The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway is celebrated in print, song and film as the railroad that opened the Great Southwest. Stretching from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Fe brought white man's civilization to some of the most spectacular scenery on the continent. Along with the railroad came the legendary Fred Harvey Company, operator of the Santa Fe's meal stops, hotels, and later, its dining cars.
Almost from its beginning, the Santa Fe accepted the identity of the old west as its own. Its stations, timetables, and trains reflected the Spanish and Indian cultures that so fascinated the rest of the country. That tradition reached its zenith in the stainless steel streamliner, "the Super Chief" of 1936. Inside, the railroad spared no expense to make it the most luxurious train in the nation. From engine to tail car, the decor was as authentically native American as good taste and the carbuilder's art would allow.
Mary Colter served both the Santa Fe and Fred Harvey as designer and Indian art expert. Then 66 years old, Colter combed museums for suitably authentic designs, deciding finally on motifs from the ancient tribes of the Mimbres Valley. Like other elements of the train's interior, her china adapted the Mimbres likenesses of birds, turtles and fish to contemporary life without sacrificing the spirit or honesty of the originals.
The Onandaga Pottery Company produced Mimbreno China from 1936 to 1970 exclusively for the Santa Fe Dining Car Department. It was used on all of their dining cars until the end of service in 1971, whereupon it became even more highly coveted in the collector's market. Today, it is exceedingly rare.
Through special agreement with the AT&SF Railway, Pipestone is recreating this historic china to the same high standards laid down by Mary Colter. The designs are exactly as on the originals, in the same shades of maroon with charcoal accents.
Our Mimbreno is the same hotel grade, high-fire vitreous china used on the dining cars for nearly a century. We have matched the shapes as closely as possible to the prototype pieces and all ware carries the elaborate Santa Fe backstamp.