The "Carlton Ware" trademarked brand began in 1894. Made in Stoke-on-Trent, Carlton wares are one of the most collected by vintage lovers of the 1960s & 70s. The items tend to be quirky, bright and fun! The company made dishes, salt and pepper pots and money boxes among other things which were most often made to look like other objects.

An early example from the 1940/50s is a floral dish which also resembles a lettuce leaf and could well have been made to serve salad leaves at the tea table.

During the 50s and 60s stylish minimal shaped pottery was decorated with calligraphic lines as well as Atomic patterns in red and black.

Later a range with 
pineapple motifs was launched to tap into the exotic Tiki style which became very popular.

The company was renamed 'Carlton Ware Limited' in 1958 and in 1966 was sold to Arthur Wood and Sons. (This is interesting as Arthur Wood is another quirky brand making wonderful money boxes and gift wares which people love to collect.) 

By the 1970s, Carlton Ware Ltd could no longer afford to produce elaborate hand-painted items and changing fashions meant they launched a range of innovative, simple bright shapes and designs. Now, the business focussed it's attention upon making gift wares such as the 'walking' cups, teapots and sugar bowls, which were on legs with huge shoes! They also made a range of amazing Flower Power items such as the pin dish below.

There are many collectors of Carlton ware money boxes and cruet sets today. In the range are soldiers, policemen, 'Toff's' which includes a man in a top hat, pirates and princesses such as the fantastic money box above.  

The Carltonware bird shaped money box below is the most sought after design with it's Scandi styled shape and Flower Power patterning. This really is the piece de resistance in Carlton ware!

Many of the money boxes came in different colour ways, as you can see the bird also comes in blue and you'll notice below the horses came in several colours too....

Other money box shapes included cats, trains, trams and Noahs Ark. As we get these into stock we will feature them on this page. 

The little bug eyed frog money box with his psychedelic patterning above is a rarity from Carltonware.

Another great design brought out around the 70s was a salt and pepper set made in the shape of a ball, when separated each had an animal motif on, these included fish, owls and lions and competed with similar designs brought out by John Clappisson of Hornsea.

The ball shapes when separated, revealed superb animal designs....

Most often you'll find them in matching pairs, but sometimes with different animals, perhaps people could mix and match them?

The lion salt & pepper pots came with a brown or white glaze, but the same motif.

It was popular in the 70s for potteries to produce bird shaped ashtrays. Jersey Pottery and Hornsea were making them as well as Carltonware. Today we view these wonderful designs as ornaments, and it is hard to imagine stubbing a cigarette out on such a marvellous object. Quite rightly Carltonware birds like the one below are highly sought after and very, very rarely found. This makes them expensive to buy and something to hold on to.

Below... a collectable ash tray / dish with bright 1960/70s flower patterns, these were also made in blue.

A recent find which again is extremely rare, is this tray with salt and pepper pots and egg cups all in the shape of birds. The leaf designs on this set resemble much of the contemporary designs on the High Street, illustrating where today's designers are getting their ideas from! 

Below a sought after Carltonware Milkshake sugar bowl created around 1983 - I know this as I bought one at the time!

The company continued to manufacture items until the late 80s, when it went into receivership. The company was temporarily saved by Grosvenor Ceramic Hardware, however production finally ended in 1992. In 1997 the Carlton Ware brand was resurrected by Francis Joseph of the Carlton Ware Design Centre, Roslyn Works, Stoke-on-Trent. It now manufactures novelty items aimed at the collectors' market.

Information on this page will be updated as and when we learn more, and is based upon our current knowledge.

Carltonware in the yay retro! shop

Buy Carltonware on our website