pieces, many of which had been manufactured in England when there were 13 colonies. Individuals started checking with family members if they had family heirlooms, especially fine chinaware.

The New England region (Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, etc) became great areas to locate vintage china pieces and the new collectors purchased whatever they could find. Antique stores were popular locations and were established across the nation. Clubs interested in collecting were formed. Looking for an antique plate, platter, pitcher or bowl became a challenge. The collectors became experts learning which were the best manufacturers in the 1700s.

Many individuals specialized in a certain type of china such as just teacups and saucers. Having these collectors in the late 1800s may have helped save / preserve those items.

You might have had some family heirlooms handed down to you or another relative, yet those pieces might have started wit in another location with a different family line. That will be very difficult to establish if the china piece had been with the family originally or purchased as part of this fad of china collecting in the late 1800s. One common nominator was those collecting were trying to preserve in a simple way some of their family and America’s early heritage. So if your ancestors came as immigrants in the 1890s, it is unlikely they collected at that time vintage American chinaware. Of course, they could have brought to America family heirlooms from their homelands.

Photos: 1700s pair of Wedgwood; English creamware of 1700s and collection of teacups and saucers.

Related Blogs:

Family Heirlooms

Missing Heirlooms

Weird Places to Find Family Heirlooms

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