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 in America - everything but the most important, enough encouragement. Potter's clays were abundant. The common red-burning clays [for bricks, roof tiles, coarse redware] occurred in shales at or near the ground's surface, and their use since earliest days had called for only the simplest kilns and equipment. Buff-burning clays of finer texture were employed since the seventeenth century for experimental wares of every grade, and in the 1800s provided a range of factory-made wares from Bennington to Baltimore, and westward along the Ohio River.


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 Virginia', a vein of unaker running through the Carolinas into Georgia, exposed on river banks or along old stream beds.


Stoneware clays were absent in New England, but supplies were fetched by boat from northern New Jersey and Staten Island. At the Corselius [afterwards Crolius] pottery on Potbaker's HiIl, 'the first stoneware kiln or furnace was built in this year 1730' on lower Manhattan Island. In January of that year in Philadelphia, Anthony Duché and his sons had petitioned the Assembly for support in 'the Art of making stone-ware', to which they had been applying themselves' for several Years past'.


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 Virginia, 1629 and 1635 in Salem and Boston. Roof tiles or 'tile Earth for House covering' appeared in Massachusetts court orders of 1646, and 'tyle-makers' prospered in Virginia by 1649. The potter Philip Drinker arrived in 1635 in Charlestown, and that same year at nearby Salem the 'potbakers' William Vinson [Vincent] and John Pride were recorded. One 'extraordinary potter' came in 1653 to Rensselaerwyk [Albany] on the ship Graef, and a Dirck Claesen 'Pottmaker' was established by 1657 at Potbaker's Corner, in New Amsterdam. The thumping of the potter's wheel was soon heard in every colonial town of consequence, and for New England alone [says Lura W. Watkins] 250 potters were recorded by 1800, twice that number by 1850. How many more were never mentioned at all?


Place names like Potter's Creek, Clay City, or Pottertown give a clue to the spread of activity - four states had a Jugtown, seven more a Kaolin.


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 Philadelphia, with 40,000 souls, was the second city in the British dominions. Ninety per cent of the population was on the land, and for the most part comprised a sort of [p. 403] village society. The complaint was everywhere the same as in Virginia, that 'for want of Towns, Markets, and Money, there is but little Encouragement for tradesmen and Art ficers'. It was all very well for a Boston official to say [1718] that 'Every one Incourages the Growth and Manufactures of this Country and not one person but discourages the Trade from home', and says 'tis pitty any goods should be brought from England', but fashion preferred what was imported, and the colonial potter found little demand except for useful wares.


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 early Savannah potters, were marvels who appeared far ahead of their time.


England's suppression of all colonial manufactures was a sternly established policy. General Thomas Gage expressed the official attitude when writing to Lord Barrington in 1772 that it would be 'for our interest to Keep the Settlers within reach of the Sea-Coast as long as we can; and to cramp their Trade as far as can be done prudentially'. But he was unaware to what an extent people had already moved inland, away from the agents who supplied English goods; nor had he perceived the rapid advance made in American manufactures since the French and Indian Wars of 1754-63.


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 potteries everywhere. New England's glacial clays made excellent redware, which was partly supplemented by grey stoneware from the time of the Revolution, or more extensively after 1800. Always popular, ordinary redware survived the competition offered by cheap and serviceable factory-made wares from the 1830s, and in country districts lasted through the nineteenth century, lingering within present memory.

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 Jamestown colony, potters everywhere had made useful everyday ware of much the same sorts, in its own time used up, smashed up, never regarded as worth preserving.


Of this class, an early and curious milk pan is credited to Andrew Duché, who advertised [April 1735, the South Carolina Gazette] to supply 'Butter pots, milk-pans, and all other sorts of Earthenware of this country make'. The story of its discovery over a decade ago was told by Ruth Monroe Gilmer in Apollo for May 1947.


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 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to the wilderness region of Wachovia, North Carolina. Here the United Brethern founded a communal society served by Brother Gottfried Aust as potter. He fired his first kiln at the village of Bethabara in 1756, making redware, pipes, stove tiles, and from 1761 conducted public sales which attracted buyers from a surprising distance [Rice, Shenandoah Pottery, pp. 271-7]. The enterprise was transferred in 1768 to Salem, North Carolina, where by 1774 far superior wares were achieved, and production lasted to around 1830.


Still another venture in this region was the so-called Jugtown Pottery, in a settlement peopled c. 1740-50 at Steeds, North Carolina, by a group of colonists from Staffordshire. Apparently the plainest of 'dirt dishes' were made here [1750?] by Peter Craven, first of his family, and latterly the place became known as Jugtown, for the common vessels it supplied to Southern distilleries. Languished and long forgotten, the pottery was revived in 1917 at a hamlet amusingly named Why Not?:


Far north, New England must have been brimming with small but able potters. In 1775 [says John Ramsay in American Potters and Pottery] the two Essex County, Massachusetts, towns of Danvers and Peabody had seventy-five potters, and there were twenty-two Peabody potters at the Battle of Lexington.

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.

For the Pennsylvania- 'Dutch' [that is, deutsch or German] Frances Lichten has provided a full report in her Folk Art of Rural Pennsylvania. In the 'Dutch counties' settled in the eighteenth century by Swiss Mennonites, and by Germans from the Palatinate, pottery was made which was in wide contrast to New England work, marked by a love or colour, a play of ideas, and an engaging humour.


The flat Pennsylvania fruit pie dish or poischissel was a distinctive article: or the pots for apple butter called epfel buther haffa, the saucered flowerpots of bluma haffa. Fluted turk's head cake moulds were produced in all sorts and sizes, and there were standing pottery grease lamps not seen in New England, quaint banks and bird whistles, double-walled tobacco jars displaying skillful pierced work. [See Pennsylvania-German Folk Art by Frances Lichten, p . 401]

Shenandoah Valley
Just south of Pennsylvania, a numerous and flourishing group of potters worked throughout the nineteenth century in a hundred-mile stretch of the Shenandoah Valley. Foremost were the Bell family, founded by Peter Bell, who from 1800 to 1845 produced 'erthingwear' at Hagerstown, Maryland, and Winchester, Virginia. His eldest son, John Bell [1800-80], worked 1833-80 at Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and was followed by five sons who continued the business until 1899. John's brothers, Samuel and Solomon, were in partnership from 1833 at Strasburg, Virginia, where the factory continued until 1908.

Fairly typical of what was made through Ohio and Indiana, where a variety of pottery and stoneware clays were abundant, a washbowl and jug, buff-glazed inside, is stamped on one handle Zoar, on the other 1840. The Society of Separatists [called Zoarites] were one of many religious sects gathered in communal settlements that flowered and died in the nineteenth century, themselves coming in 1817 from Württenberg and prospering in 1819-98 at Zoar, in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. In a long list of trades and crafts practised here, we find weavers and carpenters, a printshop and bindery, a fine blacksmith shop p, and of course a pottery. Red roof tiles [one is dated 1824] are still seen on a few houses, and in 1834 the Society was selling 'porringers' to farm folk in the vicinity. The services of an outsider were engaged, Solomon Purdy, a potter recorded in 1820 at Putnam; in 1840 at Atwater. Until 1852-3 the Zoar associates still produced common brownware, and black- or buff-glazed redware.

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 Hackensack, New Jersey, during the panic of 1837, were slipware platters woefully inscribed Hard Times in Jersey. [p. 405]


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' [1785]. 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 Jersey City.


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 with brown Albany slip.


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 Midwest, crocks might show the name not of their maker but of some wholesaler to whom they were supplied.


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 New York, by William Crolyas [Crolius]. And we have heard Anthony DuchÚ that [p. 406] same year claiming to have made stoneware 'for several Years past' in Philadelphia. Others soon sought to learn the mystery.


Isaac Parker of Charlestown [Boston] was one of these, a redware maker who eagerly sent for a man 'trained in the stoneware potter's art'. What arrived in Boston on 14 July 1742, aboard the brigantine Mary [Watkins, Early New England Potters, pp. 35-8] was James, son of Anthony Duché and brother of Andrew the porcelain maker. Two months later, Parker could report to the General Court that he had 'now' learned the secret of stoneware making. Parker died forthwith; but by December 1742 his widow Grace with James Duché as co'partner was granted a fifteen-year monopoly, and in April 1745 their firm [called Thomas Symmes & Co.] advertised 'blue and white stone ware of forty different kinds'. Duché disappeared next year, probably returned to Philadelphia, and death in 1754 released Mrs. Parker from a failing enterprise.


Nor was the failure surprising, since New England afforded no stoneware clay and was put to the expense of getting it from New York. Indeed, the major source of supply for all American stoneware was for many years the rich deposit of fine blue clay centered at South Amboy, New Jersey, and extending to Staten Island and Long Island.


From this bed Adam Staats, a potter of Horse Neck [Greenwich], Connecticut, dug clay in 1751, on a five-year lease between 'the Said adam States' and the town trustees of Huntingdon, Long Island. He knew its qualities, having worked at Cheesequake or 'Chesquick' Creek [South Amboy] before appearing in 1743 in New York.


With seemingly one exception, other early stoneware makers, if not in the locality, were at least within easy range of the New Jersey blue-clay beds. This exception occurred far south, where the Moravians at Salem, North Carolina, burnt their first kiln of stoneware [according to Brother Aust's diary] in May 1774, instructed by an English journeyman potter William Ellis, who came the year before from Pine Tree 'where he had been working'. At this inaccessibly inland town local clays must have answered.


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 [Metropolitan Museum] from the New York factory of William Crolius II. By 1778 a certain Bernard Hamlen advertised for return of a horse strayed from his 'Stoneware Potting Manufactory at Trenton' [Clement, Our Pioneer Potters, p. 20].


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: New York, Feb 17th 1798/Flowered by Clarkson Crolius/Blue. The New York Historical Society, its owner, also possesses the maker's actual stamp and other tools. This was Clarkson, Sr [1773-1843], a grandson of William 'Crolyas', the stoneware potter of 1730. Clement, Our Pioneer Potters, reviews [pp. 21-5] the complicated record of the Crolius dynasty [fifteen potters in all] who worked in New York until c. 1870 when Clarkson, Jr retired.


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 New York factory failed in 1819-20 one great grandson continued at South Amboy until 1833; another had gone to Philadelphia about 1810, where [with a side venture at Baltimore from 1818 to c. 1835] the firm is still established.


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 England. With the Embargo Act of [p. 407] 1807 [one of the causes of the War of 1812] imports dropped to one-third, and American potters had to supply a domestic market cut off from foreign sources.


Xerxes Price, who stamped his jars XP, was working at Sayreville [South Amboy] as early as 1802 and until 1830. Peter Cross, whose mark was P Cross/Hartford, appeared 1805 to c. 1818 in Connecticut. Samuel Wetmore in 1805 began the enterprise at Huntingdon, Long Island, that later would become Brown Brothers. And from an unidentified maker [Watkins, New England Potters, p. 83] came sober brown-stained jars with 'BOSTON, 1804.' impressed.


In Albany the able Paul Cushman from 1809 to 1832 made both redware and stoneware, on the hill 'a half mile west of Albany Gaol'. Not far east was Bennington, Vermont, where Captain John Norton in 1793 had started a potworks continued by the family for a century, until 1894; in 1810 wagons were fetching clay across the hills from Troy, and in January 1815 the diary of Hiram Harwood says the Nortons 'were making ware of both kinds, stone and clay' [Spargo, < i>, pp. 9, 11-13]. But the flourishing period was from 1828 to 1832, when the proprietors had begun to use clays from South Amboy and Long Island.


In the Ohio county the earliest recorded stoneware potter was Joseph Rosier, working by 1814 near Zanesville; but by 1840 [says John Ramsay] there were more than fifty such potters through the area. Excellent clays were here in plenty, and potters of all sorts were attracted to the Midwest. East Liverpool with its fine Ohio River clays was to overtake northern New Jersey, which itself has been called 'the Staffordshire of America'.


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 Ohio and Pennsylvania. The old order of work was indeed disappearing.

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 Leeds]. After this solitary notice, only silence. From the dismal number of such failures, Lord Sheffield's Observations on the Commerce of the United States [1791] seems not too prejudiced in saying: 'Manufactures of glass, of earthenware, and of stone mixed with clay, are all in an infant state.' Yet across this fairly cheerless scene moved many potters of sound experience. Who were these lost men? Some are known only from one passing mention in early records, or for a solitary example of ware 'said to be' by John Doe, a potter. Unlike the silversmiths, who were often men of public consequence, potters enjoyed relatively slight notice.


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 Burlington, New Jersey], where Dr. Daniel Coxe said his agents made 'a great quantity of white and Chiney ware'? What has become of all the 'Pennsylvania pencil'd bowls and sugar dishes' praised for their 'beauty of colours and elegance of figures', that work of Alexander Bartram who 'has got a pot-house' in Philadelphia and advertised 1767-73? Where is one specimen of 'General Washington's bust, ditto in Medallions, several images part of them not finished', which in 1784 were offered at the sale of Jeremiah Warder's kilns in the North Liberties [Philadelphia]?


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, Maryland, was only one who made 'ware of the same kind as imported from Liverpool, or made in Philadelphia'.


In their day the 'compleat Setts of Blue-china, Enamuel'd ditto' shown in the Boston imports lists of 1737 probably had no equal here. But the 'new fashion'd Turtle-shell Tercens' of Whieldon's ware [1754] were soon copied by colonial potters. The same were described as 'Tortoise-ware' in Boston and New York lists of 1771, along with other Whieldon-Wedgwood types such as 'Colly flower, Mellon, Pine-apple, Aggitt'. Also in 1771 came 'Queen's Ware' to Boston, the 'Plain Cream-colour' of New York.


Nothing approached the popularity of creamware, or lasted longer. Its inventor Josiah Wedgwood called this [1767] '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 England'. Three months later it 'already makes what is called Queen's Ware, equal to any imported'. But a grant of £500 from the Assembly did not save it from disastrous labour troubles.


William Ellis, one of the Bartlam workmen, appeared in December 1773 at Salem, North Carolina, where Brother Aust's diary said 'he understands how to glaze and burn Queens Ware'. The Moravians built a suitable kiln, and the following May 'Ellis made a burning of Queensware'. He departed the same year and in 1783 Wedgwood referred to this Ellis as now 'of Hanley' [Staffordshire], calling him the sole survivor of Bartlam's enterprise.


Philadelphia became the centre of creamware manufacture. Here in 1792 the Pennsylvania Society for Encouragement of Manufactures and the Useful Arts offered a $50 prize for specimens 'approaching nearest to queen's-ware'. John Curtis, having dissolved the partnership of Curtis & Roat in July 1790, continued with 'the cream-color'd' from 1791 to 1811 at his Pottery-Ware Manufactory in Front Street, Southwark. Three others soon appeared: Alexander Trotter [who in 1809 had 'lately established a Queens-ware pottery on an extensive scale'; the Colombian Pottery'; Daniel Freytag [maker in 1810-11 of a 'fine earthenware, the paste resembling queen's-ware']; and David G. Seixas [producing from 1816 a cream-colour 'similar to the Liverpool'].


In New York 'a new Cream Ware Manufactory' was established in 1798 at Red Hook Landing, where J. Mouchet made Tivoli Ware 'with colored edges'. Nor had Alexander Trotter retired in 1812-13 [Spargo, p. 180], but reappeared 1815 in Pittsburgh, with Trotter & Co. advertising 'Queensware similar to the Philadelphia'.


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 Louisville, Kentucky, where creamware had been made since 1830 by the Lewis Pottery Co. With the backing of Vodrey & Lewis, Clews built a large factory downriver at Troy. Indiana, and the first kiln of the new Indiana Pottery Co. was fired in June 1837. A blue-printed snuff jar with the mark Clew's Manufacturer's is a good sample of the ware made here only in 1837-8, Clews then returning to England because the local clays proved disappointing.


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 Amana, Iowa. The Bennett Pottery might be listed in 1847 in the Pittsburgh directory as 'makers of domestic Queensware', but through the Ohio country this name was understood to mean a cream-bodied earthenware with rich brown glaze.

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 'Bennington' as a generic name is wrongly applied to wares the bulk of which were made elsewhere, principally at East Liverpool and down the Ohio River, or by the Bennetts of Pittsburgh and Baltimore, by a hundred factories large and small. At Bennington Julius Norton first made Rockingham or 'flint' glaze [as it was generally called] in 1841. Henderson had produced it in 1829: 'Flint Ware both embossed and plain', in what the New York Commercial Advertiser called 'elegant pitchers . . . in a new style [which] if not too cheap will be accounted handsome'.


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].

Printed Wares
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 Henderson works, which since 1833 had been called the American Pottery Manufacturing Co.


In 1839 the pattern Canova was printed in light blue, cribbed from a design by John Ridgway of Hanley. The United States eagle and shield occurs on 6 1/2-inch [16.5 cm] jugs also in light blue. In transfer print with added colours, the Landing of Gen-Lafayette/at Castle Garden, New York/16th August 1824 is seen on a large jug and footed punch bowl at the New York Historical Society, the same jug with a 15 1/2-inch [39.4 cm] oval cistern appearing No. 243 in the Van Sweringen sale of 1938 at Parke-Bernet Galleries. In Antiques, May 1931, p. 361, this view is assigned to 1843, when historic Castle Garden [formerly Fort Clinton] was leased to Christopher Heiser.


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 Harrison [from the J.R. Lambdin portrait, engraved by R. W. Dodson and published 1836] is shown the American eagle; above is the 'log cabin' symbol of the Harrison-Tyler presidential campaign, with The Ohio Farmer. When the same subject was issued a year before, during that campaign against the New York aristocrat Martin Van Brenu, the log cabin was lettered To Let in 1841.


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].


The Henderson jug carries a black-printed mark AM. POTTERY/MANUFgCo/JERSEY CITY, and for it [says Lura W. Watkins] 'printing plates were executed by Thomas Pollock, an American engraver'.


Slightly earlier [1837-8] is a blue-printed creamware jar for snuff made to order of Hezekiah Starr, a tobacconist at No. 27 Calvert Street, Baltimore. It has the mark Clew's Manufacturer's.


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 America and at Louisville, Kentucky, found the firm Vodrey & Lewis, makers [p. 410] of creamware since 1829.


Clews, being 'a man of fine presence and a fluent talker', persuaded Jacob Lewis and others to back him; the Louisville factory was closed, and a new Indiana Pottery Company established in January 1837 across the river at Troy, Indiana. Neither the workmen nor the Ohio River Valley clays suited him, and after disappointing efforts to make creamware in 1837-8 he returned to England. The factory under various proprietors made yellow and Rockingham wares until finally demolished in 1875.


A pot for Macabau, Scotch & Rapee SNUFF is probably not unlike those creamware 'pickle, pomatum & druggist pots' made in 1798 by J. Mouchet in New York. Another nearer its own time and area is the 10-inch [25.4 cm] brown-glazed jar, also found in Indiana, made for the tobacconist H. Thayer and carrying the mark of a Cincinnati maker Franklin Factory/1834/S. Quigley/S. Quigley [Antiques, August 1928, p. 162].


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.

Late Wares
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 [1733] 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 [1765] 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 [1843] 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.

Tucker porcelain
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.

Other porcelain
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.

Moulded Wares
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. Bennington had been first to introduce 'this exquisite material, the happy substitute for marble in statuettes' -indeed, in 1852 had advertised it by the latter name, as 'Figures in Parian Marble'. The snowy ware was everywhere a favourite after the 1850s, made from Vermont to the Carolinas, or in Ohio by William Bloor of East Liverpool in 1860. And so much was its formula varied, one often doubts whether to call an example Parian or bisque porcelain.


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 Bennington and displayed 1853 at the Crystal Palace [Barber, Fig. 74]. In three tiers of marbled or 'scroddled' ware, of the colour-flecked Fenton's Enamel, and of brown-streaked Rockingham, it was topped with the Parian figure of a 'woman in the act of presenting the Bible to an infant'. Just below, a portrait bust also in Parian represented Mr Fenton himself, peeking through a classic colonnade.


In America David Henderson of Jersey City, who has been called 'the Wedgwood of America', was pioneer in the manufacture of moulded wares. His fine buff stoneware jug marked Uncle Toby/1829 was advertised as Toby Philpot [sic] in 1830. A very similar but larger one was made in 1838-45 at the Salamander Works [1825-96] in Woodbridge, New Jersey. This is a jug of rich chestnut-brown colour with yellow-glazed interior. A Daniel Greatbach model with grapevine handle was made at Bennington, with normal Rockingham glaze but mismarked Fenton's Enamel/Patented 1849.

American Belleek
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 at Baltimore, and the Columbian Art Pottery [established 1893] made it by 1895 at Trenton.


Perhaps best of the American Belleek was 'Lotus Ware' a product of Knowles, Taylor & Knowles at East Liverpool, 1891-8. In 1887 Isaac W. Knowles had brought over Joshua Poole, manager of the Irish Factory, and before 1889 made a finely moulded and fragile ware that in the 1890s earned much favour.


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 United States'] began with these words: 'Ten years ago there were probably not ten collectors of pottery and porcelain in the United States. Today there are perhaps ten thousand . . . .' What would he think of the range and vigour of collecting today? [p. 415]



[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, London. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1962. Revised and Expanded Edition.]






Corzilius / Corcilius Genealogy HomeHome Page