Antique Lazarus Straus & Sons Vegetable Dish with Scallopped Edges and Purple Flowers
Uniting stories from around the globe including American business, European artistry, the Civil War, the Titanic, immigration, and family history, this one piece of antique dishware contains a multi-faceted pedigree that will delight any history lover...
To truly appreciate the multicultural beauty and complexity of this antique vegetable bowl, we'll share a story that not only spans centuries but also continents, cultures and corporate marvels.
First there is the information told in the physical marks. Stamped LS & S Carlsbad Austria, the mark on the bottom of this bowl stands for New York City china importers Lazarus Straus & Sons. Carlsbad refers to a city in Czechoslovakia where the dish was made at a decorating factory sometime around the 1870s. Austria appears underneath the stamp because Czechoslovakia was still under Austrian rule at this time, so all dishes carried both the Czechoslovakian origin of manufacture along with the Austrian government recognition. This dish was then exported to New York City where it was sold under the Lazarus Straus brand, LS&S. In addition to having their own brick and mortar storefront on Warren Street in NYC, LS&S also established the first independent dishware shop inside Macy's department store on 14th Street in 1874. Most likely this is the style and type of dishes that would have appeared in Macy's during that time.
The Straus family has an equally interesting backstory themselves. It all started with Lazurus Straus, a German immigrant who settled in Georgia in 1852 where he pursued work as a peddler and store merchant (there is a photo included here of him and his wife Sara*). Finding intrinsic success and personal value in such enterprises, he moved with his wife and children to New York City following the devastating after-effects of the Civil War.
In NYC, he opened an import business selling fine-quality glass and china, porcelain and crockware which he named L. Straus & Sons. Quickly, Lazurus' shop reputation as an importer of excellent distinction and good taste became well known among city shoppers. His children joined in the family business when they came of age, each lending their own skills, whether it be traveling abroad on the import side or handling domestic operations city-side.
All this promotion led to a plum position inside Macy's in 1874, where LS&S opened up shop in the store's basement that ran between 13th and 14th Street. As Macy's first dishware department, it promoted an exciting new store-within-a-store retail concept, adding convenience for Macy's shoppers and quickly became a profitable venture for both the store and the Straus family. The business relationship between the two entities flourished and eventually, Lazurus' son Isidor became a partner in R.H. Macy and then sole owner of Macy's. Tragically, Isidor died during the sinking of the Titantic in 1912. Isidor's brother, Nathan, managed L.Strauss & Sons until 1924 when it was renamed Nathan Straus & Company.
In addition to their business success, the Straus family left an indelible mark on America. Multiple members of the Straus family had active influential careers in public service and participated in education awareness and philanthropic endeavors for the betterment of children and the environment. This beautiful bowl not only represents gorgeous European craftsmanship but also the extraordinary family behind it and their incredible business adventure as well as the early days of retail innovation.
- Floral swags containing hand-painted pink and purple wax flowers and trailing green leaves
- Marked on bottom with LS& Sons logo along with handwritten numbers (mostly likely referencing an artist's code and pattern number) along with an imprinted mark containing the numbers 181
- Scalloped body with embossed details around the rim
- Dates between 1873-1924
- Colors include pale pink, lavender, plum, celery green, avocado green and bright white
Contains no cracks or crazing. Very light staining on bottom of bowl. There are two chips, both appear on the underside of the bowl. The first is a time-worn chip, now smooth to the touch on the bottom of the dish. The second chip is a newer flaw that is located on the underside of the rim. It measures about a .5" inches in length. Both chips are on the same side of the dish. Please see photos.
This bowl measures 12" inches (length) x 9.25" inches (width) x 3" inches (height).
Originally, this bowl was designed to serve vegetables, but nowadays it can be used for all sorts of purposes like a table centerpiece, fruit basket, display piece, wedding favor basket, serving dish, etc etc, etc.
*Straus portait photo courtesy of Macy's: The Store, The Star, The Story by Robert Grippo