poetry and prose about place

Tomato Ware

with 17 comments

One of my favorite collections is my odd set of bright orange-red Tomato Ware dishes.

Tomato Ware

They are usually marked ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ or ‘Made in Japan’ and were made in the late 1940s and the 1950s.  Two of my pieces are marked Maruhon Ware (with a K surrounded by a circle).  Maruhon Ware was made from the 1920s to 1950s.  ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ means the piece was made from 1945 to 1952.

maker's mark

The pieces in my collection are shaped like tomatoes (I have one set of salt and peppers shaped like long peppers).  They are glazed pottery, coloured in an over-bright green and an orangy red.  Most have green leaves as decorations, clasping the base of handles or teapot spouts.  My collection is in good shape, the only flaws being a large chip out of the spout of one teapot and a broken handle on one creamer.

Tomato Ware teapots

three Tomato Ware teapots (the green apples and the larger salt and pepper shakers, 2nd and 3rd from right, are modern pieces)


I have:

2 jam pots

2 cups/tumblers

3 teapots (one marked with the K surrounded by a circle)

3 pair cream and sugars

1 pair cream and sugar with a tray, and one lone creamer

1 set of salt and peppers

1 set of salt and papers with a tray

1 set of salt and peppers on a tray with a basket handle  (belonged to my mother)

1 lone salt shaker

1 set of pepper-shaped salt and peppers

2 tea cups and saucers (both marked Maruhon Ware)

Mom's salt and pepper shakers

The dishes are very bright and provide an accent color for my very green living room.

Tomato Ware collection a


Do you have any pieces of Tomato Ware?


Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

17 Responses

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  1. I collect tomato ware and have never met another! I’m attempting to date some Maruhon Ware tea cups as I’ve just gotten a new tea set. I have about 11 that have 2 leaves at the base with “Japanese Patten Pending” and a patten number. Then the new 6 which are a hair larger all around, have a smoother finish, thicker pottery and one leaf. Do you have a resource for dating within the Maruhon Ware pieces?
    I also have many pieces from other manufacturers and countries. Perhaps my favorites are Czech! I have a weakness for this “tomato red” in all things Czech!


    Brenda Hopkins

    September 11, 2015 at 9:04 am

  2. My Mom has a dark green “relish dish”? With 2 red tomatoes on it. It is solid leaves and has no indentions for sugar and creamer. Marked Maruhon with K inside circle and says Made in Japan. I have looked online but have not seen one like it in any of the pictures. Do you know anything about it?



    August 18, 2015 at 1:20 am

    • Hi. I don’t have one like this and I haven’t seen one either. With the stamps on the base, it sounds like it has the same origins. I love the colour and history of these. Jane


      jane tims

      August 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm

  3. Hi! I purchased a teapot set of tomato ware yesterday, and have been trying to date them. They are not marked Maruhon, but say “Made in Japan” in a circular shape surrounding an asterisk symbol. Would you happen to have any idea of approximately when they would have been made? It is a teapot, creamer pitcher, and sugar bowl, all with the same mark. Thank you for your time!



    August 20, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    • Hi. I don’t know. If it is marked ‘Made in Occupied Japan’, it was probably made between 1945 and 1952. Your set was likely made before 1945. The symbol inside the circle you mention is likely a ‘K’. You could try looking for articles on-line about ‘Marumon history’ to see if you can find a set that looks like yours. Good luck! Jane


      jane tims

      August 20, 2014 at 9:51 pm

  4. We have a couple of pieces of the bright red orange tomato dishware. We have a teapot which is marked Made in Japan. And we have the long pepper looking salt and pepper shaker, which is marked Made in Occupied Japan. We we’re wondering how much they might be worth. Do you know?


    Donna Pyle

    May 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    • Hi. I only know what I have paid for these items over the years. Lately, I have seen teapots for $40 and not long ago I bought a pair of small (1″ diameter) salt and pepper shakers for $30. Personally, I think the Made In Occupied Japan are more interesting but I don’t know if this translates to value. I think they might be more valuable in the States than here in Canada. Enjoy your pieces! Jane


      jane tims

      May 16, 2014 at 11:12 am

  5. I have never seen or heard of Tomato Ware until I read your post! It is very cheerful looking. Do you use it at all or is it mainly for display? What made you begin to collect it? Will have to keep an eye open for a piece in shops around here.


    Barbara Rodgers

    February 19, 2013 at 10:12 am

    • Hi Barbara. It’s mostly for display. I don’t often use older dishes since I am afraid they may contain lead. I started collecting because I liked a piece my Mom had (salt and pepper set on a little tray). I like the colors and the natural theme. I imagine you will see it once you start to look. Jane


      jane tims

      February 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

  6. What a fun collection! I;ve never seen anything like many of them. I love the bright colors.



    February 19, 2013 at 12:00 am

    • Hi Sheryl. I’m glad you like the collection! I wonder if you have any of the dishes Helena would have used. Jane


      jane tims

      February 20, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      • I have some dishes that I got after she died. I think they all are from the 1930-1950 era. They are ones that the family would have had when my father was young. One dish is a fruit bowl that sits on my kitchen counter–and almost always has bananas or other fruit in it.



        February 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      • Hi. You are lucky to have these, and smart to use them. I love having items that I know were used by members of my family. So little survives! Jane


        jane tims

        February 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm

  7. How glorious! – I have never seen any tomato ware over here.



    February 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    • Hi Diana. They were probably made for an American post-war market. They are pretty and I still notice the color after all these years of looking at them. Jane


      jane tims

      February 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm

  8. No I haven’t any but after seeing yours, I wish I did. They are cheerful and interesting. Thanks for sharing photos of your collection.


    Carol Steel

    February 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    • Hi Carol. They are quite cheery and form a splash of color for my living room. I still see them at yard sales occasionally and there is always a piece at any antique store. A bit of red in all the snow!!!! Jane


      jane tims

      February 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm

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