A Little Johnson Bros. Pitcher

Hi everyone!

I found this cute little Johnson Bros. Pitcher a while back while at a Goodwill Store when we were out of town. Sadly, it has a major crack through it so, it won't be able to hold anything liquid but, I still just love it and see it being used in several different ways.

Now, if you are like me, Johnson Bros. are a favorite find in dishes when out thrifting! I have a decent size collection by J.B. I thought a little history lesson of Johnson Bros. might be fun.

Here is a little history of the Company:

Three grandsons of the reputable Meakin china dynasty (with the Johnson surname) bought a bankrupted tableware pot bank in 1882 and went out on their own. That was a brave move. Were the upstarts setting themselves up to fail, or would they rock the oldies with their dynamic success?

The Meakin family were long established Staffordshire tableware manufacturers of good repute. Meakins factory recorded history dates back at least to 1845 with James Meakin Snr setting up ownership of a Staffordshire works. Meakin subsequently went on to become associated in the 1960’s with Clarice Cliff ware when they merged with her Royal Staffordshire company (Wilkinsons).

‘Johnson Bros’ China, as the break-away grandsons became known, developed a durable earthenware dinnerware they called "White Granite". It was a lightweight, fine, and beautifully printed earthenware. Their reputation for quality but inexpensive dinnerware was only just beginning.

Building their tableware reputation further with the body they branded as "semi-porcelain" whiteware, Johnson bros had studiously invented a slip that had the delicate characteristics of fine china, but the durability of ironstone.

Johnson Brothers tableware continued to grow in popularity in the china dinnerware industry by expanding to the USA. One of the brothers, Robert, moved to the USA in 1896 to oversee the emerging mid-priced family tableware market.

Johnson Brothers china was becoming very popular in America being inexpensive and durable. Johnson Brothers china, like many English brands of china and pottery before them, were being imported, and widely distributed throughout the U.S. They had made it.

In the 1930’s the Grandsons’ Grandsons joined the business and the firm managed to stave off the effects of the Great Depression although the Second World War nearly halted production. Again they pulled through and various works in England, Canada, and Australia were purchased for decorating and firing.
In 1968 Johnson Brothers joined the Wedgwood Group along with Coalport, Adams, Midwinter, Crown Staffordshire, and Mason's. The company won the prestigious royal warrants of both Her Majesty the Queen and Her Majesty the Queen Mother in 1970.

The company still has the fourth generation of the Johnson family (Christopher) on the Main Board of the Wedgwood Company. Now that's what I call a dynasty of potters. What other china making family can beat that? A dynasty of potters going back at least to 1845, and possibly earlier as the families of Meakin, Ridgway and Johnson are all inter-related and their forebears were recorded to have been involved in pottery making from the earliest days of the industry.

Johnson Brothers earthenware is still manufactured in factories in England very near the original factory site and today they have an extensive and well marketed range

Source: Figurines-Sculpture.com

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  1. I love Johnson Bros dishes! The little pitcher is so cute even if it is cracked. Loved the history of the company.

  2. That pitcher is adorable, Diann! I just love transferware!

  3. I have a set for 8 of Johnson Brothers cream colored dishes. I always have my eye out for more. Thanks for the info about the company.

  4. Even cracked, it's very cute.

  5. What a great find. How can you beat the home of Thomas Jefferson cracked or not! Thanks so much for the history of Johnson. I love to find out china companies.

  6. The crack just adds character. Great find!!

  7. I have a few pieces of Johnson Bros. dishes that I have found at thrift stores and antique malls. I really appreciated all the wonderful history. I also have a couple of Meakin pieces, my favorite being a cream and sugar bowl I found while thrifting.
    Love the little pitcher you found.

  8. Love your little pitcher, major flaw or not, it is lovely. I have a few pieces of J.B., but not many.

  9. O, Diane..I am lovin this cute pitcher..I, too, love JB and Meakin. You can always find a small jar or bottle that will fit inside your pretty pitcher to hold beautiful roses from your garden...
    hugs, bj

  10. Diann, you find the best stuff! LOVE it. And I really enjoyed the history lesson- Johnson Bros. is a favrite of mine too
    xoxo Pattie

  11. Nice pitcher. I love the color and a little crack wouldn't bother me either.


  12. I was at an estate sale last week and found a stack of dishes. When I got closer I noticed they were brown transferware. I gasped!!! There was a complete set for 6 and the price was $39.00. Well I scooped them up. I am just elated. I will be featuring them tomorrow on VTT.
    Thanks for all the history.


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your ideas. If you ask a question, I will answer it here in a comment back to you. Please check back! Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day! Diann :)