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Manhattan Beach and the Metlox Dog

Mar 30, 2011 by Lisa Newton

Oh, how times have changed. What used to be a factory is now an outdoor food pavilion.

If you walk down Manhattan Beach Boulevard within blocks of the Manhattan Pier, you can’t help but notice the big red dog public art sculpture entitled, Metlox Dog. From the looks of it, this artwork is a favorite for young children. In fact, just passing by it would entice kids to climb onto it.

Named after the company that used to occupy the factory space, Metlox–which is a combination of “metal” and “oxide”–was the brainchild of T.C. Prouty, a Michigan born inventor, engineer and scientist.

In 1927, Metlox opened and initially produced outdoor ceramic signs, but the Depression and the death of Prouty in 1931, caused a total reorganization.

A year later, Prouty’s son reopened the doors with the new specialty of vibrant and unique dinnerware production. The first limited line of Metlox dinnerware, “California Pottery,” was produced in 1932 and manufactured in bright colored glazes.

Another of their China patterns was “Poppytrail,” which was introduced in 1934. Besides the fact the poppy and California are often synonymous, Metlox used locally mined talc–and most of the metallic oxides used in production were mined in California.

Sears used to also sell the Metlox exclusive design entitled “Mission Bell,” which was a pastel-colored line of tableware and kitchen essentials.

In the late 1930s, seeking artistic talent, Prouty retained artist, Carl Romanelli, who designed and still holds the patents for various glassware and pottery. He was the first Metlox designer who created the “Metlox Miniatures,” which is the model for the public artwork seen above.

Over the next few decades, Metlox continued to create and design dinnerware, but in 1989, they closed up shop permanently.

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