The Railroad Commissary


Welcome to The Railroad Commissary's open-stock "railroad china" advisory page.

click here to visit the full catalog




Many railroads used china that was not made specifically for their use.  Such china is called "open-stock" and could be ordered by anyone that would buy it hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, domitories, mess halls, etc.  Most commercial china is unmarked open-stock china.  It was not at all uncommon for railroad dining cars to employ open-stock china.  Indeed, in the full scope of railroad dining car china history, most of the china used in dining cars was probably unmarked open-stock china. In the end though, most of this open-stock china is really of very little interest to most railroad dining car china collectors - mostly because who can say if any given piece in a collection ever served on a railroad - most likely such pieces never came close to any railroad.  Just because a railroad ordered an open-stock pattern once, like Rio Grande once ordering Blue Adam in the mid-1930's, for instance, surely doesn't mean that the piece found at a thrift store in Georgia was ever within 300 miles of the Rio Grande.  Pieces of Blue Adam china that actually served on the Rio Grande are probably ridiculously rare, yet to hear shady sellers, it is one of the most common patterns of "railroad china". The truth is, it was just a common pattern for use in restaurants.  Besides the issues of authenticity, open-stock patterns are generally un-interesting and very common.  For these reasons, the Railroad Commissary does not stock unmarked, open-stock china patterns.  If we should inadvertantly purchase such china (ever only as part of a larger collection), we would list it in our "Bargain Basement".

The following are; 1) a list of completely un-marked, open-stock patterns; and 2) a list of stock patterns, that were sometimes marked for railroads.  In this latter case, we only stock the railroad marked version (except for maybe in the Bargain Basement).  Please note that there are many others than those listed, but this pretty well covers those patterns that are often seen for sale by less scrupulous dealers as "railroad china".   Of course, there is nothing at all wrong with collecting these patterns, anybody can collect whatever they please, but just be warned that such pieces don't nearly have the same value as marked railroad china, or the proprietary railroad patterns, and should be priced accordingly.

List of unmarked, open-stock china used by railroads (and anybody else)
"Bangor & Aroostook"        Aroostook
"C&O"        Greenbrier  (actually hotel china)
"Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee"        Fontenelle
"CNW"        Depot Ornaments
"GB&W"        Roemer      
(the business car couldn't have held as much of this stuff as is seen for sale)
"KCS"        Roxbury
"MKT"        Katy Ornaments
"MKT"        Sloan
"N&W"        Dogwood  (actually hotel china)
"Rio Grande"        Blue Adam
"Rock Island"        Cardinal      
(still in production)
"SLSF"        Blue Denmark
"SLSF"        Cardinal      
(still in production)
"SP&S"        American
"SP&S"        Red Leaves
"UP"        Circus Animals
"Wabash"        Highland
"Wabash"        Meridale


List of open-stock china patterns that were given custom markings for railroad use
       (remember, no RR markings usually means not authentic dining car china)
"Atlantic & West Point"        Montgomery
"Boston & Albany"        Berkshire
"B&O"        Derby
"B&O"        Royal Blue
"B&O"        Sweetbrier
"C&O"        Charlottesville
"C&O"        Silhoette
"C&O"        Parliament / "Staffordshire"
"CB&Q"        Spider Mums
"CB&Q"        Violets & Daisies
"CB&Q"        Violets Spray
"D&H"        Canterbury
"DL&W"        St. Albans
"FEC"        Mistic
"FEC"        Seahorse
"FEC"        St. John's
"GN"        Empire
"GN"        Glacier
"GN"        "Rocky"      
(pieces w/o Rocky the goat recently produced)
"LV"        Asa Packer
"Milwaukee"        Galatea
"Milwaukee"        La Crosse
"Milwaukee"        Red Willow
"MP"        St. Albans
"NP"        Garnet
"NYC"        Depew
"NYC"        Hyde Park
"NYC"        Hudson
"NYC"        Vanderbilt
"NYNH&H"        Indian Tree
"NYNH&H"        Platinum Blue
"P&LE"        Sweetbrier
"PRR"        Philadelphia
"Pullman"        Indian Tree
"Santa Fe"        Black Chain
"Santa Fe"        California Poppy      
(still being made as late as of 2005!)
"Seaboard"        Palm Beach
"Soo Line"        Robinson-Baker
"SP"        Daylight Orange
"SP"        Montello
"T&P"        Arrows
"UP"        Desert Flower
"UP"        Harriman Blue
"WP"        Meridale


List of patterns seen for sale that never were used by railroads
       (fictional patterns dreamed up by clever junk china vendors)
"NP"        "Villiard"      (the china pattern of the Netherlands Plaza Hotel in Columbus, Oh.)
"Santa Fe"        Blue Chain      
(Fred Harvey maybe, but not AT&SF)
"SP"        Emerald Green      
("S.P. Co." backstamp seems to stand for Sebring Pottery)
"SP"        Nogales      
("S.P. Co." backstamp seems to stand for Sebring Pottery)
"Wabash"        Toledo      
(backstamp "Wabash" is name of pattern, not RR)


send questions or comments to:  rrcomm@sonic.net