Triangular art deco dinnerware was ahead of its time.
For years, people took it for granted that dinner plates were round. But in 1934, noted ceramics designer Don Schreckengost and the Salem China Company turned that notion on end with the introduction of Tricorne dinnerware.
As the name suggests, the 9-inch dinner plates in this art deco ceramic line were three-sided, and cup handles were sharply angular, as shown in these three readers’ photos. Tricorne’s design was ahead of its time, and the line had other problems as well. Low porosity made plates susceptible to crazing—those inconsistent patches of tiny hairline cracks or webbing that result when body and glaze contract at different rates. If the glaze was pierced, the patches darkened. And the decal treatments that formed the different patterns in the Tricorne line often washed off.
Still, new patterns kept Tricorne in production for several years. Salem made luncheon and buffet sets, plus a 24-piece bridge set with nut cups that sold for $10.70. As part of its marketing strategy, Salem used a wide variety of marks, sometimes mixing backstamps or including none at all. Later Tricorne designs were known as “Streamline.”
Interestingly, the company—which produced white granite and semi-porcelain tableware in Salem, Ohio from 1898 to 1967—was known more for its traditionally styled pieces than for these more modern-looking ones.
In perfect condition, Tricorne dinnerware pieces in these three patterns would be worth about $6 per plate (any size); $4 per bowl (any size); $7 per cup and saucer set; and $10 for a sugar bowl or creamer.
—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)