How to Identify Syracuse China Patterns
Syracuse China began production in New York state in 1871. The company manufactured fine china but is also known for its restaurant, hotel and railway dinnerware. The company continued operatimg in New York until 2009 when its current owner, Libbey Inc., moved production out of North America. Because so many designs have been produced, they are often hard to identify. However, with a little education, you can easily learn to recognize Syracuse patterns and build your own collection of beautiful china.
Visit a library or bookstore. Collectors’ guides will help you familiarize yourself with various Syracuse china patterns. Look for guides such as “Restaurant China: Identification & Value Guide for Restaurant, Airline, Ship & Railroad Dinnerware” by Barbara J. Conroy; “Syracuse China” by Cleota Reed and Stan Skoczen; and “Dinnerware of the 20th Century: The Top 500 Patterns” by Harry L. Rinker.
Look for online guides. Many collectors share their passion and expertise about Syracuse China through the Internet. Often these websites contain valuable details on and color pictures of various patterns. (See Resources.)
Hunt in antique stores. Antique stores can be good places to see and handle many different patterns of Syracuse china. If you let store owners know you are interested in learning to recognize and collect this tableware, they will often share their knowledge of different designs and offer to contact you when new pieces come in.
Check Internet stores. One of the great sources for identifying Syracuse patterns is the website Replacements Ltd. This site offers hundreds of pieces of Syracuse china for sale and includes pictures of the each pattern they have available in their online inventory. Another helpful Internet resource is The Great Mall of China, which features many individual online stores that specialize in restaurant-related collectibles.
Join a collectors club. Collectors enjoy discussing their passion, so joining a collectors’ club will put you in touch with people who would like to help educate you on different Syracuse patterns. Organizations such as the Restaurant Ware Collectors Network offer online forums where members can discuss everything from values of specific designs to identifying fraudulent pieces and patterns.
Search online auction sites. Online auction sites, such as eBay,, are excellent places to see a wide variety of china pieces in many different patterns. Such sites can also give you a sense of what people are willing to pay for individual pieces.
Shelia Odak has over 10 years writing and editing experience for consumer and trade publications including "Radio/TV Interview Report." She has worked for over nine years in education and holds a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Odak writes on a range of topics including education, literature and frugal living.