Thursday, April 11, 2013

In today’s mail


I snagged this Tepco Western Traveler divided dinner plate for an opening bid of $10.50 on Ebay, fully expecting someone to outbid me. Imagine tepcoplate02 my surprise when I won the auction.

Tepco was based in the San Francisco Bay area and made a variety of Western themed dinnerware and restaurantware. The Western Traveler pattern is characterized by the stagecoach and Pony Express rider parade around the rim. This piece shows one of 120 Pony Express riders charging off on a fresh horse at one of the 180 Pony Express stations established along the route from St. Joseph, Mo. to San Francisco.

Tepco also made an Early California series commemorating significant events in California history. I have an example of the supreme Early California piece – an oval platter depicting a wagon train of pioneers in mountainous terrain with inscription “Donner Party 1846.”

The Italian immigrant who owned Tepco apparently didn’t realize the Donner Party, stranded in snow at what is now the Donner Pass in the Sierras, descended into cannibalism when his art department offered the design as a joke.

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