Dinnerware Patterns of the 1950s

Dinnerware patterns from the 1950s run the gamut from nature patterns to Space Age designs. During the '50s and '60s, gas stations gave away sets of china and glassware when you filled up your gas tank; these items have now become hot collectibles. Also during this time, dishes made from the chemical melamine, manufactured under a proprietary name, became the dishware of choice in homes with children, as the plates -- a form of hardened plastic -- never broke.

Dinnerware on table at a diner
Dinnerware on table at a diner (Image: Joan Kimball/iStock/Getty Images)

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Designs Inspired by Nature

Nature has inspired many dinnerware patterns throughout the centuries, but in the 1950s, you could find a preponderance of simple designs that included graceful plant cuttings, simple floral designs, autumn themes or a single tulip. Designers named their designs for what they represented, such as: French Tulip Rose, Autumn Leaves, Blue Tulip, Garden Bouquet and Underlake.

Teacups with floral pattern
Teacups with floral pattern (Image: altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Barn and Farm Themes

Many of the 1950s dinnerware manufacturers plucked themes right from the farm or barnyard. You can find dinnerware imprinted with the Red Rooster pattern, Golden Wheat or cows and ducks. Harvested wheat was used in a variety of farm-inspired patterns along with turkeys, geese, sheep and pigs. Some German-made dinnerware featured luscious ripe fruit themes that included peaches, pears, apples and plums.

Rooster theme on ceramic mug
Rooster theme on ceramic mug (Image: Yury Maryunin/Hemera/Getty Images)

The Atomic Age

In the 1950s after World War II, thoughts turned toward rockets and outer space. With the Space Age in its infancy, this translated to dinnerware in the form of outer space designs. Noted designer George J. James created the Starburst pattern, which featured images that included a line-drawn star over a burst of blue or yellow. Some of these designs were also translated to crystal and flatware to create a coordinated dinnerware place setting.

A 1950s-style painting of a rocket ship flying past Earth
A 1950s-style painting of a rocket ship flying past Earth (Image: PaulFleet/iStock/Getty Images)

Pastel Rainbow of Colors

Many of the dinnerware from the 1950s, brand name and otherwise, often did not include any pattern at all. These plates came in pastel shades of blue, yellow and green or muted reds, peach, turquoise, purple and brown. Many of the melamine plates were often in solid colors, but some of these also contained patterns depicting flowers or nature-inspired themes.

Yellow pastel teacup
Yellow pastel teacup (Image: Stacey McRae/iStock/Getty Images)


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