I also have been served a number of meals on older transferware, and echo Michael's opinion and advice. We do not eat off of our TW plates, but we do use bowls etc for fruit and other uses on a continual basis. I would not suggest placing particularly hot items into serving pieces; why press your luck serving boiling hot water/tea from an 1825 teapot? Lead should not be an issue as long as you do not store acidic foods for periods of time in the TW.
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