A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

Welcome to the blog of Antiques And Teacups! Let's share a cup of tea and talk about the things we love...like teacups, antiques, collectibles, visiting England, antiquing and learning about victoriana and quirky gadgets. Fun!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Homer Laughlin, SS Governor Sinking Site

Hello and welcome to Tuesday Cuppa Tea! I hope you had a wonderful Easter or Passover and are enjoying the wonderful spring weather we are having here...too wonderful for me to go out...the blossoming trees has me  locked in at the moment. But...I am so blessed anyway, it doesn't matter!!!!

This is a bit unusual for a Tuesday Cuppa Tea...bear with me! It is connected....My choice of teacup today is related to what else I have to post. I am sharing a teacups and saucer by Homer Laughlin, USA in the Eggshell Nautilus Ferndale pattern.  I am out of them, so this picture is from an Etsy story called LBF Collections.

Homer Laughlin is a USA company founded in Ohio in 1871 and moved to West Virginia in 1903. The company is till in operation and open for tours. The company is most famous for it's Fiesta line, but in it's earlier days was famous for it's restaurant wares and made products for ships, trains, restaurants, clubs and other organizations...the more utilitarian wares in white ironstone in contrast to the pretty dinnerware patterns the one above is an example of. Here are 3 more patterns in items I have at the moment.

The pattern below is from the 1890s and is made of ironstone.

But the reason I am sharing about Homer Laughlin, is because April 2 is the anniversary of the sinking, in 1912 of the S. S. Governor right in our local water just off Port Townsend in the waters of the Puget Sound.

This period postcard shows the S. S. Governor. The ship had left San Francisco and was heading to Victoria BC with 417 passengers, when at night it confused the running lights on the freighter West Hartland heading out of Seattle with the Point Wilson lighthouse and rammed the West Hartland.  Luckily most of the passengers were saved, due to the captain of the west Hartland keeping the freighter positioned into the Governor until most passengers were saved except those trapped or killed by the collision itself. There was a loss of 8 lives, 2 of them children.

Enter the Maritime Documentation Society, a group of professional maritime archaeologists and researchers who track missing wrecks, document them and leave them intact. 2 weeks ago, members of the group gave a lecture and slideshow about their dives to locate and identify the wreck in 2008 at our Sequim Museum And Art Center.  Now here is where Homer Laughlin comes in.

In this photo from the Peninsula Daily News, one of our local papers, you see Society member Rob Wilson....one of the presenters at our program...with a water pitcher and tooth mug that were brought up from the wreck for identification purposes, and after 5 years with the state, the relics are on loan to the society for educational purposes. You can see a photo of them cleaned down below.  When the items were cleaned, they were identified by a stamp on the bottom as Homer Laughlin white ironstone restaurant ware, and came from a 1st class cabin. Here is a photo of the china they found (and left) and a photo Rob took of the original banding of all the dishes identifying them as the line that ran the S. S. Governor, the Pacific Coast Steamship Company.

One of the other Society members, Paul Hangartner, one of the divers who took part in the program is holding the jug seen in the first picture, encrusted with decades of sea accretions in the first photo, with the cleaned jug.  The next photos were taken with my phone...forgot my camera@!

The exhibits included their propulsion devices, charts of how the Governor sank and by blueprints of the ship. All fascinating. 

It was a wonderful program. As it is so close to the anniversary of the Titanic, it was so amazing to realize we have similar ships, sites and stories so close to home. Apparently there are hundreds of undocumented wrecks just off our shores. 
There are several wonderful websites for more info on this particular site and Society as well as the local news stories about the expedition, and the website of the film arm of the society which includes videos:

Maritime Documentation Society

DCS Films site for the S S Governor dives

Peninsula Daily News article: Diver Tells Of Visit To SS Governor

Sequim Gazette: Exploring History Beneath The Waves

USAToday: History Of Homer Laughlin

So thanks for visiting today. I hope you will link your tea related post with the linky below, and visit the blogs listed...just a few of the wonderful blogs I'll be visiting.  Have a wonderful week , and have a cuppa tea with someone you love!

Monday Marketplace
Terri~  http://artfulaffirmations.blogspot.com/ 
Teacup Tuesday
Trisha~  http://sweetology101.blogspot.com/ 
Tea Party Tuesday
Teatime Tuesday
Kathy~  http://blissfulrhythm.blogspot.com/
Victoria - A Return to Loveliness
Tea On Tuesday
Miss Kathy ~http://thewritersreverie.blogspot.com/
Tuesday Tea       
Tea On Tuesday
Tea Tuesday
Tea On Tuesday
Poetry In A Pot Of Tea
Friends Sharing Tea Wednesday
What’s It Wednesday                                           
Home On Wednesday


  1. Oh how intereting..I never knew about this sinking ship. Incredible how ironstone Homer L. keeps even under water for so long, amazing!! Look how they rescued plates from the Titanic! Thank you for hosting. Hope you had a nice Easter and wishing you a very blessed week and month of April. Thank you for the lovely tea party, too.

  2. Hi Ruth,

    I just love Homer Laughlin! You do so many wonderful trips. Thank you for sharing it all with us and for hosting.

  3. Thank you for the interesting information on the SS Governor. It's interesting how it and the Titanic both sank in the same month. I have a few china pieces from Homer Laughlin and have shared some in the past. It seams to be some of my favorites next to my English pieces...that is.

  4. Hi Ruth,

    Beautiful tea cup today - it's always a joy to see what you have to share :) I hope you have a lovely Monday!

  5. Fascinating story! I love Homer Laughlin china and pick it up whenever I find it. Thanks for the little bit of history.

    Jocelyn @ http://justalittlesouthernhospitality.blogspot.com

  6. Hello Ruth,
    What an interesting post you have for us today and how extraordinary that the SS Governor and Titanic both sank in April of 1912! I am amazed that they were able to clean up that china so well after it being underwater so long. Such good quality! Thank you for sharing and have a lovely day.


  7. Very interesting post! Have a lovely week!

  8. Lots of interesting info! I always love background info and this was certainly unique!

  9. What an interesting presentation, I am interested in this sort of thing and like to watch any programs on TV. Of course for you, the HL china made it even more enticing. Thanks for sharing an informative post.

  10. What an interesting story, amazing the china pieces survived, thanks for sharing that...

  11. Just fascinating, Ruth!! I am intrigued by underwater archeology, history and the glimpse of 'daily life' we get to see when discovering artifacts. Thanks for sharing this- bet you enjoyed the lecture. The Ferndale pattern is lovely. Have a great week,

  12. Facsinating story!! Hail to the china. I wonder what they used to clean it... Ruthie from Lady B's

  13. So neat to hear of this story. Wonderful to know how our treasures live on.

    - The Tablescaper

  14. Oh that is fascinating! Sad though to think of those people who did not survive, and the two little children.
    Homer L. china has lovely patters. I have always meant to learn more about that company.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

  15. Hi Ruth: You are always so full of information. I love reading your blog. Homer Laughlin was my mother's china, that I gave to my daughter. It is always great to learn more. Blessings, Martha

  16. Goodness what a story Ruth! And just below me in Puget Sound. Gosh I do wish sunken ships were left alone. It always feels like they are the graves of people and should be preserved. (And I do scuba dive.) Maybe I'm just being a romantic. Thank you for bringing this story to me. :)

  17. Amazing story - I'll have to check - I might have that pitcher! So delighted you shared with A Return to Loveliness and appreciate you hosting,

  18. What an awesome post! I love Homer Laughlin anyway, but this history, the wreck site, the cleaned-up pieces ... it's just amazing!

  19. WELL better late than never! Thank you for hosting!

    I just went ahead and shared a little older post - just added my pink teacup with a bunny in it for this party- even though Easter is over I thought it should join in for the fun. Hope that's ok!?!

    TY so much for your amazing posts - I am always soooo much smarter after reading them. You are SO interesting and have so many neat things to share.

    Seeing those artifacts is something else- thank you!

  20. Hi Ruth....great post, so interesting. I have to agree with Michele. I can't wait for your posts as I always learn so much.
    Thanks for the work you put into your blog.


Thanks for visiting and we love to hear from you! We read every comment. If my husband's health permits, I love to visit andreply. Have a wonderful day and a cuppa tea always at hand! :)


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