Q: I would like to know the start and stop dates when items were marked “People’s Republic of China,” “Occupied Japan” and “U.S. Zone” (on German china).
A: The presence of a country name on a piece of china helps date the piece. After the passage of the McKinley Tariff Act in 1891, china and other goods imported into the United States had to be marked with the country of origin. However, only one piece of a set of china had to be marked and some pieces were marked with a paper label, which could easily fall off. The mark “Made in [name of country]” usually means the item was made after 1915. Beginning in 1921, the country name had to be written in English. At the end of World War II, some new marks were used. The words “Occupied Japan” indicate that a piece was made in Japan between 1947 and 1952, when Allied forces occupied the country after World War II. Items marked “U.S. Zone” were made in Germany between 1945 and 1949, when Germany was divided into four Allied occupation zones. The People’s Republic of China was established on Oct. 1, 1949, and is still in existence.