Memphis Queensware Co

   ...and the Historic Haviland Queensware




The Queensware Building is an outstanding commercial Romanesque building on Memphis' Main Street which dates from 1881.  It was built by the Lemmon and Gale Wholesale Dry Goods Company and was originally called "The Lemmon-Gale Building".  They were the largest Dry Goods store in Memphis for many years.   In 1896 the Memphis Queensware Company moved to the building and occupied 1/2 of it along with Lemmon-Gale.  During this period, some very fine China was made by a major porcelain house of France and marketed as "Memphis Queensware".  Today it is still very collectible.  Somewhere in time the building also became known as "The Queensware Building".


Story of Queens Ware

"Queens Ware" is a cream-colored English china that was first made by Wedgewood of London in 1750.  It's popularity owes more to wedgewood's skill as businessmen than as potters.  They  presented Queen Charlotte with a tea set of the new ware and that produced a "Royal Appointment" for them in 1765.  They immediately named their cream-colored tableware "Queens Ware" and its popularity was assured.


Wedgewood Queens Ware

Queens Ware Mark


David Haviland and the Haviland-Limoges Factory

In 1840, David Haviland and his brother Daniel had a china shop in NYC.  David wanted to establish an alliance with a  European manufacturer who would create quality porcelain ware for the American trade.  Wedgewood turned him down - either take their Queens Ware designs, as is - or nothing.


David Haviland


David knew about the fine clay of Limoges, France and decided to established his company there.  He moved his family to Limoges in 1853.  The Haviland Company became the first to have artists on site, to do the decorating.   Haviland soon began producing fine China at Limoges  - and particularly a very fine Queensware.  He had now united the two words.  After the Civil War, David sent his son Theodore to the U.S. to handle distribution and marketing.  Production dramatically increased.  The American Victorian housewife became the primary customer with a great variety of patterns to choose from.

Haviland Factory in Limoges


France Map

Limoges today

Limoges 1900

Vinage Limoges

Haviland Factory


Like all the other Haviland offspring, Theodore also began his own company in 1893.  He started the practice that if a store ordered a certain amount of china, the store name was added as part of the back mark.  Sometimes an exclusive special border or gold trim might also be added - especially if a pattern was made exclusively for a particular store.  Thus the period began for the "Memphis Queensware Company, Memphis, Tennessee" mark beneath the Haviland - Limoges mark.  Like his father, Theodore was committed to artistic innovation. 


But in typical French fashion, David Haviland's offspring continued to branch out with their own porcelain companies to compete with one another.  Now, 150 years later, there are many divisions and mergers within the Haviland clan.  But the Haviland factory in Limoges continues.  All the finishing and decorative work is still done by hand by professional crafts people.  This attention to detail remains the hallmark of a Haviland design. 


It should be noted that "Queensware" refers to a type of china that is made by virtually every porcelain factory in the world.  "Memphis Queensware" refers to  patterns of Queensware made exclusively for the Memphis Queensware Company  by the

Haviland factory in Limoges, France. 

Examples of Haviland marks on China
 made for several other Importers  ... 


Please Note:  Haviland Queensware was sold in Memphis as early as 1860.  The name "Memphis Queensware" refers ONLY  to Haviland China that was imported exclusively by the Memphis Queensware Company from 1896 to 1956.


Click on small photos to enlarge them 


Lemmon & Gale Dry Goods  .  1856 - 1920

Lemmon & Gale were prominent wholesale dry goods merchants of Memphis.   The partners were Henry T. Lemmon and Tom Gale.  They established their business in 1856 and were very prosperous.  In 1878 they built their large store at 326-328 Main Street and became one of the most substantial, reliable and enterprising businesses of the city.  In 1892, a major fire in Memphis destroyed several city blocks - including the Lemmon-Gale.  Afterwards, they rebuilt at the same location, but during reconstruction, they continued their directory listing at the regular address.  It's not known if they actually had a store during this period or not.  Lemmon-Gale finally closed their door in 1920 and by then their building had become known as the Queensware Building. 

L-G Bldg


Original Bldg

1883 Lemmon - Gale Ad

1887 Ad

1892 Fire

1892 Fire

"Lemmon" at bldg top

Lemmon Grave



Original Bldg 1883

Lemmon-Gale Ad


       1873 Joyner, Lemmon & Gale




Memphis Queensware Company .  1896 - 1956

The Memphis Queensware Company opened  at 321 Main Street in 1896.   One report says the new company "was established by Robert D. Goodwyn and he is President".  Another says that when the Memphis Queensware Company was established in 1896, "Robert D. Goodwyn left his old position at Porter-Macre to become Vice-President".    Either way, we know that Robert D. Goodwyn is strongly associated with the Memphis Queensware Company from the beginning to the end.  His name appears on a 1903 letterhead as Vice-Predident.   We do not know if he owned the company or just ran it.

1897 Invoice  

1903 Letterhead 1910 Interior R. D. Goodwyn 1911 Article

1911 Warehouse


1911 Promotion 1911-promotion mark Goodwyn Bio 1903 Interior 1918

321 Main - 1st Location


MQC Warehouse?

1897 Directory Listing

1874 Dissaster

1897 Invoice

1898 Invoice


As their name implied, the Memphis Queensware Company sold Haviland "Queensware" - but with a Memphis-slant.  Because they imported so much of the china, they were able to negotiate with Haviland to have a special "Memphis Queensware" mark on the back of the china.  That mark dates from 1896.

  Memphis Queensware Mark

M-Q-C Meat Platter M-Q-C Tourine Queensware Set Queensware  Set

M-Q-C Promotional


After 2 years at 321 Main, the Memphis Queensware Company moved in 1898 to 330 Main - the Lemmon-Gale building.  It will be forever associated with this building.  There's currently no available record that they purchased the building, but probably did.  In 1905 the numbering system changed in Memphis and this building became 60-62 S. Main.  The Memphis Queensware Co continued to occupy 1/2 of the building with Lemmon-Gale until 1913, when they moved to a new building at 121 Union Avenue.  Lemmon-Gale stayed until 1920.


 Queensware Building 1906


Queenware  1906

1911 article

L.D.Hines 1915

1908 Ad

1906 Article

1906 Article


1906 Queensware Bldg 1912 Queensware Bldg 1912 Queensware store 1898 Queensware Envelope

Memphis Queensware Company . 121 Union Avenue  - 1913-1926

In 1913  the Memphis Queensware Company sold their Main Street store and moved to new quarters at 121 Union Avenue.  The name and the directory listings continued at this location until 1926.   Their ad in the directory also lists their warehouses on Georgia, Florida, and Carolina streets, near Central Station.  The building at 121 Union, later became the home of the O.K. Houck Piano Company.

121 Union - today  

In the 1919-21 American Hardware Magazine and several Clay and Pottery Magazines, a "sold" announcement was published:  Memphis Queensware Company had been sold to Warren-Stratton Hardware.  We have not been able to confirm this anywhere else or find any additional information about it. ???


1919- Sold item

1914 Article 

1919 Ad 1922 Ad - 121 Union 1919- Sold item Pottery Display
Goodwyn Crockery Co - Memphis Queensware Co  .  75 Union Av   .  1921 - 1956  

In 1921, notices also began appearing in the Pottery-China magazines that R. D. Goodwyn was "re-engaging in the crockery business" ... and "had recently formed a new company called Goodwyn Crockery Company"  with offices and showrooms at 75 Union.    Although we cannot confirm it,  it appears that Memphis Queensware Co was sold to Stratton-Warren Hardware in 1919 and Goodwyn retired to Florida.  By 1921, he had returned and started a new company at 75 Union Av at Main.


1921 Article

1921 Article

75 Union

36-40 Carolina today

409 S. Main

1930 Ad


In 1926 Goodwyn moved his new company from the 75 Union Building to 36-40 Carolina - where the warehouses were located.  At the same time his ads and letterhead added Memphis Queensware Co to his letterhead, below Goodwyn Crockery Co.   No separate listings for Memphis Queensware Co appear in the Directories after 1926.  In 1932, Goodwyn moved around the corner to 409 S. Main Street (The Puck Building).   He died in 1948 and his wife took over the business.  She was not good at it and the business failed and closed in 1956.    See the 1930 letterhead (below) where the name of the company appears in large letters as "Goodwyn Crockery Co" and below that in smaller letters "Memphis Queensware Co".


1930 Invoice


1925 Goodwyn + Queensware

1922 - 75 Union 1926 - 36-40 E. Carolina 1926 Goodwyn Crockery Only Goodwyn Crockery Co - Memphis Queensware Co
Major Queensware dealers ... 36 years before the Memphis Queensware Company

Early Memphis distributors of Queensware were Charles N. Erich, Fransioli & Williamson, and William Jack.  Evidence from the Memphis directories and documents show that  they  began selling Queensware as early as 1860 - 36 years before the Memphis Queensware Company.  They all were on Main Street - Erich and Jack were directly across the street from each other for many years and they remained at the same locations until 1896.    Much of the success of Queensware was due to these men.  They weren't the only ones who sold Queensware.  By 1890 one could often find Queensware advertising signs like on the left, outside several  other Main Street buildings.


Charles N. Erich was born in Germany and emigrated to Memphis in 1854.  Working at the Memphis Appeal, he saved enough money during this time to enter the grocery business.  His next step up the ladder was a small glass and Queensware retail business, where he did so well that he was able to buy 1/2 interest in Erich & Lloyd.  In 1867 the partners split and Charles opened his own store at 323 Main.  His popularity as a business man was due to his fair dealings and by keeping the largest and complete stock in the South.  He imports the majority of his stock and travels to Europe each year on buying trips.


1860 Ad - Queens Ware-2 words


Article about Erich

1866 Diectory 313 Main Location 1886 Suicide Elmwood Grave

Another early Memphis China dealer was the
Fransioli Co. at 5 Main Street.  Their earliest ad dates from 1849.  By 1859 they had become Fransioli and Williamson and their shop was at 188 Main Street next to the Cochran Hotel.  In 1860 William Jack leased their building at 188 Main (Document below).  They may have also merged???  


Fransioli Co -1849


1859 ...188 Main

1859 ...188 Main

188 Main





William Jack was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States via New York city in 1840.  He became a naturalized citizen in 1860 and died in 1903.  He is listed in the 1849 directory as a "Book Keeper with W. Howard."  The first listing for the William Jack China Company is 1865, although we have supported evidence that he was in the China business as early as 1860 with a partner named John T. Shanks.  His first directory business address is 224 1/2 Main and "Queensware" is mentioned.  In 1872 his brother Samuel joined the company and the following year George E. Rudisell became a partner.  In 1878 the company moved to 332 Main.  That building was destroyed in a major Memphis 1892 fire and William moves across the street to 321 Main.   William Jack was the biggest Queensware dealer of all the Memphis dealers...



John T. Shanks 1860 1866 J.T. Shanks 224 1/2 Main 332 Main

321 Main



1865 Jack Ad




1892 Fire

188 Main       

 Below are a timeframe, directory listings, and documents related to William Jack:

1883 Letter

1874 Article

1860 ... 301 Main.        William Jack and John T. Shanks were partners.  Also lease 188 Main.
1865 ... 224 1/2 Main.  William Jack China.  First listing in Directory.  "Queensware" is also listed. 
1868 ... 224 1/2 Main.  William Jack China.  John T. Hanks becomes partner to sell Queensware.
1871 ... 224 1/2 Main.  W Jack.  Listing continues until 1872.
1872 ... 224 1/2 Main.  W & S Jack.  Brother Samuel has joined the Company.
1873 ... 224 1/2 Main.  W & S Jack & Co.  George E. Rudisell becomes a partner in the company.
1878 ... 332 Main.         W & S Jack & Co.  New address.
1883 ... 332 Main.         W & S Jack.  The partnership with Rudisell is dissolved.
1884 ... 332 Main.         W Jack & Sons.  The name changes.
1892 ...
321 Main.         W Jack & Son.  Moves across the street from 332 to 321 Main.
1896 ...
321 Main.         W Jack & Sons closes .  Is there a Memphis Queensware connection???

1865 Directory Listing 1867 1870 1878



- Most of the Documents below are from the Collection George Whitworth

1860 Lease 1862 Order-Settle

1866 Power of Attorney

1866 Bankruptcy 1868 Partnership

1883 Directory

General William Sherman vs. Fransioli & Williamson-William Jack in Memphis, 1861

When the Civil War began, a Memphis company, Fransioli & Williamson defaulted on a note to a northern company.  General William Sherman was assigned to Memphis during the occupation, and he ordered  collection of the note.  Inscribed on the back of the Promissory Note and Notice of Protest "To the provost marshal.  Collect this note in cash or kind.  Major General W. T. Sherman, Memphis, Tennessee".


Sherman by Bishop-Needles

Promissory Note

Sherman note/Signature


1872 Invoice 1873 Partnership 1874 Invoice 1875 Lease 1875 Lease-2 1883 Dissolution 1883 Invoice

Two very interesting letters written by William Jack in 1903 -  interesting because they're written on the BACK of Memphis Queensware Co letterhead.  Where did he get this stationery?  There must be a "connection".  By now, William Jack was an old man and we suspect he could have been a "silent partner" in the new company and may have had an office in the 330 Main Street Queensware Building, where he would have easy access to the stationery.  It's also possible that as a Queensware authority, he would have been a consultant to the new owners.  We don't know... until new evidence is found.


1903 Letter

1903 Letter


A 1883 directory lists the W & S  Company and ALSO the "JACK BROTHERS".   Did they go into business for themselves?  Were they instrumental in setting up the Memphis Queensware Company with their father?  This one-time listing was for 1893 only and may have been because the building at 332 Main was destroyed by fire in 1892 and was being rebuilt.  But it appears that the Jack's had a semi-permanent lease on the 224 1/2 Main Street building.  Perhaps it was for storage?

1883 Directory Listings for Jack Brothers


Three 1895 Invoices (below) place the W & S Jack Co at 321 Main Street - the exact store that will house The Memphis Queensware Co store  one year later.  The 4th photo shows an 1895 Jack Invoice above a 1897 Queensware Invoice.   Both are located at 321 Main Street.  The layout and the wording of the two invoices are identical.  Only the names are different.  Still there is no physical evidence to link Jack and the Memphis Queensware Co. but it does appear that one continues where the other left off???


Three 1895 Invoices showing W & S Jack  Co at 321 Main Street

Queensware . 321 Main 1892 Stock Certif.


The Memphis Directories have ended our search to physically connect the Jack family to the Memphis Queensware Company.  And the information in the directories says a lot about the Jack Family.  They did not establish roots.  Most of them, especially William, moved a lot - almost every other year.  And they frequently changed jobs or occupations.  When the Memphis Queensware Company opened in 1896 John D. Jack became the first bookkeeper and held that position until 1903.  In 1898 William, himself, became a clerk -  through 1902.  His brother Samuel also became a clerk in 1900 and then a bookkeeper for 2 years.  In 1900-1902, three members of the Jack family were at the Memphis Queensware Company, simultaneiously. 




1896       1897 1898 1899 1900 1901




William Jack died in 1903.  In 1904 Samuel and John D. are still listed as bookkeepers of the Memphis Queensware Company, but in 1905 not one member of the Jack family is still associated with the company.  Samuel now runs the Trimbele Cigar and Billard Co and John D. is secretary-treasurer for the same company.  We've not found any additional Jack family  association with china or Queensware since 1904.

  1905 1910
<     This 1864 Atlanta photo has new meaning as research continues on "Queensware".
   1864 Atlanta  



Lawrence Furniture Co .  1933 - 1973


In 1933 the Lawrence Furniture Company opened next door to the Warner Theater in the old Queensware Building.  They placed regular ads in the city's newspapers.  And after awhile, one thought Lawrence Furniture would be there forever.  But in 1973, they ran an ad for a 3-day sale.  No mention was made about going out of business.  This was their last advertisement.  There were no more listings in the city directories.  Lawrence Furniture simply disappeared after 40 years.  The building remained boarded up for years and was headed for certain "Memphis Demolition" until it was recently renovated for apartments - now known as "The Washburn". 




Lawrence at Night Lawrence Lawrence Lawrence - Boarded


The Washburn


The Queensware Building has never been placed on the National Registry List.  Why?



Queensware and Memphis Queensware Co. Memorabilia


Barbara Murphy MQC Creamer

Queensware Souvenir

 Queensware Souvenir


MQC Cup - Saucer

Place Settings Queensware 1893-1931 MQC Saucer MQC Sugar Bowl 




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