Myth # 100: After the 1890 McKinley tariff required imports to show country of origin, dishes from China were marked CHINA, which is why Americans came to call all dishes “china.”

     6331764523_ca2f735a2a_z

Hooray! Celebration time–this is the 100th myth for this blog! Who knew there were so many? Certainly not I, who originally hoped for a couple dozen and planned to stop when I ran out. No doubt I will run out, but not for a few more months, considering how many of you are sending in myths I hadn’t heard or hadn’t remembered. Don’t stop. So here’s the 100th myth, thank you Martin Willis. 

Antiques dealer and auctioneer Martin Willis told me that he’d always believed this myth, one that he heard from his father decades ago, a man who was also in the auction business. Then he looked into it and learned it was false. He’s right on the money about that!

     The story goes that in 1890, the McKinley Tariff established the requirement that all imports show their country of origin. Porcelain dinnerware was coming mainly from China and was marked accordingly. So far, so good. Here comes the myth in the punchline . . . So that’s why Americans refer to their dishes as “china,” because it said China on the back.

     Americans do call plates, cups, and saucers “china” but not because of the McKinley Tariff. Historians find the word “china” in inventories from the 18th century. It became shorthand among early American settlers because much originated in China or was made in England to approximate Chinese wares, not because pieces were stamped CHINA. 

About these ads

5 Responses to Myth # 100: After the 1890 McKinley tariff required imports to show country of origin, dishes from China were marked CHINA, which is why Americans came to call all dishes “china.”

  1. Reblogged this on Rosedownplantation's Blog and commented:
    Interesting

  2. Deb says:

    Quite right. No good New Englander would fall for that one, I hope, since the fortunes of Salem and many other towns were founded on their importation of goods from the east including “Canton ware.” In fact there is a town in Massachusetts called Canton. Visit the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem for much more….

  3. B.P. says:

    You’ve introduced another myth. Americans do not call all dishes china. They call china china. Dishes that are not made of pocelain and ridiculously overpriced, well… they are called dishes

    • Mary Miley says:

      I stand by my original generalization. Americans call their dishes china. As in “my everyday china” for earthenware, for example.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,324 other followers

%d bloggers like this: