ironstone heaven

Marian ParsonsAntiques, Favorite Finds, Ironstone43 Comments

During my 15+ year love affair with ironstone, I have come home with some pretty sweet ironstone hauls.

Child’s play.

Yesterday, I walked into ironstone heaven at a local thrift store.  One of my “picker” friends tipped me off on the treasure trove and I couldn’t resist making the drive to check it out.

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My friends, what you are looking at is stacks and stacks of Buffalo China from the 1960’s at a thrift store and the picture above only shows a fraction of it.

So, a little lesson on Buffalo China.  It’s called that, because it was made in Buffalo, New York.  It’s marked on the bottom, usually with a green buffalo, and conveniently has the year it was made included in the hallmark, which is how I know these pieces are from the 1960’s.  Buffalo China is also called “restaurant ware”, because it was used primarily in diners, restaurants, etc. and “America’s ironstone”, because it shares many similarities with English ironstone.  It is thick, heavy for its size, and has a luster to the glaze that is identifiable to a trained eye.

Anyway, I’m assuming this stash came from a restaurant supply store or perhaps a restaurant storage closet or something.  It clearly had minimal use, if any.

At the thrift store, they drew a heart on each piece as a code for pricing.  It was sort of appropriate for me that they were all marked with hearts!

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I bought over 200 pieces and I only made a modest dent in the stacks of creamy white dishes.

I honestly would’ve bought more, but I had to carry them down a flight of steps in little plastic grocery shopping baskets and I got to the point that I just couldn’t schlep any more!  My neck and shoulder muscles are still tight!

And not only are these heavy, but they are heavy duty!  An entire canvas shopping bag full of plates fell out of the back of my van on the asphalt and only one plate broke.

Anyway, I currently have a mish-mash of everyday ironstone pieces that we use as our dishes, but I’ve been on the lookout for a set for the sake of uniformity.  So, I bought a bunch for myself and a bunch to sell at Lucketts.

We’ve already started wiping off all of the hearts, though.  They will be heartless in my kitchen and at Lucketts, sweet as that was.  I learned from years as a thrift-store-frequenter that acetone will take permanent marker off of ceramic and glass.



I bought lunch plates, berry bowls, soup bowls, and bread plates.


Unfortunately, they didn’t have dinner plates or cereal bowls, but that gives me something new to hunt for…

ironstone heaven

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43 Comments on “ironstone heaven”

  1. What an amazing find. Off topic but im.dying over the little wood chest in the center of the table in the last pic. If it’s for sale let me know please

  2. Restaurant ware is a favorite of mine, especially mugs and oval dishes for every day. Many of mine have decorations or color bands. I really like the fact that the pieces can take whatever comes their way.

    1. I’m so glad that a search turned up this post. I found a Buffalo oval dish at a thrift store recently and scooped it up. Now it’s happy in my china cabinet with a stack of cloth napkins resting on it. I’m thrilled to learn more about this brand. Unfortunately ironstone doesn’t show up as frequently in my area of the south. Thank you for the education on Buffalo ware.

  3. I had a huge set of these from my Nana. She won them of a radio contest 50 years ago, cause hey…we are from Buffalo, NY. I grew up eating off them. I actually took my haul to the goodwill a few years ago before they came back into vogue, cause I couldn’t stand the idea of lugging them around one more time ( I feel for your back). I replaced them with Ikea, regrets!!!

  4. I didn’t know Buffalo was considered ironstone. We have a few of the oval plates which are my favorites. Portion sizes are just right!

  5. Wow, I’m just surprised there were no dinner plates in all of the ironstone! Lucky you getting that tip! Magic sponge removes the permanent ink too. For what it’s worth!

  6. My favorite way to remove the permanent ink is from a Magic Eraser. It works great and no bad smells. Love your buffalo china!

  7. Sounds fabulous! I did a little antiquing this weekend and found several pieces of Ironstone at two different shops. I found a sugar bow and small tureen for $8.00 each and a very large heavy platter for $15.00. This one was great because of all the angles. It wasn’t oval. I also found a handleless cup for $4.00!! The unusual piece I found was a blue and white ironstone soap dish with a outline of a fish in the bottom. It was $12.00. I also picked up a really old quilt top for $22.00. I am going to put the back on it myself!

  8. Great find…but I’m surprised no one has mentioned the new website!!! Looks great!! Can’t wait to finish checking it out!

    I use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get marker and sticky off my finds. It doesn’t need anything but water!

  9. Thanks to reading your posts, I immediately noticed a piece of ironstone at one of my local thrift stores the other day. I picked up a chamber pot marked “Alfred Meakin England” for $2.69.

  10. Marian, thanks for telling us about Buffalo China, I didn’t know about the year it was made is on the bottom. I’m surprised the Thrift Store employees didn’t offer to help.
    Have a great day

  11. It is a shame you are so far away. Buffalo China is very common here in Springfield, Missouri. I have 16 large plates in my antiques booth and haven’t been able to move them.

    1. I’m so glad that a search turned up this post. I found a Buffalo oval dish at a thrift store recently and scooped it up. Now it’s happy in my china cabinet with a stack of cloth napkins resting on it. I’m thrilled to learn more about this brand. Unfortunately ironstone doesn’t show up as frequently in my area of the south. Thank you for the education on Buffalo China.

  12. Ok, a sight like that’d leave me breathless and lightheaded LOL! I bet those pieces were HEAVY. Can you imagine the arm muscles on the diner waitresses from back in the day, when they were carrying multiples of those heavy plates around? Congratulations on your haul!

    Also, the new website format is really posh! Love it!

  13. Love your new blog page redesign…. it really gives it a fresh new look kinda like a new outfit or haircut!

    I didn’t realize Buffalo China was in the Ironstone family but you really hit the jackpot at the thrift store. I always have said that thrift shops are underestimated. No, you wont find a treasure every time you go but you can make some great finds from time to time.

  14. So cool! I have a few peices of the Buffalo China myself. And I thought there was something different!! Yes, great new design ??

  15. The thrill of the hunt. What an awesome find. I have put together a good set for my daughter in her home. She loves the stuff. I can only aspire to find such a haul. This gives us all hope. Woohoo!

  16. What happened to the beautiful “heading” you had at the top of your blog? It looks different now.

  17. The website redesign is AWESOME! And so is this haul of Buffalo Ironstone. I am from NW PA originally and my grandmother had a diner for years and used this very stuff to serve. Boy if only would have thought to get some of it. I have such fond memories of sitting at the counter and being served what she cooked….. wonderful times!

  18. I have been a restaurant ware collector (actually all dishware) for over 30 years. It has been our main daily tableware for years. It is indestructible and heavy as all get out. I have never had a piece break. (But. I’ve never dropped it on asphalt) I sell it in my antique booth and probably have plates to match yours. You will love it!

  19. What an amazing find. I had one similar 9 years ago thrifting. Walked into a Salvation Army and their they were in all of their glory, rows and rows of buffalo china. I love them. I got 8 of each – x large plate, large plate, smaller plates, smaller saucer plate, and even 1 smaller, berry bowls, soup bowls, and cereal bowls. I have used them for years and have yet to only have broken a couple of cereal bowls. precious but yet not. love them for my everyday china but dressy enough for casual dinners. Have fun with your find.

  20. I have a different question. The chair in the picture , I have 2 that were my grandparents. Can you tell me the era and style? Love all your ironstone.

  21. I have a very old Jenny Lind wooden twin bed with side rails and slats. The bed was my daughter’s when she was in her teens.. she is now married with a 3 year old little girl.

    When my daughter was young, she decided
    to paint the bed frame a dark gray. I want to repaint it light blue for my granddaughter.

    I would really appreciate if anyone could tell me what I need to do to repaint it a lighter color and should I use Annie Sloan’s Chalk paint? I’d like it to be shiny to wipe off. I need to complete this task in two weeks if possible.

    Just don’t know how to begin..,HELP PLEASE!!

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