As a descendent of German and Irish immigrants, my cultural background is complicated. For the Irish migrants of the 1890s, many were looking to assimilate to American culture, not perpetuate their own societal mores. As a result, there are few objects in my family that directly relate to an innate "irishness." However, willowware china has been used in my family for as long as I can remember. While it doesn't directly connect to either Irish or German legacies, it does illustrate a new, unique identity. Blue willowware, having originated in the United Kingdom in the late eighteenth century, connects American diners to the English culinary tradition.
These plates say much more about American values than they do any German/Irish ancestral tradition. In the style and narrative of the plates, a brief history of the world is shown, telling more than any other plate I can think of. The plates attempt to echo traditional Chinese porcelain themes and motifs. That said, the stylings are characteristically British. Perhaps this shows that despite our individual cultural backgrounds, there still exist certain facets of our society that harken back to an older time when individuals were not looking to emphasize their cultural heritage. Rather, they were looking to reflect their image of what America was. To many people, that image was British.
– Charlie McMahon