EMPIRE PORCELAIN CO. (LTD)
1896–1967 (Inc. 1963)
Manufacturer of bone china and earthenware at the Empire Works, Stoke Rd, Stoke-on-Trent
from about 1896.
I have not been able to identify the founders of the business, but following the
Second World War, the business was owned by Lazarus & Rosenfeld Ltd a European ceramics
group and founders of the Victoria Porcelain Factory at Altrouhlau, Bohemia (now
in the Czech Republic). The pottery was acquired in 1951 by H. Kaufmann Ltd, a Suffolk-based
manufacturer of lawnmowers, and by the Qualcast Group in 1958 as a result of its
takeover of the Kaufmann Group. Empire Porcelain Co. Ltd was incorporated (1963)
as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Qualcast Group. The business ceased to operate
in mid-1967 despite full order books, because it proved too difficult to effectively
modernise the Empire Works.
The Empire Porcelain Co Ltd was an important producer of domestic and ornamental
earthenware and china for the middle of the market. In the late-1920s and 1930s the
company produced interesting art deco-style tablewares and notable art deco ornamental
wares decorated using the drip glaze technique. Chinz-decorated wares were produced
in the 1940 and 1950s. China novelties and cottage models are other factory wares
that are now of interest to collectors.
The company used the ‘Empire Ware’ and ‘Shelton Ivory’ trade names and these appear
on most wares from the 1920s and 1930s in addition to the word ‘Empire’ or the full
company name. The Empire ornamental wares, in particular, are little known and under-appreciated.
© Mike Perry 2010