Rutherford B. Hayes Commemorative China
On occasion, online auction companies have offered a uniquely produced piece of White House china service from the Administration of Rutherford B. Hayes from 1877 to 1881.
Produced by Haviland & Co., the outdoor and nature scenes produced especially for the Hayes’ official service were and still are unmatched in the art of specialty dinnerware, especially that of the president of the United States.
What isn’t as well known is that the design itself caused such an uproar of approval that it was decided by the artist, Theodore Davis, to take out patents on his designs and allow commemorative sets to be made for sale to the general public.
So which is the official Hayes china set used at the White House and which were sold to the public?
According to “Official White House China: 1789 to the Present”, author Margaret Klapthor, each of the items made for public sale included a unique patent number and the patent date. The official White House china does not bear these patent numbers.
Each piece of the public plates are marked on the reverse as: “Design patented/August 10th, 1880/No. …..” the numbers being from 11932 to 11936, depending on the listed plate below:
11932 game course
11933 soup course
11934 dessert set
11935 fish course
11936 dinner plates
The White House official plates have the following markings on their reverse:
Fabrique par/haviland & Co./d/apres les dessins/DE/Theodore R. Davis” with the artist’s initials and the date of 1879.