Pennsbury Pottery is one of those names we don’t always hear about. Founded in 1950 by Henry Below, his wife and son, it remained in business for just two decades before a fire destroyed it. Every time I see a piece of this unique art pottery, the first word that comes to mind is “Americana”. This line of folk art pottery depicts eagle designs, roosters and a traditional barber shop quartet, among others – all symbols of Americana. Mrs. Below is the one who most often created the artistic inclusions on the pottery. Perhaps it’s the depictions of Amish people that plays a role in this line of art pottery; it really allows it to stand apart from other pottery efforts during this twenty year time frame between 1950 and 1970. Because it was made in Pennsylvania, which is the heart of Amish country, it stands to reason inspiration would be pulled from such a gentle and noble people.
During its short run, plates, pitchers, tiles and vinegar and oil bottles were made available. Its first design in 1950 was a series of birds that many compare to the designs found on pottery by Stangl Company. Not only that, but Stangl Pottery also incorporated eagles as well as hen and rooster sets, which, of course is also found in Pennsbury Pottery.
There is another little known fact that sets Pennsbury apart. It created a rare Walt Disney plate. When we say “plate” – we mean only one single plate was ever made. It’s dated 1970 on the bottom and was made to memorialize and present to Walt Disney himself during the opening of the Walt Disney School in Pennsylvania. Research efforts yielded no further information on this piece, though it’s likely there are collectors who have been on the lookout for it many years.
A few of the official Pennsbury Pottery design names include “Black Rooster” “Hex Ware” “American Eagle” and the barber shop quartet is officially named “Sweet Adeline”.