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Vintage Iroquois China & Ben Seibel "Impromptu" Cup & Saucer - Set of 7

Vintage Iroquois China & Ben Seibel "Impromptu" Cup & Saucer - Set of 7

$125.00

Beginning in the 1950s, the great American commercial china manufacturer Iroquois China Company, joined forces with the prolific industrial designer Ben Seibel, to create several hugely successful lines of dinnerware for the retail market. One of those dinnerware lines was named "Impromptu" and was designed with all the hallmarks of the mid-century modern aesthetic: streamlined, modern silhouettes and eye-catching graphic decorations. 

Dating from 1956, we are so pleased to offer this stylish set of 7 cups and saucers designed by Ben Seibel for Iroquois China. The sleek curves of each piece are rendered in Iroquois' sturdy, creamy white fine china and the iconic mid-century shapes are decorated in the "Stellar" pattern of layered starbursts and "galactic dust" in cool gray and warm rust hues.

Sure to inspire, the hopeful optimism and stylish pedigree of these dynamic cups and saucers will bring the spirit of their era to your home today. 


Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. Cups are 4"D (5" wide including handle) x 2.75"H. Saucers measure 6"D. In excellent, unused condition.

Learn More About Ben Seibel

Ben Seibel was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1918. He and his two sisters were raised by a mother who supported the family sewing clothing for dolls, then fashioning and sewing dresses for women.  Her success enabled the family to move to Manhattan where she opened a shop in Greenwich Village, selling her own jewelry designs.  

Ben was an accomplished musician, playing piano as well as saxophone, clarinet, oboe, and flute. He started his education at Columbia University, studying painting and sculpture. He then became interested in industrial design and attended Pratt Institute. World War II interrupted his studies, and he spent almost four years in the Air Force. After the war, he worked briefly on the design staffs at Raymond Spilman and Morris Sanders. In 1947, he started his own design firm, which he operated until his death in 1985 at the age of 67. 

Early in his career, he was asked by the financially ailing Roseville Pottery to design a line for them that would revive sales. His design was popular, but unfortunately it was not able to save the company. It did, however, make a name for him in the design world. In the decades that followed, he produced an extremely large body of work, designing for a wide-range of companies including American Can, Fostoria Glass, Haeger Pottery, Henry & Miller Industries, Mikasa, Oneida, Oxford Hall Silversmiths, Pfaltzgraff, Roseville Pottery, Stand-Built Upholstery Corp. and Steubenville Glass, to name but a few.

His output was prolific and varied and included fine china, stoneware, pottery, flatware, cookware, ashtrays, glassware, wood accessories, metal accessories, furniture, clocks, electric food warmers, lamps, textiles, tea kettles, and even plastic cutlery for Dixie Cup and children’s tableware for Campbell’s Soup.

Seibel designed four lines of tableware for Iroquois China Company: Impromptu in 1956, Informal in 1958, Inheritance in 1959 and Intaglio in 1964. Each line had its own uniquely shaped pieces. Within each line, there were sets employing numerous decal patterns, as well as accent pieces in solid white or white undersides with a color on the top, which are referred to simply as Accent. Because he was so prolific, even the most knowledgeable collectors find it difficult to catalog all his work with complete certainty.

Learn More About Iroquois China Company

Iroquois China Company was founded in 1905 and quickly outgrew its original premises, moving swiftly into the former home of the Syracuse China Company. Indeed, within five years of opening, the flourishing producer had created quite a stir among the fledgling American hospitality industry which noted that "china made in this part of New York is found on the tables of a large proportion of the best hotels in the country.”

By 1930 the company was producing a staggering 4.5 million pieces annually. Nearly every hotel or restaurant from coast-to-coast served their fare on Iroquois plates. A peerless reputation for high quality extended overseas, making the company one of America's first international manufacturing success stories. 

Times and tastes change, and the great Iroquois China Company eventually closed their doors in 1969 closing a chapter in American china manufacturing.

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