Manufacturer: Syracuse China
User: Statler Hotel
Date of dresser tray: 1942
Notes: Ellsworth M. Statler worked his way up from humble beginnings to become the best-known and most innovative hotelman of his day. His Statler hotels were located in Buffalo (1908, replaced in 1923), Cleveland (1912), Detroit (1915), St. Louis (1917), New York (Hotel Pennsylvania, 1919), and Boston (1927). Following his death in 1928, the Statler Company also established hotels in Pittsburgh (Hotel William Penn, 1938), Washington (1943), Los Angeles (1952), Hartford (1954) and Dallas (1956).
In October 1954, Conrad Hilton of the Hilton Hotel Corporation bought the Statler chain for $111 million, which was then the largest U.S. real estate transaction in history. After the sale, most of the hotels continued to operate for a time under the name Statler Hilton; the sole remaining original Statler hotel still operated by Hilton is the Capitol Hilton in Washington.
Statler marketed his hotels as being affordable yet luxurious. At a time when hotels were firmly divided into those serving the commercial traveler and those catering to leisure travelers, Statler's hotels successfully catered to both segments. He developed what was termed the Statler Plumbing Shaft, which enabled his hotels all to have a separate bathroom for each guest room, which was a first, as well as being the first to offer a radio in every room. Statler was also among the first hotel operators to offer television in each room and to utilize such innovations as circulating ice water and the Servidor.
Statler's legacy lives on many ways, including the Statler Hotel at the hotel management school at Cornell, of which he was a generous supporter and credited with making it the leading hotel management school in the world, and the Alice Statler Library and Statler Wing of the City College of San Francisco, as well as the Statler Foundation, which provides millions of dollars in scholarships and research grants.
Early in Statler's career (1896), he opened a large restaurant in Buffalo which came to the brink of failure and bankruptcy. He was able to turn the restaurant around in a few years primarily through the force of his substantial will and also by making deals with his creditors. One of the creditors who worked with him was the Onondaga Pottery Company and their distributor; in gratitude, Statler always furnished their hotels with Syracuse China.
Statler, America's Extraordinary Hotelman by Floyd Miller (New York, Statler Foundation, 1968)
Light gray dresser tray with green/gray lettering reading Statler.