11:39 AM

Why is there English Chinaware aboard the Arabia?
My response to Amanda’s email is, “Good question!” I wholeheartedly agree with you, “It cuts against the myth what I thought pioneers had.” This platter above is in my collection and not in the museum, but it is food for thought.
Remember, the collection highlights what consumers of all income levels wanted or needed and that makes it the best cross section of 1850s Americana. When I met, over the phone, one of the film producers in the Great Ships Series, Tim Enghart, I kept repeating that storekeepers were, “bringing eastern civilization west.” Like Dorthy says in the Wizard of OZ, "There is no place like home."
Consumer theorists have many paradigms why people buy what they do. 
Every consumers brings into the store his values, family background, religion, peers, schooling and early lifetime experiences. Storekeeper's can influence consumer's purchase decisions...

The English Platter above as an this example as an bringing eastern civilization west. It was manufactured by TJ & J Mayer and sold to ER & SA Filley of St. Louis. The back is stamped with “Manufactured and Imported for ER & SA Filley, St Louis, Mo.” This is an advertisement for the St Louis store and shows evidence that chinaware was directly exported from the North Staffordshire, England to St Louis without any eastern importer involved.

This specific pattern, “Rhone Scenery” according to one dealer on the internet was produced from 1843-1855.  It took several years before the pattern was sold out making it certainly one for sale when Arabia consignee’s were shopping in St Louis in 1856.

As we research the St Louis City Directories, we see in Green's 1845 City directory Giles F Filley was a china and queensware merchant at 149 North 1st Street, making this an early store before the 1848 St Louis fire. Most likely, soon after Giles opened his Excelsior Stove Works in 1849, Edward and Samuel took over the China and Queensware business and the stores' name changed to E A & SR Filley, Queensware Dealer (133 North Main Street). Per the Kennedy 1857 St Louis City Directory confirms Edward & Samuel Filley were in operation when the Steamboat Arabia would have been hauling its last shipment to the Missouri River.