Over a quarter century has passed since the first Liberty Blue Staffordshire was made, many people have become interested in collecting this patriotic and attractive service. The Benjamin Franklin Federal Savings and Loan was a large financial institution in the Pacific Northwest. It was established in 1925 and the first office opened in Portland, Oregon. In order to commemorate their 50th anniversary in 1975, the Board of Directors looked for something special to offer their account holders. They contacted the Enoch Wedgwood Company, located in the historic Staffordshire district of England, to develop a unique pattern of ironstone dinnerware for the Benjamin Franklin S & L. The result was the blue and white Liberty Blue design that was made exclusively for them.
Fifteen different historic scenes from the American colonial period were used on the dinnerware. The border has a mixture of wild flowers, and a historic scene in the center of each piece. On the backs, most pieces have a unique back-stamp with an eagle holding a flag shield and in the center there is a banner with the words “Original copper engravings of historic colonial scenes printed on Staffordshire Ironstone. Detergent and Dishwasher safe.” Above the eagle are the words “Liberty Blue.” Directly below the shield are the words “Made in England.” At the bottom is the name and scene.
The dinnerware was advertised as having a hard, fired-on glaze so the color would never fade. The dinnerware was also chip resistant and safe to use in the dishwasher. The blue color was characteristic of the Staffordshire area, where blue had been used for several centuries. It is ironic that this colonial American design was created in England, since this dinnerware was made to coincide with the American Bicentennial of Independence from England that was celebrated in 1976.
Liberty Blue was made for two years; the promotion ended December 31, 1976. Sometime after 1976, the Liberty Blue dinnerware design was released to be sold in national grocery stores on a limited run. For so many dollar purchases of groceries, you could buy a different piece. Each week a different item was available to purchase. Additional pieces were made and offered for the grocery store promotions. A guarantee was offered to allow the purchase of Liberty Blue for five years on an open stock basis from the Sigma Marketing Company.
The fifteen historic scenes of Liberty Blue appear as follows:
Betsy Ross – Fruit Bowl and Covered Sugar Bowl
George Washington’s Mt. Vernon – Soup/Cereal Bowl and Hot Chocolate Mug
Old North Church – Rim Soup Bowl, Coaster, Milk Pitcher, and Saucer
Minutemen – Oval Vegetable Bowl, Soup Tureen Bottom and Teapot
Fraunces Tavern – Round Vegetable Bowl and one of the Coasters
Lafayette Landing at West Point – Covered Vegetable Bowl Bottom, Butter Dish and Gravy Boat
Boston Tea Party – Covered Vegetable Bowl Lid and Soup Tureen Lid
Washington at Valley Forge – Luncheon Plates and Coaster
Independence Hall – Dinner Plate and Coaster
Paul Revere – Creamer, Coffee Cup and Salt & Pepper
Virginia Governor’s House – Gravy Boat Liner/Tray and Small Oval Platter
Monticello – Bread and Butter Plate
Washington Leaving Christ Church – Salad Plate
Washington Crossing the Delaware – Medium Oval Platter
Declaration of Independence – Large Oval Turkey Platter
Source: Liberty Blue Dinnerware, Debbie and Randy Coe