The company that eventually developed into Metlox Pottery was actually started around 1920 by the Prouty family who, at the time, was selling their wares as Proutyline Products. Eventually the name changed to the Metlox moniker.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s to help increase revenue during the hardtimes resulting from the Great Depression, Metlox began producing housewares that rapidly grew in popularity. Prior to that, the company focused on producing large ceramic signs for theaters and other enterprises.
The company’s entry into the dinnerware business in the early 1930s began the prolific Poppytrail line of products. The popular pattern sustained as a top seller for many years and even today there remains a big following with collectors.
Known as the “200 Series”, Poppytrail pottery pieces were produced in 15 beautiful hues including old rose, delphinium, sea green, rust, canary yellow, turquoise and poppy orange. Of all the colors, poppy orange was and remains the most popular.
Poppytrail dinnerware is also available in pastel colors of petal pink, powder blue, ivory, satin turquoise, peach pastel yellow and opaline green. The colors are and still remain very popular.
Metlox Pottery was purchased in 1946 by Evan Shaw who was known for producing a line of ceramic Disney figures and he continued to expand the dinnerware lines.When the Vernon Kilns closed in 1958, he bought the name and the molds as well.
By the 1960s, Metlox dinnerware sales had skyrocketed. The line became popular with brides who discovered them and added the sets they wanted to complete their registry lists, which further boosted sales.
Some of the other dinnerware lines made by this company through the years are Delphinium, California Fruit, California Rose, Painted Desert, Sculptured Daisy, California Contempora and Tropicana. The company also produced a line of dishes of black and white cows called The Holstein Herd. That happened just prior to its closure in 1989.
Carl Romanelli, who designed some of the most highly sought after Metlox dinnerware patterns in the late 1930s and early 1940s, also sculpted beautiful bud vases and figurines to look like nudes, animals and various sea life. These items continue to bring excellent prices in the collecting commuity, especially the nudes.
Under the command of Shaw, a freehand stoneware designer named Helen Slater produced a line of giftware for Metlox called Poppets.
The Poppets were whimsical creations made of natural earthenware and hand thrown. Various colored glazes and hand carved faces gave them a unique appeal when they were new. 88 different Poppets were produced with the Metlox name stamped on the bottom and each came with its own special box. The company also produced various cookie jars and a number of ceramic figurines known as the “nostalgia’ line, which featured vintage style automobiles, horse drawn carriages, trolleys and other older means of transportation.
Today, Metlox remains in the minds of the visitors and homeowners of Manhattan Beach and offers a unique shopping and dining destination located at the gateway to Downtown Manhattan Beach, California.
It offers a European style town square where upscale shopping and dining intertwine with landscaped courtyards, beautiful fountains, a fire sculpture and public art that celebrates the history of the Metlox Pottery manufacturing facility that at one time occupied the site from 1927.