Pottery & Porcelain - American
'I like fine things Even when They are not mine, And canot become mine; I still enjoy them.' - This translated from Pennsylvania dialect, appears on a sgraffiato plate signed by Johannes Leman, made before 1830 at the Friedrich Hildebrand pottery near Tyler's Port, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Everything needed for the production of pottery was present
White-burning pipe clay had been used by the aborigines. In
a court trial of 1685, at Burlington, New Jersey, the potter, 'Wm. Winn
Attested sayth that hee can finde noe Clay in the Countrey that will make white
wear', but white tobacco pipes were made as early as 1690 in Philadelphia,
where in 1720 they were advertised by Richard Warder 'Tobacco Pipe Maker living
under the same Roof with Phillip Sying Gold Smith'. And by 1738 'an earth' [the
true kaolin, white china clay] was found by Andrew Duché on the back of
Stoneware clays were absent in
If the wanted clays were not near at hand, coastwise vessels and riverboats brought them. Materials for glaze or decoration were of simple and available sorts. Fuel for the potter's kiln was everywhere in this forested land.
Men with technical knowledge were here among the first.
Brick making was reported by 1612 in
Place names like Potter's Creek,
All that was lacking was a proper market. In numbers the
colonists were so few, a total of 200,000 by 1690 and the five leading towns
accounting for only 18,600. The population nearly doubled every twenty years,
so that by 1776 its total reached 2,500,000 [about equally divided between the
five Southern and eight Northern provinces] and
In the South [where tobacco was the cornerstone of the
finances of Chesapeake society until 1750, followed by wheat and corn; where
rice was the staple in Carolina from 1700, indigo from about 1745' the English
character of plantation life was strongly marked. The local commodities were
exchanged for English luxuries, and except for rude plantation crafts, nothing
much was to be expected here. Andrew Duché and the mysterious Samuel Bowen, two
Yet pot makers lagged in this general improvement. Through
the colonial years and far beyond, coarse red-clay pottery - jugs and jars,
plates and bowls, mugs and milk pans - formed the principal output of small
In kitchen and dairy, or for table use alongside pewter and common woodenware or 'treen', the simple forms of this sturdy folk pottery were washed or splashed with pleasant colour - glazed with browns and yellows, rich orange to salmon pink, copper greens, a brownish black made from manganese. For this the least equipment was needed: a horse-powered mill for grinding and mixing clay, a homemade potter's wheel, a few wooden tools, with perhaps a few moulds as well. The maker might be no more than a seasonal or 'blue-bird' potter who worked when his other affairs permitted, and carried his output by wagon through the near vicinity; or the larger and full-time potshops might employ untrained lads [William Scofield of Honeybrook got 'one skilled potter from every 16 apprentice boys'] or migrant journeyman potters of uncertain grades.
There were no secrets in this simple manufacture. Since
1625-50, at the
Of this class, an early and curious milk pan is credited to
Andrew Duché, who advertised [April 1735, the
Found at Guyton [in the Salzburger area forty-five miles inland from Savannah] this heavy, thick and flat-footed pan was apparently made from riverbank clays, quoting its owner: 'the body densely textured and mottled reddish brown, as if made from shale and ball clay . . . the glaze a clear straw-coloured lead used all over . . . the glazed bottom flat, without rim or ridge of any kind'.
Not long after Duché's time, another Southern pottery was
established by a colony of Moravians, [p. 404] in 1753 moved from
Still another venture in this region was the so-called
Jugtown Pottery, in a settlement peopled c. 1740-50 at Steeds,
Early New England Potters
Their Wares were given ample and excellent record in Lura Watkins's book [Early New England Potters and Their Wares, Cambridge, MA, 1950] in which the illustrations show what Puritan austerity characterized the general output. Simple and appropriate forms were enough, with richly coloured glazes to satisfy the eye and only with occasional attempts at further decoration.
Just south of
Fairly typical of what was made through
Last of the everyday wares, and different from the others, a buff pottery painted [sometimes stenciled] with manganese brown belonged to New Geneva, Pennsylvania. So wholly unlike the Dutch-county pottery seen farther east, this sober stuff with hard, unglazed tan body was made in 1860-90 by James Hamilton of New Geneva, in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, and very likely [see Antiquarian for September 1931] also across the river at the A. & W. Boughner pottery in Greensboro.
Long employed by redware potters everywhere, a simple and
most effective method of decoration was by the use of diluted clay or 'slip',
which from a cup fitted with one or several quills was trailed on the surface
of a piece in flourishes or perhaps words like Lemon Pie, names like Louisa.
Made by George Wolfkiel at
For such, a slab of clay was flattened with the wooden beater [one of them shows a beautifully worn and polished thumbprint] and smoothed like piecrust with a wooden rolling pin. When half-dried, the raised lines of slip would be pressed into the soft or 'green' surface of the unfired dish, its edge would be trimmed and then notched with a wooden coggle wheel.
Far more ambitious was sgraffiato [scratched] ornament, for which redware was thinly coated with cream-colour slip and this cut through to expose the darker body. Plates often showed a border inscription written with a sharp tool, and parts of the design might be enhanced with added colours. Widely known in European peasant pottery, this technique was a favourite of the Pennsylvania-Germans from perhaps 1733 [a shaving basin, p. 197 in Barber's Tulip Ware] and furnishes surely the most decorative examples in American redware.
The family of stonewares, a varied company, was made of finer and denser clays and fired in a kiln much hotter than for earthenware [above 2,000° F.], resulting in a hard body for which 'no other glazing need be used than what is produced by a little common salt strewed over the ware' . The salt vapour supplied a roughish , glassy coating that was colourless. According to the clays used and the temperature of the kiln, wares ranged from the familiar grey body to buff or cream, even a dark brown.
Fine grades of stoneware approached the quality of
porcelain, such as the 'white stone Tea-cups and sawcers' [thin-bodied white
Staffordshire, later with scratch-blue decoration] sold 1724 in Boston, or the
Basket-work't plates' [of salt glaze with embossed and pierced lattice borders]
which arrived from England in 1758 and 1764. Next century a middle grade of
'figured stone pitchers' and Toby jugs of 'superior stone' in buff and brown
earned praise and awards in 1829-30 for David Henderson of
The popular class of stonewares considered here were chiefly
utililty articles: common crocks, jugs, or churns, along with other things made
for amusement, such as whistles and money banks, bird or animal figures. Most
of it was greyware, and after about 1800 the vessels were usually coated inside
The favourite decoration was freehand painting in cobalt blue, or rarely brown. Initials and dates, birds or flowers and scrolls, might be emphasized with scratched lines or die-stamped flowerets, though after about 1850 stenciled designs were widely used.
Many redware potters made stoneware also, and from c. 1800
often marked their work with a die-stamped name and perhaps the place. But
later than 1850 and especially in the
Stoneware was developed because of fear of poison from lead-glazed wares. 'Preceding the glorious Revolution', said a long notice in the Pennsylvania Mercury on 4 February 1785, 'here and there, were a few scattered Potteries of Earthen-Ware infamously bad and unwholesome, from their being partially glazed with a thin, cheap washing of Lead.' This lead glaze, attacked by acid foods, 'becomes a slow but sure poison, chiefly affecting the Nerves, that enfeebles the constitution, and produces paleness, tremors, gripes, palsies, &c.' It was hinted that the Legislature should enact 'discountenancing the use of Lead in glazing Earthen-ware', and further that 'a small bounty, or exemption' might encourage stoneware potters.
Whatever justice there was in this alarm, it had long been discussed
among potters. The apocryphal date 1722 appears on a large open-mouthed
stoneware jar [Robert J. Sim, Some Vanishing Phases of Rural Life in New
Jersey, p. 43]. At least we have seen 'the first stoneware kiln or furnace'
erected 1730 near the Collect Pond in
Isaac Parker of
Nor was the failure surprising, since
From this bed Adam Staats, a potter of Horse Neck [
With seemingly one exception, other early stoneware makers,
if not in the locality, were at least within easy range of the
Naturally, these opening years of the Revolution saw vigorous increase in stoneware potting. First by a boycott to express political discontent, and then by war itself, the domestic market was largely cut off from its accustomed foreign sources of supply, the Thames-side potteries at Fulham and Lambeth, and the furnaces of the Rhine Valley.
Blue-painted grey stoneware shards carrying the dates 1775
and 1776 [Antiques, March 1944, pp. 122-5] have been found along
Cheesquake Creek, presumably from a pottery operated by General James Morgan,
who in 1779 filed a claim for 'a kiln of Stoneware not burnt' that British
soldiers had destroyed. Also dated 1775, July 18/JC is a stoneware jug [
By a potter who sometimes stamped his ware C. Crolius
Manhattan-Wells and was working by 1794 is a brownish stoneware batter jug with
die-stamped blue flowerets and leaves, scratched:
The first Crolius and one 'Johannes Remmi or de Remy
[John Remmey I] married the Cornelius sisters, Veronica and Anna'. But a
supposed business partnership of Remmey & Crolius in 1742-4 finds no
supporting records. The Remneys followed their separate way from 1735 until
today. When the
A reason is easily seen for the flurry of new stoneware
factories that appeared around 1805. From 1804 to 1812 the seizure and
impressment of 10,000 American seamen into the British Navy led to a series of
Congressional Acts [1806-9] that prohibited trade with
Xerxes Price, who stamped his jars XP, was working at
By this time stonewares were a factory-made product that devoted less attention to form, more to decoration. Typical are a four-gallon crock made in 1850-68 by Edmands & Co. and the grey churn made in 1850-70 in the State of New York, a freely drawn, blue-pointed deer on one, a whimsical bird on the other. Still later the decorations might be stencilled, to save labour. After the mid-nineteenth century a cylindrical shape was much used for crocks.
Government reports for 1900 showed an American output of
stonewares valued at $1,800,000, but of redwares only $400,000 [Ramsay, p. 18],
and the latter mostly from
Some Better Wares
In between the common grades of work, on one and, and procelains, on the other, American potters made constant boast of producing wares 'allowed by the nicest judges to exceed any imported from England'. These were always 'on the very lowest Terms' -terms that were often based not on cash but barter, and perhaps 'the potter will take in Pay, pork, tar, wheat, corn or tobacco' [Maryland, 1756]. Though claiming so much, theirs were mostly small and experimental ventures, poorly financed and showing a high mortality rate. Edward Rumney in July 1746 bravely undertook 'to sett up a Pottery' at Annapolis, having 'furnished himself with Persons exceedingly well skilled [in the making of] all sorts of Potts, Pans Juggs, muggs &c.' Within four months his business was already offered at public vendue, even 'two Potters and several Horses'. A more ambitious project was that factory in New Boston which advertised in October 1769 'for Apprentices to learn the Art of making Tortoiseshell, Cream and Green-coloured Plates' [or Queensware and so-called green-edge
And where are their products, of which enormous amounts once
existed? How to account for the total disappearance of examples from our first
whiteware furnace [1688-92 at
An answer might be that because American work of the better
grades must compete with the imported, it attempted close imitation, and
nowadays the American ware [so seldom marked, until after 1800] [p. 408]
languishes unrecognized, mistaken for English. Thomas Baker who advertised 1756
in St Mary's County,
In their day the 'compleat Setts of Blue-china, Enamuel'd
ditto' shown in the
Nothing approached the popularity of creamware, or lasted longer. Its inventor Josiah Wedgwood called this  'the Cream colour, alias Queensware, alias Ivory'.
John Bartlem or Bartlam ['one of our insolvent master
potters', complained Wedgwood in 1765, who was hiring hands to go to his 'new
Pottworks in South Carolina'] was producing creamware by 1771 at Charleston.
Messrs Bartlam & Co. in October 1770 had opened a manufactory on
Meeting-street, 'the proper Hands &c. for carrying it on having lately
arrived here from
William Ellis, one of the Bartlam workmen, appeared in
December 1773 at
The undiminishing popularity of this ware is reflected [American Collector, June 1940, p . 11] by one item in a ship's list of 1827: '532 doz. ordinary quality dinner plates, cream colored or blue and green edges', in a shipment of mixed pottery from Liverpool to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Another decade later, the Staffordshire potter James Clews
arrived in 1836 at
After that time, fine creamware was scarcely heard of,
though poor and coarser wares of cream or ivory colour were widely made, e.g.
the 'attempts at cream colored' reported 1850-1900 at the Shaker colony in
This was the common utility ware made by everyone from the 1840s to 1900, a yellowware dappled or streaked with lustrous manganese brown glaze. Its quality ranged from coarse splatterred yellow to a rich brown tortoiseshell, and this ware was used for every sort of article, doorknobs or pudding pans, hound-handled jugs or lamp bases, cuspidors or picture frames.
Little was marked, and '
As an improvement on quiet brown Rockingham, a brilliant glaze flecked and streaked with colours was patented by Lyman, Fenton & Co. in November 1849 and examples carried a special Fenton''s Enamel mark [Spargo, The A.B.C., p. 21, mark D]. Oddly, this 1849 [p. 409] mark is found also on common Rockingham, or even on white Parian, and continued in use all through the U.S. Pottery Co. period [1853-8]
This colour-flecked glaze was not new; Fenton's patent referred only to a way of producing it with powdered colours. If a hot-water urn and the famous lion are examples of the best Bennington work, Fenton's enamel was widely pirated, being produced at East Liverpool as early as 1852 [Ramsay, p. 76]. Pairs of Bennington lions in plain Rockingham or 1849 enamel, made with or without the platform and showing either a curly or the sanded 'coleslaw' mane, appeared 1851-2 and are attributed to Daniel Greatbach, though he did not arrive at Bennington until December 1851 or January 1852, remaining as chief modeller until the factory closed [Spargo, Bennington Potters, pp. 227-8].
Doubtless because the Staffordshire and Liverpool makers supplied such a torrent of cheap and attractive printed pottery, in an endless range of patterns and colours, the development of printed wares made scarcely a beginning here. True, a 'rolling press, for copper-plate printing; and other articles made use of in the China Factory' were advertised August 1774 when the Bonnin & Morris properties were offered. Apparently it was their intention to produce Worcester-type porcelains with printed blue decoration, but no examples are known today, if indeed they were made at all.
Not until 1839-43 are American-made subjects encountered
[Clement, Our Pioneer Potters, Plates 10-13], all four from the
In 1839 the pattern Canova was printed in light blue,
cribbed from a design by John Ridgway of Hanley. The
A black-printed W. H. Harrison memorial jug was made in
1841, when the ninth president died after one month in the White House. Below
the repeated portraits of
The cabin so lettered, and the portrait entitled Harrison & Reform, occur on Staffordshire teaware or copper-lustred mugs, the former marked < ALEXANDRIA Miller H. Robt for>, an importer who advertised 30 October 1840 that he was expecting 'supplies of ware with Harrison and Log Cabin engravings, from designs sent out to the Potteries by himself' [Antiques, June 1944, p. 295, and February 1945, p. 120].
Slightly earlier [1837-8] is a blue-printed creamware jar
for snuff made to order of Hezekiah Starr, a tobacconist at
James Clews the English potter had a factory at
Cobridge[Burslem] which 'was noted for its cream-colored ware' in the 1820s,
but to American collectors is chiefly known as a source of transfer-printed
pottery showing American historical views. When the J. & R. Clews factory
closed in 1836, James [c. 1786-1856] came to
Clews, being 'a man of fine presence and a fluent talker',
persuaded Jacob Lewis and others to back him; the
A pot for Macabau, Scotch & Rapee SNUFF is
probably not unlike those creamware 'pickle, pomatum & druggist pots' made
in 1798 by J. Mouchet in
Only one more example of American printed ware deserves mention, a late blue platter, Pickett's Charge, Gettysburg[Ramsay, Fig. 86], with oak-leaf border picturing four generals who served that day in July 1863. Its blue eagle mark is for Edwin Bennett of Baltimore, who worked in 1841 at East Liverpool with his brother James [he was formerly with Clews at Troy] and from 1846 operated his own factory in Baltimore. His <>appeared in 1870 and was re-issued in 1901.
It might be felt that Rogers Groups have no place here, being not of fired clay but plaster casts taken from clay models. But in their day these enormously popular figure groups were fondly accepted as ceramic sculpture, an 'art' expression that filled bare space in the Victorian parlour. And indeed they exerted a large influence upon potters who then produced Parian or other figure work.
John Rogers [1829-1904] created his patented story-telling groups in New York, from 1859 to 1893. Cast in reddish plaster and painted a sad putty colour, these low-priced groups were issued in vast editions, in 1886 The Elder's Daughter 'weight 100 lbs packed, price $12]. If sentimental, obvious, and sometimes silly, the subjects were well modelled; and their themes were from the Civil War, from domestic life of the time, or popular legends. Collections may now be studied at the New York Historical Society and at the Essex Institute, Salem.
During this same period, a new pottery called majolica won wide favour; a coarse earthen body with coloured lead glazes, it appeared in useful wares, leaf-shaped dishes, and ornamental work of every description. In 1851 Minton had exhibited majolica at the Crystal Palace, and Wedgwood was producing it by 1860. Meanwhile, American potters adopted it; Edwin Bennett by 1853 at Baltimore, and Carr & Morrison of New York in 1853-5. In the 1880s it was a staple of potters everywhere, from the Hampshire Pottery [James Taft's] at Keene, New Hampshire, to the Bennett and Morley firms in East Liverpool. Best known is Etruscan majolica, made in 1879-90 by Griffen, Smith & Hill at Phoenixville, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
An excellent Example of Etruscan majolica in the Brooklyn Museum shows surprising likeness to the 'Colly flower tea pots' imported a century earlier [Boston, 1771]. Developed in 1754-9 by Wedgwood when a junior partner to Whieldon, cauliflower ware had a vogue in 1760-80. The match for the later tea pot is seen in the Burnap Collection [No. 320, catalogue, 1953, the Nelson-Atkins Gallery of Art, Kansas City, Missouri]. According to John Ramsay, 'the first cauliflower teapot' was made by James Car in New York, Dr Barber adding that Carr & Morrison [1853-88] only made majolica 'for a period of about two years', 1853-5.
Allowance must always be made for the extravagant claims constantly offered by struggling potters who nervously looked for support. Small enterprises might make the loudest noise, asserting that they operated a China Manufactory and calling their ware porcelain, tough they did not possess the requisite materials. Even if they did, it was one thing to know how, but another to produce a successful china.
The early 'pottery att Burlington for white and chiney ware' [1688-92] surely achieved no more than white tin-glazed delftware. Indeed, England herself had done no better at that time. Half a century must pass before porcelains of even an experimental grade ware actually made here.
The ideal, of course, was true hard-paste porcelain like the Chinese, with which all potters had long been well familiar. This was the ware always preferred by fashionable and wealthy persons, who brought so much of it that by 1754 the General Court of Massachusetts passed an Act placing special excise on 'East-India Ware, called China-ware'.
It should be noted that in August 1738 samples of this Chinese ware were sent by the Earl of Egmont [most active of the Trustees of the colony of Georgia] to a certain master potter in Savannah. These samples were to serve as models for one Andrew Duché, already mentioned, first of the three pre-Revolutionary porcelain makers. [p. 411]
Duché [sometimes Duchee, Deshee, Deusha] was third son of the stoneware potter Antoine [Anthony] DuchÚ. Born in 1710 in Philadelphia, he married twice in 1731, worked first at Charleston [1731-5] and then at New Windsor [1735-7] across the river from Augusta, finally at Savannah [1738-43], where he had been assured that 'all reasonable encouragement' would be given him by General James Oglethorpe, founder  of the colony of Georgia. Indeed, he received a grant of £230 and built a pottery, where [say local records of 1743] he 'found out the secret to make as good porcelain as is made in China'.
The late Mr Hommel and Mrs. Gilmer have published extensive notes on Duché, the subject of happy excitement in research circles; and a further hoard of unpublished facts, graciously made available by Mrs. Gilmer, might have assisted persons skeptical of Duché's true achievements.
As for his porcelains, Oglethorpe in 1738 already reported to the Trustees that Duché had found 'an earth' [kaolin, china-clay] and baked it into china. By February in the next year he had discovered 'a whole mountain of stone' [petuntse?] in the Salzburger area, near Ebenezer; and in 1740 Duché found 'a quarry of Ironstone' on the five -acre lot of William Gough. For while conducting his experiments to perfect porcelain, Duché supplied the vicinity with useful articles of common earthenware or ironstone, and stove tiles for the settlement forty miles inland.
On 17 March 1738, he had requested of the Trustees 'two ingenious pot painters', and special supplies including 'a Tun weight of Pig lead, 200 wt of blew smalt such as potters use, 300 wt of block Tin, and an Iron Mortar & Pestle'. The wanted materials [though skimped in their amounts] were sent him in August, and the 'two servants' came in July 1739 on the ship Two Brothers. Duché here had all the requirements for blue-decorated porcelain, and skilled helpers to finish it.
Found in 1946 at Charleston, the unique bowl is heavy for its size, slightly translucent but not resonant. Thanks to the Earl of Egmont's samples, its blue decoration resembles Chinese work but employs a local vernacular, with a band border of white oak leaves, a calyx of slim fern fronds below. If it bears no mark, Mrs. Gilmer rightly asserts it is 'marked' all over. This bowl of experimental grade is just such as Duché would produce from the materials he had and working under the particular conditions.
The story of his after-years belongs not here so much as in English accounts of porcelain making. Drawn into political squabbles, Duché came into disagreement with Colonel William Stephens, who was secretary to the Trustees; ostensibly to plead the cause of the dissatisfied settlers, he left Savannah in March 1743 and appeared in London by May the next year.
Our concern with him centres on his contact with the proprietors of the Bow factory, Edward Heylin and Thomas Frye, who obtained the following December a patent for 'invention of manufacturing a certain material, whereby a Ware may be made of the same material as China'. Their secret [apparently communicated by Duché] was 'an earth, the produce of the Chirokee nation in America, called by the natives unaker'.
This same year, Duché waited upon William Cookworthy, who in a letter of May 1745 discusses 'the person who has discovered the china earth, calling it kaulin, and saying that the finder is going for a Cargo of it'. Cookworthy has seen 'several samples of the china-ware of their making', and understands that the requisite earth is to be found 'on the back of Virginia'.
What profitable arrangements were made by Duché? We hear no more of him as a potter. From 1750 to 1769 he is a 'merchant' and prosperous landowner in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1769 he returned to Philadelphia, and here [described as a 'gentleman'] he died in 1778.
Much briefer is the account of a second porcelain maker, the elusive Samuel Bowen. In 1745 one Henry Gossman, aged eighteen, and 'son of a very poor helpless widow of Purisburg, South Carolina' [a Swiss Hugenot settlement on the river above Savannah], was apprenticed or 'bound to a potter'. This would appear to be Samuel Bowen, now occupying the potworks vacated by Duché two years before.
Not until November 1764 did an English newspaper [the Bristol Journal] report that 'This week, some pieces of porcelain manufactured in Georgia [p. 412] was imported', but added that 'the workmanship is far from being admired'. Two years later [says Alice Morse Earle] Samuel Bowen was awarded a gold medal from the English Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce 'for his useful observations in china and industrious application of them in Georgia' [italics ours]. Two years later, in March 1768, he was thanking the Georgia Commons 'for the Benefits he had received by their Recommendation of him'. Nothing further is known of Bowen.
Bonnin & Morris
Recovering quickly from the French and Indian Wars [the American phase of the Seven Years War, 1756-63], the colonies had enjoyed since mid-century a rising prosperity, an established society, and a higher standard of living. Philadelphia in 1770 was a rich and fashionable centre, likely to support a porcelain factory. 'The China-works now erecting in Southwark' [1 January 1770] was 'compleated, and in motion' the following July, and for just short of two years gave continual report in newspaper advertisements [Prime, Arts & Crafts, pp. 114-24].
The China Proprietors were Gouse Bonnin [from Antiqua] and a Philadelphia Quaker named George Anthony Morris. The latter retired in April / May 1771 and removed to North Carolina, where he died two years later while Bonnin in November 1772 was sulkily 'embarking for England without the least prospect of ever returning to this continent'.
They were financed by a £500 advance from the father of Dr James Mease [Barber, pp. 948-100], who got nothing in return but a blue-painted dinner service, from which one broken basket in the Worcester manner is all that survives [Philadelphia Museum]. This piece and four others, all with a factory mark P in blue, were the 'known' output of Bonnin & Morris.
From the evidence, their ware seems to have been a fine grade of white earthenware, though their 'first Emission of Porcelain' was announced in January 1771, and that same month in an appeal to the Assembly they described the 'Manufacture of Porcelain or China Earthen Ware . . . a sample of it we respectfully submit'. Indeed, they achieved a translucent porcelain. Their clay came from White Clay Creek, near Wilmington [Barber, p. 99] and they advertised in July 1770 for 'any quantity of horses or beeves shank bones', implying the attempt to make bone china. But in August 1772 Bonnin had 'lately made experiments with some clay presented by a Gentleman of Charles Town, South-Carolina'. Could this have been John Bartlam? Although a few years earlier, Richard Champion of Bristol had received  a 'box of porcelain-earth' from his brother-in-law Caleb Lloyd of Charleston. The firm's first notice [January 1770] had referred to 'the famous factory in Bow, near London', as if this were their ideal.
In October 1770 'nine master workmen' arrived in Captain Osborne's ship. Three months later 'a quantity of Zaffer or zaffera' was wanted, and by July the factory could supply 'any Quantity of Blue and White Ware'. As their agent, Archibald M'Elroy in Second Street was exposing a 'General Assortment of AMERICAN CHINA' in January 1771 and next September 'both useful and ornamental Enamelled China'. The factory in January 1772 needed 'Painters, either in blue or enamel'.
Only their blue-printed wares are recognized today, such as a finely modeled sweetmeat dish found in New Jersey, or a tea pot with charming chinoiserie and large initials WP. This latter came from a Philadelphia Quaker family in which it had always been known as 'the William Penn teapot', unaccountably, since the Proprietor was in his grave by 1718.
To the next name in American porcelains it is a leap of forty years. Mentioned in 1810 as 'of New Haven', a certain 'Henry Mead, physician' appeared in the New York directory for 1816-17. This was the alleged maker of a solitary all-white vase [Plate 19, Clement's Own Pioneer Potters] on the evidence of a paper label: Finished in New York 1816. A little late then, 'In 1819 the manufacture of Porcelain . . . was commenced in New York by Dr. H. Mead' [J. Leander Bishop, History of American Manufactures]. No less confusing, the doctor's obituary notice  said that 'he commenced at Jersey City'.
Records are far more satisfactory for the Jersey Porcelain & Earthenware Company, established in December 1825, in Jersey City and sold in September 1828 to David Henderson. In 1826 this firm won a silver medal at the Franklin Institute, for the 'best china from American materials', though what competition might they have had? Fragments of hard-paste porcelain have been unearthed on the factory site, and praise of a visitor to the factory in 1826 [Clement, p. 68] was for articles 'either of white biscuit, or of white and gold in the French style'. Dr Barber in 1902 described one gold-banded white bowl 'made in 1826', then in the Trumbull-Prime collection at Princeton but now lost.
Coming now to the first really successful chinaworks, we need little more than to correct and abbreviate the oft-told accounts of that well-documented Philadelphia enterprise of 1826-38, Tucker porcelains. More than half a century ago, Dr. Barber devoted a chapter [pp. 126-53] to these well appreciated wares, Antiques, June 1828, pp. 480-4, adding further reports.
Born of a prosperous Quaker family, William Ellis Tucker [1800-32] began in 1826 his earnest experiments [p. 413] in porcelain making, at the old Waterworks building in Philadelphia. That year he bought [in brief partnership with one John Bird] a property near Wilmington, Delaware, that yielded feldspar, and another at 'Mutton Hollow in the state of New Jersey' that provided kaolin or blue clay. In 1827 his porcelains won a silver medal at the 4th Franklin Institute exhibition, and in 1828 another, for ware comparing with 'the best specimens of French China'.
Examples of his earlier work are three pieces c. 1827 with painted scenes not in the familiar sepia, but darker brown. A cup showing the Dam and Waterworks at Fairmount is apparently after the Thomas Birch drawing published 1824 [the same used on blue-printed Staffordshire pottery of 1825-30, Nos. 249-50 and 535-6 in Mrs Larsen's book]. The Old Schuylkill Bridge occurs on a cordate scent bottle owned by a Tucker descendant [Antiques, October 1936, p. 167]. Again the subject is used on blue Staffordshire and in very rich taste was employed on a Hemphill jug of about 1835 [Antiques, June 1928, p. 481].
In 1828 a younger brother, Thomas Tucker [born 1812], became an apprentice, and William himself formed a partnership [1828-9] with John Hulme, as Tucker & Hulme. From this time came a large tea service factory-marked and dated 1828 [Antiques, October 1933, p. 134] with typical 'spider' border in gold, wrongly said to enjoy 'the distinction of being the first complete sett of china manufactured in this country'.
In 1831 Tucker established still another partnership, Tucker & Hemphill [with Alexander Hemphill], and that year his porcelains won a silver medal at the American Institute, New York. William Tucker died in 1832, and from 1833 to 1836 the factory was continued by Alexander's father, Judge Joseph Hemphill, with Thomas Tucker as manager. The Hemphill period displayed rich taste, with enamel painting in Sèvres style and a lavish use of gold. Its masterpiece was a large vase made in 1835 by Thomas Tucker, the gilt-bronze handles designed by Friedrich Sachse and cast by C. Cornelius & Sons of Philadelphia.
The first quality of work about 1835 is seen in a mug with gold scrollwork and coloured scene entitled Baltimore in black script underfoot. Five cups from a set of Presidents must be dated towards the factory's close, since Jackson's portrait is from the National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, published in 1834-6. Judge Hemphill retired in 1837, and Thomas Tucker rented the factory a year, closing it in 1838.
After a curious lapse of a decade, when porcelains were wholly neglected, five factories deserve notice as producers of such ware on a commercial scale.
In 1843 Julius Norton, a Vermont potter, brought from England one John Harrison, a modeller at the Copeland works, where the year before a waxy white porcelain called Parian or Statuary Ware had been perfected [see Glossary]. Harrison's experiments from October 1843 to mid- 1845 were interrupted by a disastrous fire, and he returned to Stoke. During 1845-7 the firm of Norton & Fenton set this work aside; but from 1847 to 1850 the reorganized Lyman & Fenton was producing successful whitewares; including Parian. An example is the Daisy and Tuilip jug in white porcelain, showing the Fenton's Works mark of 1847-8, though variants of this design continued for some years.
With new financing and expansion in 1851-2, Christopher Webber Fenton developed blue-and-white porcelains or rarely tan, still rarer the green-and-white. Much work was unsigned, but the familiar U.S.P. ribbonmark of the United States Pottery Co. [1853-8] is found 'principally upon porcelain pitchers and vases, both the white and blue-and-white, and upon some Parian pieces' [Spargo, The A.B.C., p. 19].
From the latter years of the factory, which closed in 1858, came whole dinner or tea services of heavy, gold-banded porcelain [Spargo, Potters of Bennington, Plate XXVII]. Kaolin had been obtained from Monkton, Vermont. Pitchers displayed at the Crystal Palace exhibition in New York [1853-4] were ïmade of the flint from Vermont and Massachusetts, the feldspar from New Hampshire, and the china clays from Vermont and South Carolina'.
First of two factories at Greenpoint [now Brooklyn] was Charles Cartlidge & Co., operating 1848-56. The proprietor was a Staffordshire [Burslem] man, who at once brought over his brother-in-law Josiah Jones to model 'biscuit busts of celebrated Americans'. A 9-inch [22.9 cm] likeness of General Zachary Taylor in 1848 [Barber, pp. 446-7] was followed by Daniel Webster, John Marshall, and others, in what the firm always described as bisque porcelain. From buttons and cameos the firm's output ranged to inkstands and chessmen, cane heads and endless other novelties, which at the Crystal Palace in 1858 won a silver medal 'for the excellence of the porcelain body and the gilding'.
Second of the Greenpoint enterprises was that of William Boch & Brother, founded 1850, which exhibited at the Crystal Palace as makers of door hardware and bone-china table goods. Thomas Carl Smith, who became manager in 1857, acquired the shaky business in 1861, reopened it as the Union Porcelain Works in 1862, and by 1864-5 had changed over to hardpaste porcelain.
Karl Müller came to the factory in 1874, as chief designer and modeller, creating many once-famous subjects eyed nowadays with disfavour, and others of quality and virtue; among the latter was a bisque [p. 414] porcelain pitcher The Poets, which in 1876 was a presentation piece to E. J. Brockett. Finely moulded heads of Milton, Ossian, Shakespeare [sic], Dante, Homer, and Virgil are seen with trophies and allegorical figures above and below. To the red-painted factory mark is added an impressed [later, printed] bird's head, the symbol adopted in 1876.
Of minor importance is the Southern Porcelain Manufacturing Co., established in 1856 at Kaolin, South Carolina by William H. Farrar, who had been a Bennington stockholder. Numerous potters followed him here, the modeller Josiah Jones as manager in 1857, when the Cartlidge factory closed, and next year [when Bennington also failed], Fenton was there briefly on his way to Peoria, Illinois, where he built an unsuccessful works. Until fire destroyed the factory in 1863-4 only 'a fair porcelain' was produced at Kaolin, such as the coarsely designed Corn pitchers of 1859-61 [Barber, pp. 188-9]. But to this site six miles from Augusta, potters were still attracted as they had been in Duché's time more than a century before.
From an inconspicuous beginning in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1863 there grew two years later the firm of Ott & Brewer, whose workshop, called the 'Etruria Pottery', proved the training ground for several potters of stature. For his own part, John Hart Brewer produced in 1875-6 a series of fine Parian portrait busts of Washington, Franklin, and U.S. Grant, modelled by Isaac Broome [Newark Museum, Clement's Pottery and Porcelain of New Jersey. Nos. 217-19 and Plate 44]. The firm, dissolved in 1893, is especially remembered as a maker of American Belleek in the 1880s.
One of the Ott & Brewer apprentices was Walter Scott Lenox, later their decoration manager, who in 1889 formed the Ceramic Art Company, and in 1896 established the distinguished firm of Lenox, Inc. - since 1918 known as the makers of White House state services, and porcelain for the American embassies.
The later porcelains and the wares that follow were of a new order. The factory period had arrived about 1830, product of an industrial revolution that showed a parallel in mechanization of the glass industry, as freeblown glass gave way to pressed. In the ceramics field new types of pottery were no longer thrown on the potter's wheel but shaped in moulds. Forms were now created by designers and mass-produced by professional workmen; the simple potshop was transformed into a factory, where output was large and the price small.
Being made from liquid clay, Parian ware had to be poured into moulds.
But fear and outrage had swept the workers, at seeing 'the old usages of the trade broken up' [Wedgwood and Ormsbee, p. 95]. Labour strikes in 1834-43 were followed by a panic of Staffordshire workmen in 1845-6, when they thought their livelihood threatened by the invention of pot-making machines.
The nonpareil of all moulded work was a 19-foot [3 m]
monument made 1851-2 at
In America David Henderson of
Belonging with the porcelains, last of the late wares is American Belleek, a thin, highly translucent, feldspathic body which is cousin to Parian, finished with a pale pearly glaze. Irish Belleek [see Glossary] was seen at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876, and excited the admiration of American potters.
Some time between 1880 and 1882 the Trenton firm of Ott
& Brewer brought over the potter William Bromley, who had developed Irish
Belleek, and by 1882, produced 'the first piece of belleek porcelain made in
America' [a square tray]. A fancy shell-shaped pitcher marked W.S.L./1887 was
produced at their works by Walter Lenox, who later brought two Belleek workmen
to his own Ceramic Art Co. [1889-96] and further developed the ware at Lenox,
Inc., from 1896. Edwin Bennett had achieved the production of Belleek by 1886
Perhaps best of the American Belleek was 'Lotus Ware' a
product of Knowles, Taylor & Knowles at
Belleek and majolica, or the art tiles and 'studio wares'
that flourished alongside Rookwood from the 1880s, cannot yet be classed as
antiques. Yet with Tiffany glass and other late work of quality, they have
gained wide acceptance among collectors. In 1879 the 3rd edition of W. C.
Prime's Pottery and Porcelain of All Times and Nations [which devoted a
total of six pages to 'Pottery and Porcelain in the
[L. G. G. Ramsey, F.S.A., ed. The Complete Color
Encyclopedia of Antiques. Preface by Bevis Hillier, Editor of The Connoisseur.
Compiled by The Connoisseur,