Q: I have a set of china pieces that belonged to my mother. The pieces are marked “Smith Phillips Semi Porcelain.” The set includes a large pitcher and basin, a large covered urn, two smaller pitchers and a small covered bowl. The set has no cracks or chips, but the original chamber pot does not match the rest of the set. Can you tell me something about the company that made it and when it was made?
A: Many “wash” sets like yours were made before indoor plumbing was common. Since there was no running water, a pitcher, wash basin and chamber pot with lid were kept on a washstand in the bedroom. A complete set could include a toothbrush holder, soap holder and other small items. Smith Phillips China Co. made toilet ware, dinnerware and specialty items. The company was founded by Josiah T. Smith and William H. Phillips in East Liverpool, Ohio, in 1901. It became part of American Chinaware Corp. in 1929 and went out of business in 1931. Complete matched sets with six pieces sell for about $200 or more, depending on the pattern and maker.