Manufacturer: Carr China Company
User: Eloise Insane Asylum and Poorhouse
Distributor: A.J. Marshall Company – Detroit
Date of pitcher: circa 1916 – 1952
Notes: There is no question that this pitcher with the simple script "Eloise" was used at the Eloise Insane Asylum and Poorhouse in Wayne County, Michigan. It was so large an institution that it had its own post office on the grounds, named for Eloise, the daughter of Detroit's postmaster in 1894, when the post office opened.
Eloise opened in 1839 and was known then as the Wayne County Poorhouse. It later added asylum and hospital facilities, closing in 1984. Now (2016), most campus buildings have been razed and in their place are condos, a golf course and strip mall.
Photos of the dining room show the same white pitchers on the tables, though they are not positioned to show the topmark. But it is hard to imagine that a second customer located in the Detroit area, as evidenced by the A. J. Marshall Co. backstamp, would have ordered Eloise-topmarked china. What is not known is what the 12 on the backstamp signified. It is not the catalog name or trade number (#245 Rocaille Pitcher, 36s, 1 pint, $12/dozen, decorated), and Carr did not begin production until 1916 so it couldn't be a date.
So well-known was the asylum that a film – due for release in 2017 – has been made by the name of "Eloise." Its plot: "Four friends break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate which will grant one of them a large inheritance. However, finding it soon becomes the least of their worries in a place haunted by dark memories."
Content: Susan and Ed Phillips