Turner Turnpike Shakers glazed desert gold

Turner Turnpike Shakers glazed desert gold

Turner Turnpike Shakers glazed prairie green

Dallas-Ft Worth turnpike shakers in brown satin

Dallas Ft Worth turnpike shaker glazed brown satin

Turner Turnpike Shaker group

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Turner Turnpike Shakers glazed prairie green

Turner Turnpike Shakers glazed white sands

Turner Turnpike Shakers glazed prairie green

Turner Turnpike Shakers glazed brown satin

TTH: Turner Turnpike Shakers


To celebrate the opening of Oklahoma’s first turnpike* in 1953 Frankoma produced this salt and pepper set.  The highway officials handed them out at the tollgate and later sold them in the Midway Gift shop.  Although joining the salt and pepper is a common feature in the shaker world Frankoma used this design technique only in 1953, conjoining both the Turner Turnpike and Lazybones shakers. They never used the technique again.

The Turner Turnpike shaker is scarce, and very interesting to collect.  Frankoma produced the original issues on Ada clay in prairie green and desert gold. For the most part the literature lists this piece as made on Ada clay with “Turner Turnpike” embossed on the front. When I encountered the first prairie green issue on red clay without the inscription I was confused.

Bess, in book two, pictures a non-embossed set glazed prairie green on red clay.  In the picture caption Bess dates the opening of the new turnpike to May 16, 1953.  The sets handed out that day should have been on Ada clay but Bess makes no comment to clarify 1) why the pictured set has no inscription, or 2) why the clay is red.

As I collected a larger grouping of these shakers the production process began to take focus. Frankoma sporadically produced this design over a period of about five years. I see five variations: 1) the original issue Ada clay with inscription, 2) transitional clay with inscription, 3) red clay with inscription, 4) red clay with partially obliterated inscription, and 5) red clay with no inscription at all. The only changes are in the clay used, and in the inscription. Other factors remain the same.

For some reason as time went on Frankoma wanted to remove the inscription. The effort was sloppy at first, but later became complete. Why John Frank continued to produce this shape is unclear as it is never listed for sale in his catalogs.

Well, in March of 2010 I purchased a TT set that tells why Frankoma removed the original inscription. Produced on red clay with brown satin glaze and a partially obliterated inscription the set bears a silver label: "DALLAS-FORT WORTH TURNPIKE, TEXAS." That expressway opend in 1957 and officials used a modified version of the old shaker Turner turnpike shaker in the celebration.

*The Turner Turnpike was the first section of modern roadway to replace part of Highway 66, the "Mother Road" of America. By 1985 the process was complete.