My Vintage Russel Wright American Modern Plate

by Lynne on March 7, 2014

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Russell Wright Plate 1I was paging through the recent Martha Stewart magazine and on the very last page was an article about the Bauer Pottery Company and their relaunch of the Russel Wright American Modern line of pottery, which in the mid-20th century was the most popular dinnerware in the U.S. I read the short article and after looking at the photo, I realized that the shape of the plates looked really, really familiar. I went to the stack of my prop plates and looked on the bottom of the one I suspected and, lo and behold! It was a Russel Wright!!

Russell Wright Plate 2

Russel Wright (1904 – 1976) was the innovative creator of inexpensive, mass produced dinnerware, furniture, appliances and textiles. According to his website, he and his wife invented “lifestyle marketing centered on compelling persona, paving the way for lifestyle interpreters such as Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren.” They wrote a best-selling book in 1950, “Guide to Easier Living,” championing informal living and a departure from convention. He didn’t have the internet, but he got his ideas out there in exhibitions, books, articles, advertisements, radio shows and showrooms in department stores. His signature became a recognizable trademark.

Bauer Pottery, which had started in 1885 and shuttered in the 1960’s, was relaunched in 1998 by Janek Boniecki. He was an avid collector of vintage Bauer, and because the original molds had been lost, recreated the line using reverse engineering with molds made from existing pieces. He recently added the Russel Wright Collection which is sold through Bauer.

I acquired my vintage Russel Wright and Bauer plates a number of years ago at Stars Antique Market in Hermosa Beach. This is a great little antique store, where I have also found wonderful linens, silverware, and a number of other vintage plates. If you live in the Los Angeles area, this is the place to find lots of photo props.

When I looked through my blog posts, I realized how perfect my Russel Wright plate is for food photography. It’s relatively small, has a low lip, and a neutral color that doesn’t fight with the color of the food. Check these out:

Parmesan Panko Zucchini Fries 1

Parmesan Panko Zucchini Fries


Shrimp Veracruz with Green Olives, Currents & Capers and Tortillas with Pumpkin Seed Tomatillo Sauce 2

Shrimp Veracruz with Green Olives & Capers and Tortillas Robed in Pumpkin Seed Tomatillo Sauce


Baked Chicken with Soubise Sauce 3

Baked Chicken with Sauce Soubise


Hardboiled Egg with Bechemel Sauce 4

Hard-Cooked Eggs on Toast with Béchamel Sauce


Happy Pancakes 5

Vietnamese Happy Pancakes with a Killer Dipping Sauce


Huevos Rancheros 6

Huevos Rancheros


Bauer Pottery Plate 1

Spinach Crepe Spirals with Cream cheese, Pine Nuts, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Lemon Zest


Spiral Spinach Crepe 3

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Adri March 8, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Well, you’ve got a real treasure. What a fun discovery. I adore Russell Wright, and also Bauer pottery. I have fun with the old pieces I have, glasses and dishware by Russell Wright and some green mixing bowls from Bauer pottery. I love hearing that they are coming back. Just like the old song says”Everything old is new again.”

These classic designs have withstood the test of time. Enjoy them. You are so right about how well the Russell Wright plate works for your food photography. You’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that one! Well done!

Coco in the Kitchen March 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Love it! I used to go rummaging around the flea market @ PCC with my parents, but I don’t have much more storage space.
Love this sort of treasured find and especially the fact that you use it, not just let it collect dust in a china cabinet. xo

Lentil Breakdown March 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

Wow, you would make them proud with your delicious dishes on that dish!

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