Restaurant Ware
Specializing in Carr China

Turn of Century Henking Hotel and Café Plate - Springfield, MA

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This plate exemplifies so much of what I love about heavy commercial china. It is a flawed piece, but it still has nice heft and a silken smooth feel beneath my hands.

At first glance the glaze on the plate looks nice and crisp, but when you give it a second look in light, you’ll see that most of the clear overglaze is missing in the well. The transfer of the logo is clear and doesn’t seem to have wear, but rather than a shiny finish, it’s a matte surface. There is more glazing on the border, but it has glaze loss, too.

There’s also a 3/8” chip on the plate’s rim at about 4-5 o’clock, and it has removed just a bit of the leafy transfer with it.

What I know is that Gustave Charles (Gus C.) Henking opened the Henking Hotel and Café in Springfield, Mass., in 1899. And Greenwood Pottery made the china for the café, in a time frame no later than 1910, and it is likely that this plate came from Henking’s first and possibly only order.

By 1917 Henking was advertising his café as the “Best Place in New England to Eat” in that year’s Hotel Red Book. He touted a “Special Dinner Every Evening” and “High Class Cabaret and Music.”

Unfortunately, the high class cabaret didn’t last much longer. The last listing I could find for the hotel was in the 1918 Hotel Red Book, and it was not listed in the 1920 edition.

Henking’s clever logo is in the center of the plate: a rooster or cock – the henking, as it were – standing on a curved sheaf of wheat.

The plate is 7 ½” in diameter.

You might not be able to appreciate how cool and rare a plate this is for all its flaws, but it is truly one of my favorites. It has the similar design to the lunch and dairy restaurants of its era, and the only reason I’m not keeping it is because I have so many of the others. My reluctant loss is certainly your gain.

Turn of Century Henking Hotel and Café Plate - Springfield, MA
Turn of Century Henking Hotel and Café Plate - Springfield, MA
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