November 8, 2009

Reprint from the Pondering Potter and West Virginia

From the great state of West Virginia we have Renee Margocee to thank for posting this video. I thought you might like to see it if you haven't already. [but take my advice and mute the sound]

After seeing this video, it's clear why Fiesta ware is everywhere.

Here is some more info about the origins from the HLC web site:

Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin, two brothers from East Liverpool, Ohio, formed a partnership in 1871 to sell pottery ware, which was made in the factories located in their hometown.

The pottery industry in East Liverpool had begun in the 1840’s, manufacturing yellow ware from the rich deposits of local clay and utilizing the Ohio River to transport their products throughout the region. By 1870, public preference was shifting from the relatively crude yellow ware to a more sophisticated white ware that was being imported from England. Local potters saw the need for change and the East Liverpool City Council offered $5,000 in seed money to someone who would build and operate a pottery for the production of white ware.

The Laughlin Brothers submitted a proposal which was accepted by the Council and a two-kiln plant was built on the banks of the Ohio River in 1873. The plant was built on land purchased from Benjamin Harker for $300. Mr. Harker’s pottery was located next door.

The Laughlin Brothers quickly gained a reputation for quality and, in 1876, their white granite ware won an award at the United States Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. By 1877, Shakespeare, the younger brother, was ready to move on to pursue other interests. The business was continued as an individual enterprise as the Homer Laughlin China Works. The business continued to prosper through the 1880’s and became one of the better known manufacturers of ceramic dinnerware and toilet ware in the United States.