Manufacturer: Syracuse China
Pattern name: Webster #92601
User: El Tovar
Date of gravy boat: 1974
Notes: Webster is a popular Syracuse China stock pattern that is easily confused with another Syracuse pattern, Calhoun. Refer to the Webster entry for more information.
In addition to other venues, Webster has been used for many years at El Tovar, one of the Fred Harvey-operated hotels that sits on the rim of the Grand Canyon and is a former Harvey House. Since Syracuse China closed in 2009, it is not known if El Tovar is still using the china or for how much longer their inventory of it will meet the restaurant's needs.
According to the Wikipedia, El Tovar was "operated by the Fred Harvey Company in conjunction with the Santa Fe Railway" and sits "at the northern terminus of the Grand Canyon Railway, which was formerly a branch of the Santa Fe." El Tovar is still open today (2020).
About Fred Harvey
Fred Harvey was well known in the last quarter of the 19th century and during the 20th century for his railroad eating houses, many of which went by the name Harvey House. The restaurants – said to be the first chain – provided prompt service and high-quality food for incoming rail passengers. Eventually Harvey provided dining car and hotel service as well.
From the wikipedia: "Fred Harvey, a fastidious innkeeper, set high standards for efficiency and cleanliness in his establishments, personally inspecting them as often as possible. It was said that nothing escaped his notice, and he was even known to completely overturn a poorly-set table."
"It has been suggested that the Harvey Houses originated the 'blue-plate special,' a daily low-priced complete meal served on a blue-patterned china plate; an 1892 Harvey menu mentions them, some thirty years before the term became widespread. In addition to the Santa Fe, the Harvey Company operated dining facilities for the Gulf Coast and Santa Fe Railway, the Kansas Pacific Railway, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, and the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis."
Harvey died in 1901, but his Fred Harvey Company continued to 1968 under the management of his sons and grandson, when it was sold to Amfac Inc.
For more info:
Fred Harvey – Harvey Paisley by Bauscher Brothers
Fred Harvey – Denmark by Syracuse China
Fred Harvey – 4300 Series by Syracuse China
Fred Harvey – Encanto by Syracuse China
Webster by Syracuse China
Berkeley by Syracuse China
Catalog page contributed by Larry Paul
Photo contributed by Susan Phillips