Saturday, February 18, 2012

I love Crown Lynn

If you think I have just divulged the ‘love of my life’ you are only partly correct. If you have no idea what, who, whatever Crown Lynn is then you have a choice--- you can learn by feasting your eyes on my blog or you can skip it, but I suggest you choose the former.
Most Kiwis over the age of forty will have come into contact with CL (Forgive me for the shortcut) and have no doubt compared it to the cheap crockery that now poses as ‘dinner ware.’  How many times have you dropped a piece of CL and been amazed that it didn’t break? How many of you have cursed at the nasty imports that chip as soon as they ‘touch’ another dish in your dishwasher?
Have you caught on now what I am talking about? Even my slightly older friends in parts of the USA know CL. You used to import it in the hazy past, before it became a victim of ---‘lets buy the cheaper crap’.
Crown Lynn is and was a New Zealand icon, employing about 1400 workers and artisans before its demise in the late 80’s. There would be very few homes in NZ that didn’t have at least few a pieces of CL. It featured as wedding gifts, Xmas presents and as a common everyday purchase. Many Aucklanders used to visit the factory shop to buy the ‘seconds.’
The CL storey has been written about in several books and in trade magazines. Where did it all begin? Like many successful companies, CL had a humble beginning as a manufacturer of field tiles, insulation units and various other products. After an amalgamation with neighbouring ventures, CL was born, along with its ‘made in New Zealand,’ logo. WW2 gave it a boost and the ‘protective era’ of the post war period added further impetus.
CL was innovative and its ‘specials department’ (possibly not the exact title) was responsible for thousands of examples that have now become very collectable. At one stage, CL was the largest producer of domestic wares in the Southern Hemisphere.
AS time has gone on, many Kiwis have a soft spot in their hearts for CL products. You can still see many examples, displayed proudly in china cabinets or shelves in thousands of homes. Furthermore, it is not hard to find CL still in use. Take me for example. I ridded myself of most of the imports (apart from English China of course) and now if I have a large gathering (and for everyday use) I serve my offerings on CL or Temuka (that, my friends is another wonderful story).
Now that I have started this quest to re-tell the CL storey, I hope I have piqued your interest and prodded your feelings of nostalgia.
The bad quality picture features some of the less common examples form the late 50’s and early 60’s.