Manufacturer: Syracuse China
User: The Pump Room – Ambassador East Hotel
Date of pitcher: 1941
Notes: Chicago hotelier and restaurateur Ernie Byfield, opened The Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel on October 1, 1938. Since then, The Pump Room became a Chicago Gold Coast landmark and endured for decades as a popular, highly-acclaimed restaurant.
Byfield's inspiration for The Pump Room came from Booth Tarkington's novel Monsieur Beaucaire, which highlighted Richard "Beau" Nash's ability to transform the dilapidated 18th Century spa of Bath, England into a fashionable resort for aristrocrats and actors to socialize and mingle.
Seeking to replace the dated Ambassador East dining room — described as having a funeral parlor atmosphere — Byfield hired Architect Sam Marx to create his own "celebrity palace." Limited only by his vision and the $35,000 bank loan secured by Byfield, Marx designed the lavish Pump Room. The old entrance was transformed with glazed doors and a large pump, and the room was filled with crystal chandeliers, white leather booths and two grand murals: one of the great 18th Century Actress Sarah Siddons, the other a portrait of Beau Nash. The adjectives used to describe the incomparable Pump Room after its opening, were exotic, glamourous, chic and glittering.
After Byfield's death in February 1950, the Ambassador Hotels Corporation opened other Bath-inspired venues, creating the Parade, named after the Bath public walk, the Beau Nash Club, done in royal purple, scarlet and gold colors, and the Sarah Siddons Walk, reserved for private parties only.
In April 2010, the Ambassador East Hotel was purchased by hotelier Ian Ian Schrager and the Pump Room served its last meal at the end of 2010. In 2011, Schrager undertook a $25 million renovation to update the Chicago Gold Coast landmark, though it is unclear whether Schrager will keep the legendary Pump Room name or change the venue when the renovation is completed.
Sabers & Suites: The Story of Chicago's Ambassador East by Rick Kogan, RR Donnelley & Sons Company, Crawford, Indiana, 1983, pages 36-41
Ernie Byfield, Wikipedia
"New Ambassador East Hotel Owner Plans Revival," by Wailin Wong, Chicagobreakingnews.com, April 2, 2010
Econo-Rim white body, topmarked in blue with the Pump Room logo of a water pump within an oval line and the script initials "P" and "R" flanking the left and right sides of the water pump.
Photos contributed by Jackie