This PDF file can be used to quickly find the invoice reference to most specially named pieces of pottery made by Hycroft China Limited from 1955 to 1984, the period of time covered by the invoices stored in Hycroft’s Business Records, Box Numbers 1 to 29. Generally, the order of this file is alphabetical based either on the specific markings mentioned in the invoice or by the name of the business or person placing the order; however, this does not necessarily mean that all orders for a given named piece are found together. For example, many of the Ranch sets bearing the brand of a specific person were first placed by an agent such as Anne Klaiber or a business such as Hoyt’s Hardware and would therefore be listed under their name. Subsequent orders though, such as ones seeking replacements may have been placed directly by the farmer/rancher and would, in that instance, be placed under their names.
In order to obtain the listing for a piece in your collection, examine your item to record the specific wording of the naming or advertising. Pick the most unusual word that you can find on the piece and type that word into your search command. For example, if your piece was a coffee mug bearing the logo of “The Investors Group” and the wording “COMPLIMENTS OF BILL McLENNAN”, pick a word like McLENNAN and do your find on that name. There is little point in typing in general words such as COMPLIMENTS as you may well get a hundred entries or more to look at. The unusual words will limit your choices and probably lead to finding the record you are looking for in the quickest possible time. It is best to type in single words if possible as the entries in this file reflect the wording as given on the invoice (with a / indicating the separate lines of text) and these entries often do not agree with the actual wording found on the piece. Also, the invoices are often only a partial or an abbreviated listing of the actual wording found on a piece, so if you do not find any entries under your search word try some of the other keywords found on your piece. And, when you do get a hit for your search word, do not stop at the first entry, but continue to search the whole document as the piece could be listed under several different entries.
The only time that you really need to place your search in quotation marks is when you are looking for brands. For example, if the brand found on the plate you are searching for was PE search for it as “PE” or you will get hundreds of hits as your computer stops on every word with “pe” in it. If you do not find it using quotation marks try the regular way as not all brands were placed in quotations. For instance the brands JD or B6 may not have been placed in quotes as they are not combinations of letters that you would normally find. If the brands are not letters of the alphabet, try searching under the best descriptive words that you can find for the brand. Perhaps it looks like a thistle, heart or anchor and, if so, try searching under those words. If it is a lazy letter, a flying letter or an upside-down letter, the search can be a lot harder and all I can suggest is that you try the specific letter or letters in quotations or perhaps only with a beginning or ending quotation mark rather than full quotation marks.
You will notice that I have used “0000” zeros to mark the start of the file, the end of the file (followed by a few number entries), and then the last section of miscellaneous notes. Quadruple letters from AAAA are used to show the start of that named section right through to the Zs. This may be useful to quickly take you to a specific section where you only have initials on your collection piece or where the name you have does not show up. I could well have made a spelling error and to find that you may have to read through the whole section.
You can also use this file to look up entries for which you have the specific invoice number, the name of the person placing the order or even the date of the order. The invoice numbers were consistently placed in brackets such as (7892) so conduct your search for the number within its brackets and do not stop at the first entry as the same number may have been used 3 or 4 times over the years, or the order may even have been listed in several different places. When searching for names, as a rule, look under the last name only as the first name may only be listed as an initial or perhaps even not at all. Dates as generally listed by day, the month and then the year. All months with 6 or fewer letters in their name are given in full, others are abbreviated as Jan., Feb., Sept., Oct., Nov. or Dec.
There are other ways that this file can be used as well. You might use it to search for items that are not definitely known to have been made. For example, you might want to know if your father had ordered any pieces for his store; simply try searching under both his name and the name of the store. Another search you might want to make, for example, is to find all the pieces relating to the town of Brooks or Enchant. Simply type in the keywords once again and see what comes up; but, remember searches of this nature could get a lot of hits as it will include not only the named pieces but also all the people living in that town that placed orders over the years.
While this file is as complete as possible using the invoice records, it is by no means exhaustive. Unfortunately, many of the invoice entries simply indicated that named ware was made and did not give the specific name, brand or what have you. In time most of these entries could be fleshed out when other Hycroft records such as the Accounts Receivable Files are examined.
I hope you find this file fun to use as it will tell you what items cost, how many were made, the date of manufacture, etc. It is this file that I used to find the story of the Buffalo Bill Cody plates, not to mention the Nancy Reagan teapot trivet that will be shared with you later. Happy hunting!
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