Sunburst’s Products - The Medicine Hat Plant

Sunburst’s first products included crocks, low butter crocks, bean pots, casseroles and mixing bowls, along with the birch-bark barbecue set of dishes that McArthur had designed when he was with Alberta Potteries. Crocks included the 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10-gallon sizes (15, 20, 30 and 40 were added later); low butter crocks came in 3 and 5-pound sizes; bean pots were available in 1, 2, 3 and 4-quart sizes; lug-handled casseroles came in at least four diameters, 5, 7, 8, and 11-inch; and mixing bowls included 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13-inch diameter ones. Sunburst’s mixing bowls with a basket-weave bottom were advertised as “Flecktone” coloured sets due to the numerous dark speckles scattered evenly throughout the ivory (white), yellow or blue glaze. The casseroles included “Flecktone” and “Snowtone” colours as well as solid and flowing ones. The “Snowtone” finish was aptly named as it had a white flowing glaze (snow) at the top. Bean pots, too, were decorated this way, but they also could be acquired in the reddish-brown “Homesteader” design. One bean pot was quite different in having advertising impressed into its lid; it was dated 1963 and stamped “Top Hat Convention-Medicine Hat.”

According to a Sunburst catalogue, the only other items produced in the Medicine Hat plant were an onion soup bowl and a pudding bowl. I suspect that the handled chili bowl and a planter were also made in the “Hat” but the catalogue does not mention them. The chili bowl is found in two varieties—one with rounded sides while the other is straight. Similarly, two variations of the onion soup bowl are found—one with small lug handles and the other with longer more slender, decorative handles.

The catalogue does not mention the birch-bark barbecue set, but it too must have been made in the early years while McArthur was still at the plant. Sunburst’s barbecue set was effectively the same as the original design. The only change appears in the handle of the cup, where the open twig-like one was replaced by a closed D-shaped handle to make it sturdier.

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