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Object: Bowl

This image is Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence.

Title Bowl
Production Crown Lynn Potteries Ltd (manufacturer(s)), circa 1943, Auckland
Medium summary Vitrified porcelain
Materials ceramic
Classification bowls, ceramics
Technique firing
Dimensions Overall: 70mm (Height) x 155mm (Width) x 155mm (Depth)
Credit line Purchased 1995
Registration number CG002430

Thiscereal bowl was one of tens of thousands produced for the American servicemen serving in New Zealand and the Pacific during World War II.

Crown Lynn

New Zealand manufacturer Crown Lynn was deemed an essential industry during the war. The company was alerted to the opportunity to provide plates, bowls, and mugs for the Americans.These had to be strong enough to withstand harsh treatment, particularlyonboard ships where they were almost shovelled into huge dishwashers. To achieve this, Crown Lynn made them from vitrified porcelain, which is fired at a higher temperature than earthenware and is much more robust.

Mass production

Crown Lynn had a very short timeframe to produce the thousands needed, but it gave the company the opportunity to get into mass-produced vitrified ware. Its factory wasn’t set up for mass production and there were huge gaps in the company's technical knowledge. But in a very short time, Crown Lynn developed a vitrified clay body, set up enough hand-operated jiggers to make the tableware, and built more kiln space to fire them in. The resulting bowls and mugs were not particularly nice to look at, but they were made on time and to the Americans’ specifications.

Americans in New Zealand

Around 100,000 American servicemen (and women as nurses) came to New Zealand between June 1942 and October 1944. They were accommodated in camps in the North Island.

When Japan entered the war in December 1941, the New Zealand Division was heavily engaged in North Africa. There were calls to bring the troops home to defend the country against possible invasion. But Britain was hard-pressed and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill requested the New Zealand Division remain in North Africa. So American troops were despatched to New Zealand instead, from where they could confront the Japanese in the Pacific. New Zealand provided a good source of supplies, a base for training and operations, and also somewhere to recuperate after battles.

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