Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to John Adams - 1st White House Resident

Today, in 1735, John Adams was born in Massachusetts. The first president to live in the building that would become The White House, Adams and his wife, Abigail, brought with them two sets of china. The blue cornflower design depicted here was likely the first china used for formal dinners at the Exectuive Mansion. Although we have to admit, there could have only been a handful of formal dinners in the short few months the Adams occupied the house before giving way to our third president, Thomas Jefferson.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why the James Madison china is so rare

You may not have ever given it much thought, but the of all the Presidential chinas, one of the rarest is that of President James Madison. On August 24th of 1814, the British burned much of Washington, including The Executive Mansion with nearly all of its furnishings. The engraving below is from the Library of Congress and depicts the Capitol City in flames.                                                        
With all this pillaging and burning, most of the Madison china was lost. So, while all Presidential china is rare and valuable....perhaps one of the most rare is that of our 4th President, James Madison.
Another interesting fact is that when the British were done with their carnage on Washington, they headed to do similar destruction in the city of Baltimore.
However, the folks at Fort McHenry would have none of that and from that great defense of the Baltimore harbor came our national anthem, written by Frederick, Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key as he stood on the decks of a British ship near what is now the the Francis Scott Key bridge. If you ever pass through that area, look for the signs highlighting the Battle of North Point which was one of the land defenses for Baltimore.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here's a great 'insider' look at the Vice President's residence at The Naval Observatory with pictures through the years, from  

Occasionally, a Vice Presidential adminstration will have special china created and here is the design Woodmere created for Vice President Quayle. Look s a lot like the Jackson china, don't you think?



We were asked again today...."Where do you make your products?" People seem surprised that our production is located in western Pennsylvania. I always tell people "we have real people....making real products" because it always is such a surprise to everyone.

Made here in America. In Pennsylvania. In New Castle.
(now, isn't that a nice change)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Holiday party planning....

It is such a pretty October day today in Washington, we're wondering what holiday parties are being planned? And, ...which china will get used for each event?

Any favorites you would like to see used?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

White House Everyday China

A shadow is cast across a place setting in President Barack Obama's private dining room on Oct. 13, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza; from

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Heritage of America.....

....Preserved in Porcelain.

That's a line we use a lot, because we are proud of what we do here at Woodmere. The products we produce here in our small studio facility in western Pennsylvania really represent the best of America. They are really representatives of our heritage as our country took shape from the late 1700's through the age of Lincoln and on into the 20th century. Whether it is our White House Collection of presidential china reproductions, our American Treasures Collection, or our Great Seal of America items....all these pieces represent the fabric of our nation's strength throughout the years. Each design....each piece tells a story of American pride and craftsmanship.

And while I am amazed at the many ways that people tell us they use our products, I am always humbled and proud of the fact that people from all parts of our country choose our items for their homes and as gifts for the special people in their lives. Our employees take great pride in the production of our various collections and we certainly appreciate the strong support we receive from you, our customers. Despite the current tough times, with your continued support,we hope to be bringing you our American-made products for many years into the future.

So, again, I thank you and, as always, appreciate your thoughts and comments.

David Turner

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

China from the Clinton Administration

Clinton china......

....whether you like the President or not - the china from his administration is impressive! Wow!

Friday, October 16, 2009

White House Chef Roland Mesnier Returns to Mount Vernon

Former White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier returns to Mount Vernon this November to re-create his famous gingerbread edition of the famed home of George Washington. If you have never seen this or met Chef have missed a rare treat!

Be sure to check the Mount Vernon we site for exact dates, but this will be a highlight of the holiday season to be sure and is a 'must see'. Here's a picture of Roland's work from last year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dishwasher Safe?

We were asked again recently whether our products are dishwasher safe. I appreciate when people ask this as it gives us a chance to set the record straight.

While - to be totally safe - we recommend hand washing especially for our designs and decorations that have precious metals such as gold or platinum in them, an occasional run through a low temp household dishwasher shouldn't be too much of a problem. It is not something we recommend with any frequency. With today's dishwashers, it is mostly the heat from the drying cycle and the harsh chemicals in the detergents that cause problems.

So, if you or someone you know accidently runs your new George Washington dinner plates through the dishwasher once....don't panic. It should be ok. But, next time, get them to wash them by hand if you can.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New President....

We're in the beginnings of working on reproducing another Presidential design and deciding whcih one to do and how it is best researched is always a problem. We had hoped to have it ready for this Fall, but obviously, that won't happen. These projects ALWAYS take more than you anticipate.

But, hopefully, we'll be back with more news very soon. Meanwhile, you may look at some of our new American Maxims trays. We've recently added six new Here's the link to our website:

Friday, October 9, 2009

In 1869, Ulysses S. Grant Annouces....

One hundred and forty years ago today, President Ulysses S. Grant announced to America that former President Franklin Pierce had died. Both the Grant china (above,on the left) and the Pierce china (teapot on the right) are among our favorites. As a matter of fact, I think the Pierce china design would be popular today.

It may one of the few presidential china designs that could be successful without having the White House pedigree.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pat Nixon: Friend to White House China Room

While there was no Nixon White House china design, First Lady Pat Nixon was certainly a friend of chinas of the past - and future - White House occupants. Her little-heralded update of the White House China Room in 1975 with much assistance from curator Clement Conger is profiled in this article linked below:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

President Carter Fishing Lodge China

With the re-opening of the Carter Museum in Atlanta, I am reminded of a project Woodmere did espressly for President Carter, with his monogram "JEC" in the center. While not exactly White House China, here's a photo of the china we created for President Carter's fishing lodge with fishing flies around the rim and,in the center, his monogram "JEC". What a great design and perfect for the former President and First Lady.

It's great when a design fits so well with both the place and the people!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

President's "Other" China" Washington and Lincoln

Speaking of hot presidents..........
When most people think of china associated with Presidents Washington or Lincoln, they typically think of the two famous china designs shown in the heading of this issue of our newsletter. While each of the two designs shown above are well-known and have intriguing histories, there are also other china patterns which were used by our two most famous presidents.

In the case of Washington, one of the most important chinas was the Sevres china he used for state dinners and for entertaining foreign dignitaries. This simple, gold banded china was purchased in February of 1790 from Comte de Mustier, along with other household furnishings. Washington's diary entry for Feb 3rd of that year stated he "fixed on some furniture of the Ministers," which included mirrors, sideboards, and chairs as well as a large service of white Sevres porcelain with gold dentate -dent-de-loup - borders. Washington later added pieces which his secretary, Tobias Lear, secured from other notable French factories "at a substantial discount" from what the Sevres factory wanted to charge. On some of these additional purchases, Washington added his monogram as shown in the picture.

In the case of Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln's penchant for spending was rather well-known and apparently she decided that she and the President needed new china for his recent election to a second term. Perhaps tired of the bad publicity she received with the purchase of the Selforino purple bordered china (commonly known as "the Lincoln china"), she decided on the second, buff-colored border pattern purchased from the Philadelphia firm of James K. Kerr, whose establishment was known as "China Hall". This service was made up of 511 pieces which arrived on February 13, 1865. An additional 46 pieces arrived several weeks later. Hardly had this china been put into use when President Lincoln was assassinated in April of that year. This service is believed to be of French manufacture, but the actual manufacturer is unknown as the original pieces are unmarked, except for common symbols and numerals that were used on various porcelains made during that time.

For more information on Woodmere's Washington State China, please click on this link:

For more information on Woodmere's Lincoln Second Term China, please click on this link:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lincoln is HOT....

At least according to the folks at Yale......

The other day in the Yale Daily news, there was an article talking about how the 200th anniversary of our Civil War president kicked off what appears to be - at least for now - an unquenchable thirst for all things Lincoln. Of course, a certain President Obama being from Illinois didn't hurt.

Anyway, we like Lincoln, too. Here's a link to the Yale article:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Speaking of Presidential Libraries in the news....

The Richard Nixon Library in California seems to be upsetting folks. As the federal museum with the most statutes of communists leaders, it has drawn the attention of anti-communists. Open since 1990, the musuem was initially privately funded and now is being operated by the National Archives.

Seems as though some people don't think we should show statues of some of the world leaders at the time that President Nixon was president and exchanged views with. While we can understand the views of those who strongly reject the political thinking and actions of these communist leaders, its hard to understand we should ignore that they existed during Nixon's presidency, especially when you consider President Nixon's diplomatic handling of those relationships. Here's a link to an Los Angeles Times article describing the situation:,0,6352524.story

Over the years, the Nixon Library has done a great job at exhibiting White House China and normally has a number of pieces on hand, along with many of the various diplomatic gifts that the President and Mrs. Nixon received. We love working with all the Presidential libraries and, certainly the Nixon Library is one of our favorites!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

President Jimmy Carter Museum Re-Opens Today

THE CARTER PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM WILL RE-OPEN WITH A GALA CELEBRATION ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1st at 10:30am. - The ceremony will be on the front lawn of the Carter Presidential Library and is free and open to the public. Following the 45 minute ceremony and ribbon-cutting the all new Carter Presidential Museum, will be open to the public at no charge (on October 1st in honor of President Carter's 85th Birthday). Public Parking is off of North Avenue, Just South of City Hall East. There will be continuous free shuttle service to and from the Carter Presidential Library (just a few minutes away). The parking is free and there will be security there throughout the day.
Don't miss this opportunity to see and hear President and Mrs. Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, the Reverend Joseph Lowery, Museum Director Jay Hakes, Acting U.S. Archivist Adrienne Thomas, and others as we celebrate the All New Carter Presidential Museum. If unavailable to attend, please watch the gala reopening via live webcast.