Ohio Art Pottery

You can’t study art pottery very long without noticing that many of the great American potteries were in Ohio.  Roseville, McCoy, Hull, and Weller are some of the better known names that came from this region.  Between about 1840 and 1967, Ohio was home to hundreds of potteries, and most of them were located in one of two areas in east Ohio.

East Liverpool, which is located in along the banks of the Ohio River, was known as the "Pottery Capital of the World" and "America’s Crockery Capital."  The ceramics history of this area began in 1840 when an Englishman named James Bennett discovered that the clay along the Ohio’s riverbanks was ideal for making yellow ware.  Homer Laughlin introduced white ware to the local companies in 1872, and it soon became as popular as the yellow ware.  Companies like Hall China, Homer Laughlin, American Limoges, and Standard Pottery produced over 50 percent of American ceramics between 1840 and 1930. 

The area around the towns of Roseville, Zanesville, and Crooksville was the other Ohio pottery hotspot.  This southeastern Ohio region is rich in clay, and its pottery history goes all the way back to the Native Americans.  When European settlers came to the area, they set up "bluebird" potteries in their backyards and sheds.  Naturally, there were entrepreneurs who saw the pottery’s profit potential, and an industry was born.  McCoy, Weller, and Roseville were some of the first potteries to establish successful businesses in the area that would eventually be known as the "Pottery Belt" and "Clay Corridor." 

The World’s Columbian Exposition, which was held in Chicago in 1893, introduced the Arts and Crafts movement to American potters and greatly influenced Ohio’s pottery industry.  Potteries began creating art pottery in addition to the utilitarian jugs and crocks they had been producing.  After the turn of the century, the art pottery business was booming, and Ohio was a leading producer.  Here are some of the better known pottery companies from the Roseville, Zanesville, and Crooksville Ohio areas.

Most of these companies closed at some point after WWII, when foreign competition entered the American market.  But Ohio remains true to its pottery roots and has many functioning potteries today.

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