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Although many companies manufactured dinnerware throughout history, we just wanted to give you a sampling of a few of the major names and patterns you're likely to encounter at an Antique American Glass and Pottery show.
A.E. Hull Pottery company was organized in July, 1905, in Crooksville, Ohio. It rapidly expanded, acquiring Acme Pottery two years later. In its early years, Hull manufactured toilet and kitchenware. These products were used both in hotels and homes. Tiles were also produced in the early years.
Art pottery took over as the main line during the late 1930's, and into the mid 1940's. Baskets, bowls, ewers (pitchers), vases, and teapot sets were produced in many different patterns. These include mostly floral patterns, such as Iris, Orchid, Tulip, Poppy, and Sunflower. One of Hull's most popular patterns was Bowknot. Most of these patterns appeared with a bi-color combination, often with one color on the bottom, fading to cream, then fading into a second color at the top. Most of these were produced in a matte finish.
The Red Riding Hood line was introduced with the cookie jar, patented in 1943. Due to the popularity of the cookie jar, many other items were produced. These included different sizes of salt and pepper shakers, a teapot, mustard, pitcher, bank, string holder, canister and spice sets, and several sets of creamers and sugars. The distinctive look of this line contributed to its being one of the most popular Hull produced. During the 1940's, novelty items such as banks and lamps were also produced.
The Crooksville plant was destroyed in 1950. Locally heavy rain caused flash flooding. The red hot pottery kilns exploded when covered by water, and the plant itself then caught on fire. 95% of the stockholders wanted to rebuild and modernize in Crooksville and a new plant opened on January 1, 1952. Some of the lines in this new era include Parchment and Pine, Floral, kitchenware lines, Serenade, and Butterfly. Also, piggy banks were again introduced, being produced at the rate of 5,000 per day.
Although production in the Hull plant continued into the 1970's, most of the "collectible" items fall into the era of the 1930's-1950's. There are several good reference books available on Hull Pottery. In hardcover, Hull Pottery: Decades of Design, was written by Jeffrey B. Snyder. This book was published by Schiffer Books. The paperback, Hull, the Heavenly Pottery, was published in 2008. Authored by Joan Gray Hall, this is the eighth edition of this price guide.
Roseville was one of the leading manufacturers of art pottery during the early 1900's through the 1950's. The company was named for its original location, Roseville, Ohio. When most of the operation was moved to nearby Zanesville, the decision was made to retain its original name.
Literally dozens of patterns can be found on an almost endless number of shapes where art pottery is concerned. "Rozane", probably the earliest pattern collected, was manufactured in the early 1900's. Its name was taken from the combination of Roseville and Zanesville, OH. Mostly found in dark colors, its shapes were accented with flowers, pictures, and even a variety of streaking with contrasting colors.
Donatello, introduced in 1915 was the most widely produced in the Roseville lines. It can be found in small pieces, such as powder jars, progressing up to large vases. Over one hundred pieces were produced in this pattern alone. Building on the success of this, many other pattern lines were introduced. Dogwood made its appearance in 1916, followed by Florentine, Tuscany, Rosecraft, Sunflower, and Cherry Blossom just to name a few. The last pattern which was produced in quantity was Pinecone. The pinecone pattern was produced in over 75 shapes, with three main glaze colors of blue, green, and brown. An occasional piece can be found in the rare pink glaze.
While the vast majority of pieces of Roseville are marked, usually with a pattern line number and an item number and size, there are still some pieces which were never marked. There are reproductions of some of the Roseville lines today (see reproduction section), but the quality and workmanship are very poor. None of the details of the original flowers, leaves, and shading is apparent in the "new" Roseville. Once you've been shown a reproduction, you'll probably never be fooled. The differences are obvious, even to the relatively new collector.
While there are several good reference books available for Roseville Pottery, we would recommend Roseville In All Its Splendor, authored by Jack and Nancy Bomm. It was published by the L-W Book Sales in 1998, it provides the best photographs of the entire art pottery line. 2009 Roseville Pottery by the Numbers, A Price Guide, is the 27th edition of this little paperback book. John W. Humphries and Erin Hamilton provide a numeric list of each piece, arranged by pattern, and its current value. Although no pictures are available, its pricing information is very current.
Founded at the turn of the century, The McCoy Pottery company went through many names and changes. Various companies were acquired, merged, and changed, especially in the early years.
After a fire destroyed the manufacturing portion of the Zanesville, Ohio building in 1918, production was enlarged at the Roseville, Ohio plant. Early productions were very functional, including crocks, butter jars, and glazed pots. Other lines were blue stenciled ware of rolling pins, bowls, jugs, and blue banded ware. Many of these early lines were floral designs, but pieces of functional use.
It wasn't until the 1930's that the collectable art pottery was introduced. Not as stylized as Hull or Roseville, it tended to be darker colored. Although floral designs and birds are present, they are harder to see because many of them were the same color as the vase or ewer. Later in the 1940's, bean pots, batter sets, and teapot sets as well as many varieties of planters went into production.
McCoy was also well known for cookie jars. Many whimsical shapes and designs were created up through the 1960's. These included baskets, teapots, log cabins, rocking horses, roosters, cars, fireplaces, bird houses, and butter churns to mention a few. In fact, many people collect only McCoy cookie jars, and they're running out of room!
Sharon and Bob Huxford have written a good reference book, The Collectors Encyclopedia of McCoy Pottery. It was published by Collector Books in 1990, but has been re-issued with updated values. Another good reference is written by Bob Hanson, Craig Nissen, and Margaret Hanson, titled McCoy Pottery: Reference & Value Guide, Volume 3. This was published by Collector Books in 2001.
Various pieces have been reproduced in Roseville and Hull. In Roseville, there are only a few patterns that have been made. One of the most widely reproduced is Magnolia. As previously stated, the quality is very poor and easily recognized. Red Riding Hood cookie jars have also been reproduced. If you collect these patterns or pieces, our best advice is to do research. Either buy a good reference book, or check with your local library. The information is available, make yourself a good consumer. Also, if you have questions, come to a show. All dealers stake their reputations on what they sell, and they'll be happy to help you in any way they can.
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