Marked 'MM Made in Japan'?

theglassylassyAugust 20, 2010

Can anyone help me identify what these little jars are for, and also what company produced them? My mother-in-law gave them to me to sell in my online store, but I am having a heck of a time finding anything about them! They are marked MM on the bottom and also have an "O" over the plugs that go inside them. I know that Noritake marked many of their items with a single "M" that looks a little like this, but I can find no evidence of any "MM" from them. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

A photo showing the mark:

A photo showing the black O and the tray they sit on:

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probably vinegar and oil. I have no idea who might have made them....there were and are so many potteries in Japan and sometimes the pieces were marked with what company or store imported them, it's hard to tell.
Most likely 70's or perhaps 80's.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 5:29PM
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There are a few other examples of this same rose chintz pattern marked with the MM on the internet. Replacements has a small category of dinnerware listed simply as MM Japan. No pictures are shown of the undersides on that site to see their marks.

I'm thinking Linda is right in the ballpark on the time frame of manufacture. Maybe a little earlier but not 'old' china by any stretch. I'm thinking as well it may be vinegar and oil cruets made for export. I am smiling, however, because I think the black O over the spout might was to identify the OIL cruet. And the other should have the black V but is also marked O. IOW you have two OIL cruets.

Mistakes like these were not so uncommon in cheaper exported items in the post war years when the markets were flooded with pottery items from Japan and aside from the very established makers like Moriyama and Noritake were not always quality controlled.

What also makes me wonder about this being a more mundane item is the MM mark. Moriyama used an M over M mark with a wreath. Their pottery was located in Mori-Machi Japan and that area is still associated with a high end potting business. It makes you wonder if the MM mark is not an effort to make people associate the ware with more prestigious companies and play off their names.

I hope you make a discovery and find out it's a valuable piece, but I also suspect the possibility is great it was produced by one of the many little potteries who represented economical Asian exports before China stepped in to be the major suppliers.

If you do find out any information on it's manufacturer, I love to see you share it with us so we'll know the next time we see it on an item. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 7:58PM
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Thanks for all the advice! I was thinking they could be an oil and vinegar set, but I just wasn't sure. Now that I'm searching for the right things, I am finding a few very similar sets on ebay and other places. They either don't mention any mark, or have a different mark than my set. Hmm.

I was thinking the pieces were considerably older because of the amount of crazing they have. Can pieces that are only from the 70's/80's really have that much?

I did find one complete set in a slightly different rose pattern but the exact same shape. They claimed the pieces were from the early 1900's, but showed absolutely NO proof of how they knew that or even what kind of markings they had. Pretty convenient for them since they're trying to get $100 for the set, huh? Anyway, that set also had a considerable amount of crazing like mine.

The double "O" thing is pretty hilarious. Must have been a mix up at the factory that day!

I guess I'll continue my research and try to get ahold of my mother-in-law to see if she remembers any more about where she got them and anything they might have told her. I'll post if I find more out. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Crazing, while common in older glazed pieces, also occurs in newer without other substantiation you can't use it alone in determining the age of a piece. It can happen right in the manufacturing process and show up later. It can happen if the pieces have been exposed to thermal shock as in not dishwasher safe. To be totally honest it is just a gut feeling that these pieces aren't all that old. The other pieces with that identical pattern and mark I found on the web were also the types of serving pieces commonly seen in the latter half of the 20th century. That being said, I did check out MM Japan on replacements. That site was totally devoid of any guesses as to manufacture date or information on the company. Since they didn't show the pottery marks, that leaves a question in my mind if it's even the same company but it could be. The photographs of the dinnerware they showed looked to be styles popular in earlier eras. The 'made in Japan' doesn't really tell you when it was made so much as when it wasn't. So, so far you can't really take anything we said to the bank as fact but more like probability.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:46AM
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