Pickard China: 130 Years of Rich History
A Respected Manufacturer of Fine China Since 1893
A Brief History
The Pickard China story dates back to 1893 when Wilder Pickard established the company in Edgerton, WI. At the turn of the 20th century, Pickard was moved to Chicago where the company specialized in hand-painted art pieces and dessert and tea sets. Artists from the famed Art Institute of Chicago and all over Europe came to Chicago to decorate one of a kind ceramic pieces. These early pieces are now highly sought after by collectors on the secondary market.
The Pickard Building (4557 N Ravenswood Avenue Chicago, IL 60640) was built by Pickard China in the 1890's to house the artists who hand painted the imported white china stock. These artists hailed from England and elsewhere in Europe. The building is now home to O'Shaughnessy's Public House.
Wilder’s son, Austin Pickard, joined the business in the late 1920’s and soon began experiments in developing a fine china dinnerware body. He moved the company to its present Antioch, IL location in 1930 and seven years later introduced the warm white china with the “Lion” trademark still used today. This beautiful china, then as now, is noted for its graceful shapes, lightness and delicacy, unusual strength, and brilliant glaze.
The third generation of the family, Pete Pickard, succeeded Austin as president of the company in 1966 until his retirement in 1994. His brother-in-law, Eben Morgan, became president and CEO in January 1994, continuing the family management that has directed the company with the same dedication to excellence for over 125 years. Mr. Morgan’s son, Andy Pickard Morgan, joined the company in 2001 and has served as the company’s President and CEO since 2006. Andy represents the 4th generation of the Pickard family in the business.
Today Pickard is the only company manufacturing made in America fine china, and the company is proud that it still ranks among the finest china made anywhere in the world. The same painstaking craftsmanship and skilled handwork necessary to produce top quality ware has not changed through four generations. Each piece of china produced in the Pickard factory passes through a minimum of 21 stages and three 100% inspections and is handled by Pickard employees averaging 18 years on the job. The Pickard factory is a rarity in that it is a small family business manufacturing high quality chinaware in an era of huge companies merging and acquiring, becoming larger than ever. Pickard’s size is an advantage in today’s market because of the care and attention that is paid to each piece. All patterns are decorated with 24K gold (never anything less), pure platinum and brilliant cobalt, with a style that caters to a niche of clientele looking for elegant, timeless upscale dinnerware.
Pickard China was honored to have been selected by both First Lady Laura Bush and Michelle Obama to produce official White House China Services. Pickard
China has also been honored to produce the official U.S. Department of State china service, used in all U.S. Embassy and Consulates throughout the world, for the past 40 years. Pickard China has also been commissioned to produce custom china for Air Force One, Blair House, Camp David, both Houses of the United States Congress, The Joint Chiefs of Staff and many other U.S. Departments and Agencies.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Pickard China produced many limited edition collector’s plates and bowls, and the company was the recipient of many awards, including: being named “Best Manufacturer of Limited Editions” four times by the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers; being named as the manufacturer of the “Plate of the Year” three times by the Bradford Exchange Ltd., a recognized authority in the collector’s plate market; and being named “Best Manufacturer of Limited Editions” by readers of Plate Collector magazine for seven consecutive years.
Pickard China has over the years been selected to produce exclusive fine china services for heads of state and many prestigious hotels, restaurants and corporations. The King of Saudi Arabia, Four Seasons, The Breakers Hotel, Augusta National, Wing Foot, Sea Island, over 250 Colleges and Universities, Ford Motor Company, Merrill Lynch, Coca-Cola, numerous Michelin Star Restaurants and the Queen of England are among a few who have chosen Pickard for their finest dining.
As we move into the 21st Century, Wilder Pickard would be proud that his dream is still alive and flourishing. Most recently, the company has introduced both a new white and ultra-white china body to complement the original and timeless Pickard ivory china body. While Pickard continues to adapt and innovate for the future, its commitment to highest quality remains and helps define Pickard as “America’s Finest China.” This tradition is recognized and appreciated in markets around the world.
782 Pickard Avenue
Antioch, IL 60002-1574