A la carte plates

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Jon Miller

Does anyone know what the CSN logo stood for on these plates and who made them?
It's actually OSNC, which stands for Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, which was the official name under which the White Star Line was originally registered. The red burgee logo and intertwined OSNC logo were used either separately or together...depending on occasion. It appears to me that the OSNC logo was the more formal of the two, and therefore used on special items.

Dear Parks,
You are correct. The OSNC logo was the more formal of the two and saw almost exclusive service in the A la Carte restaurant. In the A la Carte on Titanic, two specific patterns of china, each bearing the OSNC logo, were used. One was a cobalt blue banded service with gold accents and a gold OSNC logo. This pattern was registered and made by Spode Copelands china in the U.K. The other pattern used was a white pattern with brownish/ green tendrills of "pearls and vines" draping down towards the centre of the plate from the outer edges. This pattern was registered and made by Royal Crown Derby of the U.K. Unlike other generic White Star china items brokered by Stonier of Liverpool (White Star's china agents) these two were exclusive to Titanic alone and were specifically designed for use in the A la Carte. Hope this helps some. Kind regards, Steve Santini

Thanks for that. As an aside, I received your latest book yesterday. I've only scanned the pictures so far, but I have one quick question...do you know the history behind the uniform cap, the one with the repro officer's badge affixed to it?


Going back to your comment about the Spode plates...were they a complete service, or a limited number of plates for a special service? Why would two styles of plates be used in one restaurant?

According to Spode, 190 pieces in this particular cobalt blue design were ordered by the White Star Line via Stoniers of Liverpool. So, I imagine they form a complete service. RE:Why would they have two different types of china in the A la Carte? Probably to change table decor meal to meal??? I really don't know but two styles of china in the A la Carte is really nothing compared with the 4 styles used in the regular 1st class dinig room.
Cheers, Steve Santini
Hello, Steve:

I was intrigued by what you wrote about the cobalt blue pattern of china recovered from Titanic. I did a little figuring, and something doesn't make sense to me. Using round numbers, the Restaurant could seat 140 diners. If there were only 190 pieces of the cobalt blue pattern ordered by White Star, then each passenger would get 1.3571 pieces of china to eat from per meal. This is obviously not possible since each place setting probably consisted of (at an absolute minimum) a dinner plate, side plate, salad plate, soup bowl, and a cup and saucer. Not to mention larger serving pieces and miscellaneous items of table ware. Of course, one also would have to consider breakage.

The likelihood that two separate patterns of china were used in the Restaurant at different meals doesn't seem reasonable to me because ships just don't work that way. Also, because of the low numbers ordered of the cobalt blue pattern, the entire number of passengers in the Restaurant couldn't be served at the same time using this pattern.

It seems more likely to me that this pattern was used perhaps in the two largest suites (B-51-53-55 or B-52-54-56), or it may have been a special VIP or Captain's table service. Use in the Lounge, Verandah Cafes, or Reception Room is also probably out because full meals were not served there, and the presence of dinner plates in this pattern indicates to me that this was used as a meal service. Of course, this is all just assumption on my part, but there seem to be too few pieces to be used in a room of any significant size. If anyone else has any theories, I'd be interested to hear them.

I'm also very curious to know how you determined that four styles of china were used in the first-class Dining Room.


Eric Sauder
Dear Eric,
Long time no hear! I determined there were four patterns of china in the 1st class dining room based upon the patterns recovered by R.M.S. Titanic during the dives to the wreck. There were the following patterns found: Blue "finger" pattern, "Celtic" pattern, "Greek Key" pattern, and a style of china made by Crown Derby. Obviously, due to the fine nature of these pieces, I highly doubt they would have been used in any other area of the ship. I do find it interesting that you believe that the cobalt pattern may have been designated for use in certain 1st class suites. I do agree with you that due to the low numbers of this pattern which were made, it obviously saw very limited use. It is possible that this pattern saw use at special dinners where the Captain was a guest of passengers or when he would present a dinner for passengers. This possibility was raised by the Spode archivist I spoke to when I was researching the cobalt saucer we have in this pattern from Titanic. The attribution I give to this item as having been used in the A la Carte is based upon the opinions of other researchers who have previously identified this pattern as having been used in the A la Carte. However, given your theory, as well as the input of Spode, it does indeed seem possible that the cobalt pattern was in fact even more rare and special that even the china in the A la Carte.
Take care and keep in touch! Kind regards, Steve Santini.
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