We know that the train plaque in this series must predate 1951, because it appears in W D John & Warren Baker's book 'Old English Lustre Pottery' (The Ceramic Book Company, 1951). But can we get further back?
Ian Holmes has a plaque from this group with a Crimean subject we'd expect to have been produced in the late 1850s.
Not only that... Founded in 1888, Eberhardts say they are the oldest antique shop and restorer in the US. That takes us back well beyond the 20th century Adams printed mark. Eberhardts have moved since the time of the repair. I e-mailed them and asked whether they could confirm the date of the move, and when staples stopped being used for repairs.
They couldn't have been more helpful, and even contacted Mr Eberhardt to answer my questions. Here's what they said.
That is definitely an Eberhardt's repair job. Harry Eberhardt was the only China repairer/restorer to use double silver staples for repairs. The idea is that the double silver staple is stronger with less thickness or protrusion than a single staple. You'll also notice that the staples are somewhat recessed into the porcelain, also for less protrusion.
Harry Eberhardt moved from 213 S. 11th Street about 50 years ago.
Today I got a further response...
Mr Eberhardt says the staples went out of use in about 1950 and we moved from 11th street about 1956. The double staples were in use from 1888 or before. The Eberhardts sticker was in use for many years.
So not the news I was hoping for. I do, however, feel I've learnt a bit in the process. Thanks to Jonathan Novak at Eberhardts for all his help.
Though this doesn't doesn't take us back beyond the 1930s, when the Adams Pottery repros were likely produced, it does add to the weight of circumstantial evidence. Would someone go to the trouble of repairing an object that was barely 20 years old?
I'll leave you with a final Eberhardt's link to browse...