Q: I have used a set of Franciscan Apple dishes for over 60 years and my mother used them before me. I have one 8-inch plate that is marked "this is my first piece of Franciscan Ware." Can you tell me when these dishes were first made and why "this is my first" is stamped on one?
A: Franciscan dinnerware was made by Gladding, McBean and Company of Glendale, California. Gladding, McBean was founded in 1875 and began selling dinnerware and art pottery under the name Franciscan Ware in 1934. Two of the most popular Franciscan patterns are Apple, introduced in 1940, and Desert Rose, introduced in 1941. They are both still being made. Franciscan became part of the Wedgwood Group in 1979 and production was moved to Staffordshire, England. A piece of Franciscan Ware was given to each girl graduating from high school in the Los Angeles area sometime in the 1940s-50s probably marked like yours. We have seen another Apple piece with the "this is my first" marking, a mug.