1911 White Star Line Chocolate Pot


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Chris Klausen

Guest
I recently purchased a White Star Line Silver Chocolate Pot that I was able to date to 1911 from the Elkington date mark and the White Star line design number Rd 579941. I was paging through the book Titanic Legacy of the World's Greatest Ocean Liner by Susan Wels and on page 57 saw a picture of an identical one pulled from the Titanic debris field! I would appreciate it if anyone could give me more information about it. Thanks, Chris
 

Bill Sauder

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Dec 19, 2000
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Chris,

I don't have the Wels book, but I think I know which pot you are talking about.

Can you upload a picture to be sure and what do you want to know about it?
 
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Chris Klausen

Guest
Thansk for your help Bill. I would like to know if I'm correct in thinking that it was designed for use on Titanic and Olympic. Also is there even the slimist chance that it was made for Titanic only and either never made it on the ship or was taked off at some point before she continued on to New York. Thanks! Chris
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Bill Sauder

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Dec 19, 2000
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Hi Chris,

I was a consultant by RMST and had several opportunities to go through the artifact collections. The picture you provided is very similar to RMST artifact No. 96-0021 (the artifact numbers are encoded: the 21st object recovered on the 1996 mission).

"Was it designed for use on Titanic and Olympic? Is there even the slimiest chance that it was made for Titanic only? Was taken off at some point before she continued on to New York"

Typically, White Star ordered its china and silver from generic catalogs in large lots that were shipped to a warehouse for distribution to its ships. While there was some latitude in customization (the trim on china, or finial design on hollow ware), it's hard to see that any service was specially designed for the Titanic in the "Normandie" sense of the word (a design from scratch for exclusive use on board).

Frankly, unless there was EXCELLENT evidence that it was taken from Titanic, chances are it's from the "silver pool" intended for general restocking.
 

Spencer Knarr

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Jun 16, 2004
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"...it's hard to see that any service was specially designed for the Titanic in the "Normandie" sense of the word (a design from scratch for exclusive use on board)."

With the notable exception of the cobalt and gold Spode 'OSNC' service of course...
 
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Chris Klausen

Guest
Thanks guys! I collect Empress of Ireland items exclusively and I'll probably wind up trading the pot as much as I like it. I had an offer of $800 which was way more than I expected but then again I can't imagine there are too many 1911 White Star Line Chocolate Pots around. What do you guys think as far as value goes. Thanks, Chris
 

Bill Sauder

Member
Dec 19, 2000
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Spencer:

I quite agree the Cobalt Blue pattern is a problem child. It certainly looks like the pattern was only used on the Titanic and no other W.S. ship, however, nothing precludes its use on shore restaurants etc.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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...it's hard to see that any service was specially designed for the Titanic in the "Normandie" sense of the word (a design from scratch for exclusive use on board).
In addition to the cobalt Copeland Spode service that Spencer mentioned, there is also the Royal Crown Derby china (pattern Rd. 575573) assumed to have been ordered specifically for Olympic's and Titanic's respective "a' la carte" restaurants. As far as we are aware of from the manufacturer, this exceptionally fine pattern was not ordered at any other time for any other ships. Various pieces of china in this pattern, enough to suggest a full dinner service, have been recovered from the wreck site.
 

Bill Sauder

Member
Dec 19, 2000
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Jason and Spencer: Do you have any evidence that this china was designed for, or used exclusively by, Titanic or other W.S. ships?

The patterns are certainly nice, but nothing better than what they stocked at Harrod's. I think the patterns are rare in steamship service, but that hardly suggests exclusive.

Have you actually gone to the UK and looked at the remaining ledgers, or are you repeating somebody else's opinion in the matter? If so, whose?

If the china delivery records are complete except for a page or two, then yes, it's valid to state "As far as we are aware of from the manufacturer, this exceptionally fine pattern was not ordered at any other time for any other ships." That would be a reasonable conclusion.

However, if, say 30% of those records are missing, it becomes harder to defend that statement.

I am making this point because I understand that there are substantial gaps in the manufacturer's records, and that there is ambiguity as to which pattern number refers to what design. Also, ex-subcontracting companies have a publicity motive to overstating the facts.
 
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Chris Klausen

Guest
Is there a way to research the design number on my pot Rd.579941. I know it's 1911 but what month and any other information that might help. Thanks, Chris
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Concerning the Royal Crown Derby Rd. 575573 OSNC china as found at the Titanic wreck site (the gold edged, green swag pattern on white), the manufacturer published a small advertisement at the time picturing this pattern along with a drawing of an "a' la carte" restaurant, remarkably similar to that featured on colored postcards of Olympic's restaurant, portraying it to be the Titanic. We all know this, it's nothing new. It's suggestive, but not proof, that this china was used in that particular room. Regardless, this china certainly WAS aboard the Titanic somewhere as the wreck has divulged.

This china was also presumably used on the Olympic according to Royal Crown Derby's order archives as provided to THS via Ed Kamuda. So no, it would seem that this china was not exclusive to the Titanic, but I think it likely did not circulate beyond the Olympic Class.

What I find interesting is that if this pattern of china was intended for use on other ships in any quantity, then where is it now? It is reasonable to assume that pieces would have surfaced on the market by now with a bit more frequency whether they were pieces pilfered by passengers, or otherwise. And as far as I am aware, only a minute handful of pieces (other than that housed by the Royal Crown Derby Museum) have actually surfaced.

For comparison, I have observed that the special gold service of china made by Tuscan for the Queen Mary's FC suites, a type prized by collectors and presumably made in smaller quantity then what would be needed to furnish a single "a' la carte" restaurant, is found more easily today than the OSNC R.C.D. pieces. Likewise, very early Cunard china of the "Basketweave" type (1860-70) are more available. Heck, even the cobalt Copeland Spode OSNC china is seen on occasion in auctions such as those conducted by Henry Aldridge & Son. However, while not non-existent, the OSNC R.C.D. china remains quite elusive.

None of this info is "proof" of anything, I just find it interesting to take into consideration. Additionally, I have seen no hard evidence to suggest that this china pattern was used on any other WSL (or alternative shipping company) ships aside from Olympic and Titanic.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Chris, the design of your EPNS pot was not exclusive to the White Star Line. I have seen one pot of identical design to this one bearing the emblem of the Red Star Line. Additionally, the sugar bowl and milk jug of the same design complimenting your pot are often found with either White Star Line or Red Star Line emblems. It is a neat item!
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Jon Brockman

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Oct 2, 2006
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Hi all,
Jason, hi how are you? the advert you refer to is pictured in Vol 2 of the ship magnificent, two phrases in it that catch the eye are:

"the china for the restaurant, which is specially manufactured by the Royal Crown Derby company"

And :

" a design of exquisite taste has been chosen for the china for the "Titanic".

it then goes on to describe the pattern you describe above.
Is this proof of exclusivity to Titanic? i dont think so,i but you may well be right about this pattern being just on the Olympics. i have only ever seen one item in the pattern, and ive seen alot of WSL china.
but i dont think we will ever get any kind of proof, i dont think it exists.

Chris,
Out of interest what is the date letter on your Choc Pot?
 
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Chris Klausen

Guest
Hi Jon. The date letter is Z which is the Elkington date letter for 1911. The Design registration number Rd 579941 indicates early 1911. The 1911 numbers ranged from 575817-594195. I e-mailed Russ Upholster and he feels the pot was designed for the Olympic. I have a picture of an identical pot that was brought up from the Titanic debris field. I wish it could talk maybe it was on Titanic and removed at some point but it's obviously more likely that it was on Olympic.
 
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Chris Klausen

Guest
Hi Jon. I bought it in an antique store in Victoria British Columbia. I'm going to talk to them on Monday and see if they have any more info.
 

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