Lenox (company)

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Lenox sells tabletop, giftware and collectible products sold under the Lenox, Dansk and Gorham brands. The company sells its products through wholesale customers who operate gift, specialty and department store locations throughout the United States, Canada and other countries, as well as through company-operated retail stores and direct-to-consumer channels. Lenox remains the only major manufacturer of bone china based in the United States.[1]

Contents

History

Lenox was founded in 1889 by Walter Scott Lenox as Lenox's Ceramic Art Company, Trenton, New Jersey. From the start it was organized as an art studio and not as a factory. It did not have full lines of ceramics but rather one-of-a-kind artwares. The company at first had just eighteen employees. Their products were carried in shops specializing in high-quality pottery. Lenox's products were first displayed at The Smithsonian Institution in 1897.[1]

Lenox's products became popular in the early 20th century when separate dining rooms and hostess parties became the new trend. Lenox then started making custom-designed, elaborately decorated dining plates. He faced European competition but commissioned famous American artists such as William Morley to decorate his plates. He gained success at this and eventually turned his attention to complete sets of dinnerware. In 1906 he changed his firm's name from the Ceramic Art Company to Lenox Incorporated to show the widing scope of his products.[1]

Two of the first patterns Lenox produced were introduced in 1917, the Ming and Mandarin, which were eventually manufactured for over fifty years. Lenox products also became well known in the US thanks to Frank Graham Holmes, chief designer from 1905 to 1954, who won several artistic awards such as the 1927 Craftsmanship Medal of the American Institute of Architects and the 1943 silver medal of the American Designers Institute. Lenox pieces were chosen for display in 1928 by the National Museum of Ceramics in Sèvres, France - the only American porcelain to receive this honour.[2]

In the 1950s Lenox offered five-piece complete place settings, three-piece-buffet/place settings and individual tableware pieces. Its products was now within reach of the average US family. Lenox was the first company to develop a bridal registry.[3]

In 1983, Lenox was acquired by Brown-Forman Corporation.[3] Brown-Forman acquired Dansk International Designs and its Gorham Manufacturing Company division in 1991, which were incorporated as part of Lenox.

American by Design

On March 16, 2009, a group of investors led by Clarion Capital Partners LLC purchased the assets of Lenox and renamed the company Lenox Corporation. A key strategy of the new Lenox is focused on the American heritage of the Lenox brand. Lenox continues some manufacture of bone china dinnerware in its plant in Kinston, North Carolina, built in 1989. The 218,000-square-foot (20,300 m2) plant is situated on 40 acres (160,000 m2). Its manufacturing capabilities include enamel dot, etch, color and microwave metals. It was also this plant that manufactured the Bush White House bone china. The company markets its products under the Lenox, Dansk and Gorham brands.

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