Autumn Leaf Collectibles®



Jewel Tea Company History

In 1899, with a horse, wagon, and $700 dollars in cash, Frank Skiff launched a business selling teas, coffee spices and extracts door to door.

Frank Ross, his brother in-law, joined, Skiff in 1901 and together started the Jewel Tea Company on the south side of Chicago.

In 1903, the first routes outside of Chicago were launched. In the year 1916, the business was established on a nationwide basis. Over a period of time, hundreds of routes were added all across the nation and the jewel route man became a welcome sight every two weeks, calling on his customers through out the neighborhoods.

In 1926 "The Jewel Lady" became known as Mary Dunbar. Mrs. Leaone Rutledge Carroll, Alias Mary Dunbar, joined the Jewel in the same year as the Director of the Jewel Homemaker's Institute. Their several great Mary Dunbar cookbooks, featuring recipes that were made with Jewel products, such as baking powder and spices. In 1933, the Autumn Leaf pattern China, manufactured by Hall, was introduced as a premium line for the Jewel Tea Company. Exciting new items were added yearly, and old ones were discontinued on a regular basis. The three piece mixing bowl set was originally the first premium offered in 1933 and it was so popular that it stayed in the line to the end of production in 1976. The Jewel In Home Shopping Service discontinued it's business operations in January 1981. Many routes are still in business, operated independently. The Autumn Leaf pattern dished with the Mary Dunbar Stamp on the back reads, "tested and approved" by Mary Dunbar, Jewel Homemakers Institute in the circle. The more common pieces of Autumn Leaf were produced for many years, however, the rare, short lived dishes are difficult to find and keep true collectors on the hunt for these special finds.

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