Vintage Style

Let’s Dish It Out #1: Adams English Ironstone Empress

Do you love collecting, learning, sharing, pinning and talking about all kinds of vintage dishes and china? Then “Let’s Dish It Out!” Grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea and come on over for a weekly coffee social or (tea party if you prefer!)  This isn’t a linky party, so you don’t need a blog to participate. Instead it is just a simple way to connect with others who are passionate about vintage dishes and have the “dish gene!” I will share a new post about vintage dishes and you can join in the fun any time! Simply leave your thoughts in the comment section about the post I have shared, or share a link to your own blog, Instagram photo, Etsy shop if you sell dishes, or any other blog or website with great dishes! For even more fun, join my “Let’s Dish It Out” Pinterest GROUP BOARD and pin away! I will be blogging about my own collections or featuring another collector’s dishes, or maybe even an informational post about a certain line of vintage dishes. For a special treat I will be having a monthly guest blogger to dish it out right here at Follow The Yellow Brick Home! If you would like to be a guest blogger or have a fantastic dish collection to share, be sure to comment!

Any style of vintage or antique dishes from every era are welcome for discussion! I collect all kinds of dishes, but ironstone is definitely my favorite so there will be plenty of ironstone showing up in this series. Each Wednesday I participate in the fabulous #ironstonewednesdays hashtag party on Instagram, so I figured why not just turn what I am sharing or inspired by into a post here? For today’s post I will be dishing out my Adams English Ironstone Empress collection!

Adams Real English Ironstone Micratex Wedgwood Group Empress

Collecting ironstone came about in the same way most of my other collections started. Let me explain the simple process of hoarding collecting. When I am out junking I will stumble across some trinket or treasure that speaks to me. Before too long I end up finding another one or two similar treasures or trinkets for extremely cheap, (strangely it has happened in the same day at a completely different yard sale or shop)  and a collection begins!

Vintage Adams English Ironstone Pitchers

Here are my very first ironstone pieces. I found these two “old white English pitchers” as I called them at the time, for $1 each and it was love at first sight. Like most love stories, I had no idea of the lifelong romance that would grow and blossom, but I just had good feeling about my finds! They are Adams pieces, but much older than the Empress collection I am sharing today.

Each of the pitchers had a simple mark on the bottom. I began researching and I was instantly hooked! I found out all about ironstone, the various makers, how pieces were made, sold and marketed and used.  I love history so I enjoy researching all about dishes and antiques of any kind.

Now 10 years later, ironstone of all shapes, colors and sizes can be found all around our home. For about a month I have been doing an inventory to see just how many pieces I have, and I have found it to be much easier to divide my hoard into categories and to concentrate on what pieces I have that are part of a set. The inventory process is taking some time! For today’s post however I will be focusing on my Adams Empress “Micratex.” Most of my Empress collection is styled in a fun display on top of the refrigerator. We recently made some changes to our kitchen which gave me a chance to re-organize some of my ironstone to other cabinets and shelves. It was getting a bit dangerous up there with the leaning tower of ironstone nearly reaching the ceiling!

I now have the Empress plates and bowls neatly (and safely) displayed on a double-tiered cake stand.

According to my inventory I currently have 7 dinner plates, 8 salad plates, 14 bowls, 7 teacup saucers, 7 mugs (teacups), 1 creamer and 1 sugar bowl in the Empress collection.

Cute collection of ironstone mugs mug rack coffee station ironstone collection Adams Ironstone

A few mugs are hanging on a thrifted wooden mug rack that I recently gave a quick makeover with Americana Decor DecoArt Chalk Paint. I love to display the mugs with the Adams stamp outward for a little visual interest.  Sometimes the stamp is my favorite part of an antique dish!

Adams Empress Micratex Ironstone dishes

The Empress collection is very simple and makes an elegant table setting. It looks so pretty and crisp in the summer, but also perfectly “winter white” for the holidays. It was released in 1963 and I definitely can recognize the retro design of that was a “modern” look at the time. Adams no longer produced ironstone past 1966 and became part of the Wedgwood Group from that time on.

Nice collection of Adams English Ironstone and Johnson Brothers Ironstone Farmhouse Kitchen Vignette rolling pin

Even though the Adams Empress is from the 1960’s it blends right in with the older Johnson Brother’s ironstone dishes which are stacked just to the left of the cake stand. The beauty of collecting ironstone is that no matter the age or maker, all of it blends together beautifully when displayed as a collection.

The sugar bowl and creamer pictured here on the top shelf of the open cabinet above our coffee station are both from the Adams Empress Micratex collection, but the pitcher isn’t. For years I thought the pitcher was part of that set because I bought all three pieces together at a yard sale. It wasn’t until I started on my inventory that I realized it was a Meakin pitcher. Many of the ironstone manufacturers were competitors and some styles were very popular and similar so most collectors prefer to display them together. The beauty of collecting all white/off-white/ivory dishes is the make stunning displays no matter the specific collection or age. The more, the merrier! I also love how easy it is to add pops of color or seasonal accents to my ironstone displays. This is a picture from last year but I am definitely ready to “begin” my fall decorating now!

To find out more about Adams ironstone, click here.

Are you ready to dish it out? Leave a comment here on the blog or make a comment on any photo in the  Let’s Dish It Out Group Board to be a contributor to the group! Join me next week for “Let’s Dish It Out #2” to see how I will be using ironstone in my fall decor! Can’t wait to “dish it out” with you!

Want more inspiring ideas?
Sign up for a weekly highlights newletter with all the latest posts!
Your email is always protected.

Vintage Charm Party

Thursday Favorite Things

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply Jann olson

    Amber, I love your collection!! Ironstone is timeless. I don’t run across it very often. Bought a boxful once for $20. Only found a couple pieces since. I love the marking on dishes as well.

    August 31, 2017 at 1:09 am
    • Reply Amber Lyon Ferguson

      I was looking over your Instagram feed and you definitely have an awesome collection of dishes. Love all the jadeite and pyrex, and transferware. I consider transferware to be ironstone too. I used to come across ironstone all the time. Now it’s a rare treat but I do get lucky from time to time. Thanks for visiting Jann!

      August 31, 2017 at 1:21 am
  • Reply Pam (idratherbejunkin)

    Amber, great article. I will definitely be checking back each week for a ‘lesson’! I’ve not been able to find much ironstone while thrifting. But I also know it’s not always marked so not really sure how to identify it. However, Ive got a nice, I mean.. collection of vintage plates, dishes, and transfer ware started and I’m anxious to learn more about them

    August 31, 2017 at 2:46 am
    • Reply Amber Lyon Ferguson

      Hi Pam! So glad you found the post! This is definitely the place to find out about Ironstone! You are an A+ thrifter and I love seeing all of your finds. I am sure you have some great dishes to share too! Some of the ironstone simply isn’t marked because it is either too old or from a small company or individual maker. That topic will definitely be covered here in more detail in the future. Are you on Pinterest? If so be sure to join the board and pin some of your great dishes! Thanks for stopping by!

      August 31, 2017 at 3:02 am
  • Reply Cecilia

    Your ironstone collection is lovely! I had to laugh when I saw your title, I’ve started many of my posts, “Hello, I’m Cecilia…and I’m a dishaholic!” Thanks so much for sharing @Vintage Charm–pinned!

    September 3, 2017 at 2:07 am
    • Reply Amber Lyon Ferguson

      Thank you! I know there are so many of us out there! Maybe you can do a guest post some time! See you next week at Vintage Charm!

      September 3, 2017 at 4:23 am
  • Reply Jaybird

    Wonderful post!! I found you today on a google search for Adams Empress :^) My favorite pattern and one of our everyday dishes. I have a number of pieces of this pattern, and my current search was for cereal bowls. My last one bit the dust yesterday 🙁 and they are not all that easy to find!
    Now I will go back and read your other “dishy” posts to see what else I can comment on a year later :^)

    July 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm
    • Reply Amber Lyon Ferguson

      Oh please do visit again soon! I hope to get caught back up on my vintage dishes series over the next few months. I have so many ironstone pieces to share!

      July 20, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.