Friday 25 September 2020

Golden Wheat

Down the Rabbit 'ole of Mem from a piece in Flippism Is The Key.

Woot! When I was doing field work in New England in the early 1980s, my boss and I started doing some harmless moonlighting in thrift stores and junk-shops. Heck, if you're going past an emporium which you'll likely never pass again, what harm to make a focused foray? As we were also hooked on the diner ethic [meat-loaf mmmm good], I started collecting droppable, super-robust Buffalo diner china for less than a buck-a-piece. My boss who'd gotten married in 1963 started to beef up his collection of Golden Wheat [looks like] which had been distributed free in Duz washing powder. I left the country in 1983 with a modest misc collection of cups and dishes. The Boss went a bit bonkers on Golden Wheat; every time I'd go back to visit there'd be another box of saucers and gravy boats. Christmas presents from his daughters was _sorted_ for the next decade. Easy come, easy go; job lots of Golden Wheat sell at about 25c a piece.

The Buffalo china was often in a neutral beige colour which was less likely to show washing-up errors and, as I say, designed to fall on a marble counter top and bounce. The older lines had a blobby "buffalo" embossed on the base, replaced later by a printed label under the glaze. Said to be worth money. but not the purely functional bowls, mugs and plates I picked up [unbroken!] for about 25c a piece in the 1980s.

When The Beloved got in on the yard-sales and china jag, she had far better taste than either me of NBT and went for Fiesta Ware a super-bright solid colour Art Deco line of dinner-ware in orange-red; cobalt blue; lime green; yolk yellow; old ivory; robin's egg blue; rose; grey; forest green; chartreuse; John Deere green. The peculiar thing about the orange-red glaze was that it had significant quantities of uranium oxide that would fire up a Geiger counter. Their entire stocks of that material were confiscated by the Feds in 1943 for the war effort. Perhaps my greatest ever dumpster diving coup was finding two Fiesta-ware tumblers in a cardboard box of old china cleaned out at tenant-change by the property company which ran the apartment complex which we inhabited 1981-1983. Depending on the colour, age, etc. these are "worth" $10-$50 each. We picked up a bunch of bowls and plates as 'seconds' after we came back to Ireland in the 1990s and Fiesta-ware underwent a rival. I am happy to say that we use a multi-coloured selection as our everyday dinner ware. The red-orange plate keeps food warmer longer - so that's a win!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link!
    We’ve got a few Fiesta Ware platters that we still use. Sadly, the other Fiesta ware pieces we had didn’t survive the vicissitudes of child-rearing.