Manufacturer: Syracuse China and Maddock Pottery
User: Hotel Cape May
Distributor: John Wanamaker, Philadelphia, PA
Date: circa 1908
Notes: The eight-story, 350-room, 150-bath Hotel Cape May of Cape May, New Jersey opened April 11, 1908. It was built for the Cape May Real Estate Company at a cost of $1,235,000 and was part of a real estate development on the east end of the city.
The massive lobby contained two fireplaces, simulated marble paired columns, a terrazzo tile floor, cast iron stair railing and a stained glass dome skylight above the entrance. The target customers were people wealthy enough to appreciate the stock market ticker installed in the hotel. The large dining room, off the lobby, contained an entire wall of windows topped with stained glass arches.
In the real estate business, it is all about location, and this was a drawback for the Hotel Cape May. The location, facing the beach was fine, but to partake of any activities in the center of downtown Cape May or to use the train station, you would need to travel about a mile. A few of the surrounding summer mansions were built, but this summer hotel never really caught on with vacationers.
In February 1918, during WWI, the hotel was taken over by the U.S. Army and converted to Army Hospital #11, for use by wounded troops returning from the battlefields in Europe. At the time the hotel was acquired by the Army an inventory of every item in the facility was taken. The list of china on this inventory gives a good idea of the amount of china needed in a hotel this size. The inventory lists the amount of each item as well as its value and a total value for each.
CHINA INVENTORY LIST – ITEM, AMOUNT, PRICE, TOTAL
Wash Pitcher 57 $10.00 $47. 50
Wash Bowls 55 $10.00 $45.83
Chambers 41 $13.00 $47.15
Waste Jars 44 $24.00 $88.00
Soap Cups 43 $6.00 $21.50
Mugs 69 $7.20 $41.40
Butter Chips 131 $1.20 $13.10
Gravy Boats 20 $9.00 $15.00
Cups 183 $3.25 $49.56
Plates 510 $6.00 $255.00
Saucers 228 $2.65 $50.35
Platter 56 $18.00 $84.00
Soup Plate 136 $6.00 $68.00
Dessert Saucers 151 $2.00 $25.17
Water Pitchers 18 $8.00 $12.00
Covered Dishes 48 $18.00 $72.00
Sugar Bowls 5 $5.00 $2.09
Egg Holders 44 $3.00 $11.00
Gravy Bowls 66 $9.00 $49.50
Watch Holders 162 $4.95 $66.83
Candle Holders 255 $3.00 $58.75
Slop Jars 3 $10.00 $2.50
Water Pitchers 292 $8.00 $194.67
Soup Plates, Large 350 $4.00 $116.66
Soup Plates, Small 271 $3.10 $70.01
Meat Platters, Large 363 $24.00 $726.00
Meat platters, Small 78 $16.00 $104.00
Vegetable Dishes 150 $3.20 $40.00
Bouillon Cups 297 $4.25 $105.19
Plates, Large 175 $4.25 $61.98
Plates, Small 55 $3.75 $17.19
Cups, china 90 $0.85 $6.37
Gravy Pitchers – China 3 $1.15
Custard Cups 27 $1.50 $3.38
Sauce Dishes 40 $3.25 $10.83
Saucers 34 $1.65 $4.68
In addition to the above inventory, there is another page with soup plates, platters, vegetable dishes, bullion cups, large and small plates listed, but the copy is illegible. In some cases, these items number more than 200 pieces. The duplication of items listed, indicates that the same item was found in different locations throughout the hotel when the inventory was taken. The 4,550 pieces in the military inventory of china represented a total value of $2,587.47 at that time.
The Army inspector's report on the condition of the Hotel Cape May when it was taken over mentions, among other things, "almost uninhabitable." "Hotel kitchen equipment had been left without cleaning after last meal served 2 years before (1916). Refrigerators contained remnants of decayed meats, etc." For this the Government paid $ 8,250.00 per month in rent.
The Army lease ended August 4, 1919. In 1932, the Hotel Cape May was renamed The Admiral and in 1963, the hotel was renamed the Christian Admiral.
1908 Syracuse China Catalog
National Archives: Information on General Hospital #11 during WWI
Syracuse – detail photo only
White body with band border, topmarked in coin gold with a two-part shield, featuring the top of a lighthouse and three shells above it. The shield is flanked by sea creatures and a mermaid on a torse ribbon bar sits atop the shield. Banner curved below with "Hotel Cape May."
Maddock – matchstand
The Maddock Pottery Co. also produced this pattern. In the photos slideshow above, we've added a handsome matchstand with the Wanamaker backstamp as a complete image of the hotel's china that is unmarked as to manufacturer. However, we asked Larry Paul's opinion and he took the time to examine the pattern and shape detail-by-detail, and it's fascinating to see what he sees that the rest of us might miss:
"Based on three clues, I think the match holder/ashtray is a Maddock product rather than Syracuse.
- 1 – The Shape. I looked on WorthPoint for Syracuse "ashtray" and "match holder" and did not see any with the rectangular matchbox holder shape. They were all what is listed in the 1914 Syracuse catalog as the round "Empire" shape. The 1914 Syracuse catalog only shows this one match holder shape. I think this is the Maddock/Scammell "Regular Hooded" shape. It is shown in the 1917 Maddock catalog as photo 955. In the 1931 Scammell catalog it is photo 179. The Lamberton item has a slightly raised rectangular frame line, which, I think, shows at the top of the Hotel Cape May piece.
- 2 – The Scroll frame. I found an example in my ashtray photo files of another Maddock match holder that is decorated with the same scroll frame design.
- 3 – The Crest. When I went back to the 1914 Syracuse catalog and took a closer look at their Hotel Cape May logo, I noticed several details that differ from what is on this match holder. The mermaid is holding different items in her arms, and the arms are in different positions. The fish are fatter and the lighthouse rays are different. There are scrolls emerging from the bottom of the scroll, which are not on the china piece.
Wanamaker was a supplier of both Maddock and Syracuse, so that is not of any help with identity. I wonder if Wanamaker split the original Hotel Cape May order between Syracuse and Maddock? Because it was a summer operation only open about 6 weeks per year, and it was closed for a number of years, I don't think there would have been enough breakage to have ever required a china reorder."
ID and photos contributed by Larry Paul