A blog about architectural tiles, terra cotta and other ceramic surfaces, architectural glass and ornamentation in and around New York.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Advertising on Ceramic Art


No news to report yet:

There is no ruling, yet, on the proposal to landmark the Empire State Dairy Company buildings along with the two American Encaustic Tiling Company murals on one of the buildings. Landmark designation was taken up by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) last July. The owners wanted to remove one or more (read "all") buildings on the site from being landmarked, and the LPC has been trying to find a compromise between the developer and the community/ preservationists. We are still waiting.

Advertising on Ceramic Art

One of the more interesting sidebars in the ceramics-collecting community is that of advertising on ceramic art--whether they be vases, pitchers, plaques, paperweights, pin trays, tiles, or something else. By “advertising” I mean works that advertise the pottery, or another company or institution, or commemorate or memorialize something or someone. Some were created to look like a ceramic piece, and some were made of a substance other than clay--metal, cardboard, etc.--and were used to advertise the company. These were usually items that were given away to preferred customers, a select population, or may have been sold to the public in general. Most of the best potteries and tile-makers created these items, and they give an added dimension to the history of ceramics. (Many of the pieces below are from my own collection.)

An encaustic paving tile made by the Robert Minton Taylor Tile Works (c.1869-1875) made to advertise the company and its agent, T. Aspinwall, in New York City. The design of a belt and buckle is unusual and illustrates the company's ability to make interesting encaustic designs. (Courtesy of tile historian Michael Sims) Robert Minton Taylor, a nephew of Herbert Minton the founder of the Minton China Works, "...was a partner in M. D. Hollins from 1863 to 1868, and ran his own business[, Robert Minton Taylor Tile Works at Fenton, near Stoke-upon-Trent,] from 1869-1875. In 1875 he was bought out by Colin Minton Campbell, but stayed on to run the works[, now the Campbell Brick & Tile Company]." (D.S. Skinner and Hans van Lemmen, Minton Tiles 1835 - 1935, Stoke-on-Trent City Museum & Art Gallery, 1984, p. 6) 

To paraphrase art historian Susan J. Montgomery,
what better way to advertise your products than to place a new ceramic piece--specially created to communicate the rich glazes, clever designs, durable surfaces and the feel of the piece--directly in the hands of a prospective customer. (Susan J. Montgomery, American Arts and Crafts Tile from the Two Red Roses Foundation, Two Red Roses Foundation, Palm Harbor, FL, 2016, p. 112) Even if a souvenir was made to advertise someone else's product, if it had a maker's mark, it also served to promote the pottery that created it.

A fish-head, “motto” pitcher made by the British company, C.H. Brannam Barum, in 1896. Although portions of the glaze are missing, the pitcher advertises a special month-long sale of Dunlop Tyres. This pitcher caught my eye because I had just written an article about the London headquarters of the French Michelin Tyre Company, a major competitor to the English Dunlop Tyre Company (http://architurist.blogspot.com/2014/02/michelin-house-london.html). (All photos courtesy of Michael Padwee unless otherwise noted)

At the time this pitcher was made, C. H. Brannam Baraum was a well-known pottery in Barnstaple, North Devon, England. Charles Hubert Brannam took over his father’s two potteries by 1881, and “[...he] was responsible for the development of the art pottery department and the future success of the business. [Charles] recruited highly skilled designers, especially William Baron and John Dewdney, but continued to throw the ware himself.” (http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/C._H._Brannam)  The pottery’s fish motif, especially when used as a spout, was very popular. This pitcher, and others like it, were probably given away for free by Dunlop to advertise the month-long sale in 1896. 

Another well-known British company advertised its selection as a supplier to the Royal family on the reverse of a ceramic paperweight (c. 1901-1910).

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Minton (and many other ceramic companies) were represented on their own, or other company's cardboard trade cards.

Both sides of a trade card for the E. W. Gillett Company's "Magic Yeast Cakes". A Minton tile was enclosed in packages of the yeast cakes.

Obverse and reverse of a cardboard trade card/salesman's sample made by the publishing firm of S. Van Campen & Co. of New York for the Kensington Art Tile Company of Newport, Kentucky . “These extremely rare ‘paper tiles’ were made for a company that also produced molded tiles. The very convincing paper versions of glazed earthenware tiles were probably made by pressing paper on an actual ceramic tile and then painting and lacquering them. “Paper tiles” may have been used in showrooms or by traveling sales representatives as lightweight and unbreakable samples.” (https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/116218

The Kensington Art Tile Company (c.1883-1893) of Newport, Kentucky was a short-lived pottery that produced many fine dust-pressed portrait tiles. According to tile historian Norman Karlson, ceramic artists Otto Metzner, Herman Carl Mueller and Mary Louise Laughlin worked at Kensington during the decade of its existence. The Newport factory's closing took place in about 1893, and on March 9, 1895 the Kentucky Post reported that the equipment from the Newport factory was shipped to Hamilton, Ohio. It was reported that a commemorative tile was produced "...indicating that the Hamilton Tile Works and the Kensington Art Tile Company were consolidated...in Hamilton, Ohio." (Norman Karlson, The Encyclopedia of American Art Tiles, Volume 3, Regions 4 and 5, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2005, p. 16--an example of this commemorative tile, however, has not been located.)

The Hamilton Tile Works also produced advertising tiles for area companies.

Ritchie & Dyer Company were manufacturers of steam road engines and stationary and portable engines in Hamilton, Ohio in the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th century.

One of the more successful Brooklyn Potteries in the city's Greenpoint district was the Union Porcelain Works.
The Union Porcelain Works began as a “...small establishment, with one small kiln...on the site of the present works [300 Eckford Street], for the manufacture of doorknobs, etc... . ...They proved unsuccessful, and the works passed into the hands of a stock company, who succeeded in inducing Thomas C. Smith, then a prosperous architect and builder in New York, to loan them considerable sums of money. The [Civil] war came on, the company failed, and Mr. Smith found himself obliged to take the factory for his debt. In 1863 he was in Europe, and embraced the opportunity to visit the porcelain factory of Sevres, in France, and some of the English potteries in Stoke-on-Trent; and when he...returned home he had fully made up his mind to undertake the manufacture of hard porcelain.” (“The Famous Old Union Porcelain Works of Brooklyn”, The Pottery, Glass & Brass Salesman, Vol. XV, No. 3, Feb. 15, 1917, p. 41)

The Union Porcelain Works used “[k]aolin or porcelain clay of the very best quality and the purest of quartz and feldspar [which] are the constituents of the body of natural porcelain, or China, as it is more commonly called." (Ibid.)  “It was Thomas Smith’s ambition to create an American style in ceramics, distinct from contemporary European models. The result...was an eclectic selection of symbols, usually from literature or everyday American life, applied to conventional forms." (In Pursuit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986, p. 476)

A Union Porcelain Works souvenir paperweight.

The Union Porcelain Works advertised its own porcelain products with souvenirs like this dog-head paperweight.

Other potteries made small paperweights, like the ones below, that were given away or sold to members of fraternal organizations.

Advertising paperweight for the Delta Kappa Gamma Society made by the Fort Hays Pottery in Fort Hays, Kansas. The size is approximately 3 3/8 Inches tall by 2 1/4 inches by 3/4 inch thick. “DKG is a professional honor society of key women educators in the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Japan. ...The name is a combination of the initial letters of three Greek words: ∆ιδασκαοι—Didaskotikai meaning teachers; Κλειδουχοι—Kleidouchai meaning key; and Γυναικεz­— Gynaikes meaning women.” (http://www.dkg.org/DKGMember/About_Us/DKGMember/About.aspx?hkey=64e3b9c3-9060-4e4f-8a56-5604d5d9bacb)

The Fort Hays Pottery was founded by ceramic artist John M. Strange (1903-1988). “John M. Strange was born in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. He founded the Fort Hays Kansas State College ceramics program, where he also was director of the Fort Hays Pottery. The Fort Hays pottery was in existence from 1935-1948 and was tied to the National Youth Administration or NYA.*(“John Strange”, Vasefinder online Museum; http://www.vasefinder.com/pw-members/sssartists/strange. john.m.asp--you have to create a free membership login ID. *The National Youth Administration was a New Deal agency in the United States that focused on providing work and education for Americans between the ages of 16 and 25. It operated from June 26, 1935 to 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Following the passage of the Reorganization Act of 1939, the NYA was transferred from the WPA to the Federal Security Agency. In 1942, the NYA was transferred to the War Manpower Commission (WMC). The NYA was dissolved in 1943; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_ Youth_Administration

A 6" diameter fraternal tile medallion made by the Coors Pottery in 1934. This may have been a student organization as I have seen "AESM Student" enamel pins.

This medallion was made by the Coors Porcelain Company of Golden, Colorado, which was  "...founded with the help of the Coors Brewing Company. Its founder, John Herold, started the Herold China and Pottery Company in 1910. The company name was changed in 1920, when Herold left. ...During World War II, Coors made porcelain-like nose cones for rockets for the U.S. military. After the war, the pottery made ovenware, teapots, vases, and a general line of pottery, but no dinnerware---except for special orders. The company is still in business making industrial porcelain." (https://www.kovels.com/price-guide/pottery-porcelain-price-guide/coors.html)

Other types of ceramics that promote fraternal or other institutional organizations are those below:

A three-handled tyg--a large drinking vessel with two or more handles--made by Charles Volkmar to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Martha Washington Club in New York City in 1900. A small quantity were probably made to be given, or sold to members.

Charles Volkmar was a famous painter and ceramic artist by the time he made the Martha Washington Club tyg in 1900. Volkmar (1841-1914) was raised in Baltimore and had “the great advantage of starting as an artist. ...His grandfather was an engraver, and his father, educated in Dresden, a portrait painter and a skilful restorer… . [Charles studied]...under Barye at the Jardan des Plantes, ...and...with Harpignies...in and around Paris. [...While] located at a studio...near Fontainebleau,...he became interested in ceramics through the proximity of a small pottery in which he [...tried] his hand at painting underglaze. His first appearance at the [Paris] Salon had been made in 1875 with two oil paintings, and he became a frequent exhibitor with paintings, etchings and pottery.” (William Walton, “Charles Volkmar, Potter”, The International Studio, Vol. XXXVI, No. 143, January 1909, p. LXXV) 

An over-mantle, tile panel hunting scene designed and executed by Charles Volkmar for a house owned by Morgan W. Ayers (aka Ayres) of Clifton, New Jersey. The tiles are probably underglaze slip painted.

In the United States Volkmar moved his pottery from place to place during the last part of the Nineteenth century and up to his death in 1914. “Charles built a kiln at Greenpoint, Long Island, in 1879 where he produced tiles and vases. He was the first potter to use underglaze slip painting in the United States.” (http://siris-archives.si.edu/ipac20/ipac. jsp?uri=full=3100001~!213244!0Volkmar "...made vases and tiles depicting pastoral landscapes and barnyard scenes. Fireplace tiles produced under Volkmar’s direction were shown at an 1880 exhibition of the Salmagundi Club. In 1882 Volkmar moved the pottery to Tremont, now the Bronx… .” (Norman Karlson, The Encyclopedia of American Art Tiles, Volume I, Region 2, Schiffer Publishing Company, Atglen, PA, 2005, p. 127) 

In 1888 Volkmar moved to Menlo Park, New Jersey where he and J.T. Smith started the Menlo Park Ceramic Works. Volkmar “...used opaque glazes and low relief lines to define compositions, instead of the high line relief commonly employed at the time.”  Their partnership dissolved in about 1894, and in 1895 “...Volkmar...opened the VOLKMAR KERAMIC CO., at 39 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, producing art tiles and household ceramics, primarily in a Delft-inspired style. The same year, he and artist Kate Cory established VOLKMAR & CORY in the Corona section of the Bronx. The designs produced here were similar to those of Volkmar Keramic--Delft-style American scenes in blue underglaze on a white background. ...these pieces [had] ...a greater amount of detail and texture than the traditional Dutch [Delftware] ceramics. [This] work ...won a gold medal at the 1895 Atlanta Exposition. By late 1896, however, this partnership was dissolved. Volkmar continued the pottery alone as CROWN POINT POTTERY, and then as VOLKMAR POTTERY.” (Karlson, p. 127) 

A fireplace surround made by Charles Volkmar for the home of Charles and Ella Condie Lamb in Cresskill, New Jersey (1904). (Photo: Alice M. Kellog, “An Artist’s Home in New Jersey”, House and Garden, Vol. V, No. 2, Feb. 1904, p. 66)

Volkmar stayed in the Corona section of the Bronx until about 1903. At the time when the tyg was made, Volkmar was called "...a modern Palissy. Like the French potter of the sixteenth century, he is willing to do the finest things in clay, and he is so critical of his own work as to sacrifice every piece which does not please his better judgment. He works in the spirit of a Greek potter of the best period: caring nothing for ornament that is not essential to the design; but strenuously seeking harmony of line, grace of proportion, depth and suavity of tone. His productions are not for the moment... ." ("An Arts and Crafts Exhibition", The Craftsman, Vol. II, No. 1, April 1902, p. 50)

A small, wearable, union identification medallion made by the American Encaustic Tiling Company for a 1914 International Tile Layers and Helpers Union convention.

Another type of advertising on ceramics were mementos of union conventions and labor organizing in the United States.

Sanitary porcelain ware manufacturers sometimes showed a wry sense of humor in their advertising. The molded porcelain piece below is marked “UNIVERSAL POTTERY” and was probably used as a paperweight. The Universal Pottery Company of New Castle, Pennsylvania was, in the first decades of the 20th century, the largest sanitary ware manufacturer in the country.

Marked "UNIVERSAL" and "POTTERY" on the long sides of the base.

Another pottery company that made sanitary porcelain was Thomas Maddock’s Sons Company of Trenton, New Jersey. The area from Perth Amboy, New Jersey to Trenton was one of the major pottery clay districts in the country during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and many of the pottery and tile works in this area made souvenirs as advertising pieces.

A 1915 porcelain paperweight with an advertising decal made by Thomas Maddock’s Sons Company.

The American Encaustic Tiling Company (AET) was, in the first quarter of the 20th century, the largest tile manufacturer in the United States, and possibly in the world. Many companies and organizations requested commemorative tiles from AET, and AET also produced tiles advertising itself.

A 4” dust-pressed, intaglio-relief tile, probably designed by Herman Mueller, commemorated the dedication of a new AET plant in Zanesville, Ohio in April 1892.

“The American Encaustic Tiling Company...was founded in 1875, [and] initially operat[ed] under the name Fischer and Lansing. In addition to dust-pressed encaustic floor tiles and standard utilitarian wall tiles, the company produced a wide variety of decorative art tiles as it rapidly grew and expanded its facilities.

A picture post card of the AET plant in 1912.

“By 1890 an enlarged factory was required, and the founders, based in New York, wanted to build it in New Jersey. The people of Zanesville responded by passing a $40,000 bond to purchase land for the company adjacent to the Muskingum River and close to the local railroad. 

“The new plant was completed in two years and dedicated on April 19, 1892 with a celebration the likes of which was rarely seen at that time. 20,000 people attended the festivities arriving by foot, train, boat and horse-drawn carriage. Governor William McKinley was on hand to congratulate the citizenry for their foresight in maintaining this great company, which remained a boon to their community for the next forty years. The Zanesville plant closed in 1935, a victim of the Great Depression.” (The Tile Heritage Foundation; http://www.tileheritage.org/THF-TileoftheMonth-Apr-04.htmlMore recently, in 2015, the remaining AET buildings were reduced to rubble.

(Image courtesy of Pioneer Millworks; http://pioneermillworks.com)

AET produced many advertising pieces--both tiles and pottery--over its long tenure as the world’s largest tile company.

Nine AET advertising pieces (L to R from TL): International Order of the Odd Fellows (1889); Foster Bros., Utica, NY paperweight; AET company ad on a thin tile; 1896 McKinley campaign tile (AET also made a tile for the William Jennings Bryan campaign); advertising tile for the Charles A. Harvey mantel tiles company of Omaha, NE; a 6" long “ram” penholder; a 1907 fraternal tile; a menu tile (obverse and reverse) for the 1906 Mantel & Tile Dealers Association Banquet in Baltimore; a 6" long, green, Art-Deco “frog” ashtray.

Paperweights were one of the most ubiquitous types of advertising pieces. Some doubled as calendars.

"Half-spherical cream colored ceramic paperweight calendar for 1892 with an image in brown of a cherub an)d a calendar for each month[, size: 1 3/4 x 3 1/2 in.,] and the words: Camerden & Forster Sons to Alex.M. Hays &Co./ 1152-1154 Broadway/ Victoria Hotel/ New York/ Bronzes/ Novelties/Porcelains/ 1892/ Jewelers/ Importers/.” (http://www.nyhistory.org/exhibit/paperweightcalendar) I have not been able to identify the French pottery mark on the base--a script “G  D”.

According to an ad in an 1891 periodical (The Epoch, Vol. IX, No. 212, February 27, 1891), Camerden Forster Sons was the successor to Alex M. Hays & Co. Both companies sold French clocks and timepieces, among other items.

An oval Pewabic Pottery paperweight/souvenir of a conference in 1925. The design is molded with incised text on the edge.

“Mary Chase Perry Stratton [1867-1961] was a well-known Detroit-area ceramic artist and co-founder of Pewabic Pottery. ...When she was in her early teens, Stratton and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan where she began taking her first art classes at the Art School of the Detroit Museum of Art. From 1887 to 1889, when she was in her early twenties, Stratton studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy in Ohio... . Upon her return to Detroit, Stratton began collaborating with Horace James Caulkins, a ceramic artist and kiln specialist who developed the “Revelation kiln.” Together, Stratton and Caulkins created the company Pewabic Pottery in 1903. The company was extremely successful, fully utilizing the innovations of Caulkins’ kiln while Stratton used her art expertise to design the pottery and create a new glazing procedure that made Pewabic Pottery known worldwide.” (http://detroithistorical.org/learn/ encyclopedia-of-detroit/stratton-mary-chase-perry)

“In its early years, the [Pewabic Pottery] made rich and stunning pottery with glazes that have never been reproduced – they can’t be, because Pewabic founder and glazemaster Mary Chase Perry (later Stratton) destroyed the formulas that made Pewabic’s light-loving, iridescent pottery famous. ...The hallmark of early Pewabic pottery is [a] deep, lustrous glaze so eager to play with light it seems like a living substance. ‘You look at a vase in dark light, you think it’s black or blue,’ [Susan Bandes, Kresge Art Museum director] says. ‘Move it into the light and all of a sudden you see pinks and golds and silvers coming out.’ Perry’s glazes don’t stick like a static coating. They seem to swirl and drift over the surface of a piece, like the atmosphere of a planet. ‘You look at a lot of pots and the glaze seems to be right on the surface,’ Bandes says. ‘You look at Pewabic pots and you’re looking through layers and layers.’ ...Over the years, she came up with buff, ivory and brown glazes; metallic pigments; a slippery beast called "flowing" glaze; a stunning dark blue matte glaze; and her famous iridescent glazes, to name only a few.” (Lawrence Cosentino, “Turning Clay into Gold”, http://www.lansingcitypulse.com/lansing/archives/051019/stories/Pewabic%20(Cover%20Story).html)

The Pewabic Pottery still exists in Detroit, today, and it completes both large-scale commissions, as well as small, advertising tiles such as the one below.

A small Pewabic advertising tile made for the Detroit National Public Radio station, WDET, in 2000.

In 1882 the artist and Tile Club member, Elihu Vedder, designed a special, limited-edition, commemorative tile for the 150th performance of the play, Esmeralda, at the Madison Square Theatre on March 24. The lead actress was "Annie Russell (1864-1936), an American actress of Irish descent who achieved one of her greatest successes with Esmeralda, which would run for a total of 350 performances at New York's Madison Square Theatre." (http://www.postersplease.com/component/k2/item/11599)

This tile was probably either sold or distributed to the audience and/or cast on March 24, 1882.

The J. & J.G. Low Art Tile Works of Chelsea, Massachusetts (1879-c.1904) produced this tile. Low “produced an array of colorful monochrome tiles that were used to decorate walls, fireplace surrounds, cast iron stoves, clocks, and a wide variety of other products.” (Richard Pennington, “Chelsea Tile Soda Fountain Auctioned”, Chelsea Record, December 8, 2011; http://www.chelsearecord.com/2011/12/08/chelsea-tile-soda-fountain-auctioned/) The Low Art Tile Works under the leadership of John G. Low and his father produced new glazes, designs and tile production innovations. Francis D. Millet reported in articles in the Century and Harpers magazines in 1882, that John Low carved and pressed natural objects into the dust-pressed tiles before they were dried and fired. According to Millet, though, the main tiles made by Low were relief tiles made either by Richard Prosser’s dust-pressed method or by the wet clay method. Low’s contribution was to invent a method of working designs in high relief. Another Low innovation was the “plastic sketch”. This type of tile could be made in any size by a wet clay process. (https://tilesinnewyork.blogspot.com/ 2014/05/isaac-broome-innovation-and-design-in.html)

The Low Art Tile Company made tile advertising paperweights like the Estabrook & Eaton’s La Marinela cigars paperweight, above

Low also gave away small, 3” x 1”, color sample tiles that advertised the company and its glazes.

Another short-lived art tile company, the International Tile Company of Brooklyn, New York (1883-1891), produced a circular tile paperweight that advertised Binet champagne.

The maker of this advertising paperweight was identified as the International Tile Company by the Eversohn Museum in Syracuse, New York. However, my attempts to have their identification verified by the museum have been unanswered.

In February 1883 the International Tile Company was organized in New York State, and by late 1883 was producing English-type transfer tiles and molded relief and encaustic tiles at 92 Third Street, Brooklyn--near the Gowanus Canal, where raw materials could easily be off-loaded and tiles could be shipped. According to decorative arts historian Susan Padwee, "...the International Tile Company...was an anomaly.  I.T.C. was the only company organised and financed in England. I.T.C. was organized by sons of the Irish and English nobility, and was the first U.S. company to produce English-style transfer tiles for U.S. consumption." (https://tilesinnewyork.blogspot.com/ 2012/09/brooklyns-international-tile-company.html)

Brooklyn was also the home of the world-famous abolitionist preacher, Henry Ward Beecher. In 1887, Beecher, the minister of Brooklyn's Plymouth Congregational Church, died. Beecher, the brother of the author Harriet Beecher Stowe, was a staunch abolitionist prior to the Civil War, as well as a "social reformer, novelist, essayist and speaker. ...Beecher was also the editor for publications including The Independent and Christian Union. Beecher was...the author of many pamphlets and books that left a lasting mark on the American psyche. This work included Eyes and Ears, Summer in the Soul, Prayers from the Plymouth Pulpit, Norwood, or Village Life in New England, Life of Jesus Christ, Yale Lectures on Preaching, and Evolution and Religion. ...Beecher was very concerned about the spread of slavery into the territories. He used his pulpit as the means of disseminating his abolitionist views. After the Kansas-Nebraska Act replaced the Missouri Compromise, ...Beecher further inflamed the tense situation by sending arms shipments to the partisans he supported." During the Civil War "Henry Ward Beecher demanded that President Abraham Lincoln emancipate all slaves through executive order. After the Union forces retook Fort Sumter in 1865, Lincoln selected Beecher to speak to commemorate the event. Beecher, at that time, was so popular he was viewed as second only to Lincoln in shaping the post-war American identity." (http://www.egs.edu/library/henry-ward-beecher/biography/)

Henry Ward Beecher memorial 4" tile, c. 1887. (Courtesy of Susan I. Padwee)

The International Tile Company produced a commemorative tile to honor Beecher. “This tile was produced by a technique known in the nineteenth century as a photoceramic process, patented in Britain in 1886 by Denis Lawless, one of I T C’s stockholders.” (Susan Ingham Padwee, "The International Tile Company Catalogue", p. 117 in her unpublished thesis, The International Tile Company: Economic, Sanitary, Social, and Aesthetic issues in the development of the American Tile Industry)  

The Mosaic Tile Company of Zanesville, Ohio produced a series of hexagonal paperweights from about 1909 (the Abraham Lincoln Centenary) through the 1960s. Although the Lincoln “jasperware” cameo paperweights were the most popular--one of the last being produced for the Senate campaign of Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen in the early 1960s--other people and events were celebrated, and Mosaic’s Lincoln “jasperware” cameos were even copied by the Cambridge Art Tile Works (1886-1985?) of Covington, Kentucky. [It is possible that Cambridge bought or leased the Lincoln tile mold from Mosaic.]

From the top: a Cambridge Tile Company “jasperware” Lincoln cameo tile, which is virtually the same as the Mosaic Lincoln tiles; Mosaic Tile Company’s Woodrow Wilson tile; a Columbus tile made as an advertising piece for the C.F. Brunt Tile Co. of Columbus, Ohio; a Jose Marti tile made for Sucursal-Galiano in Havana, Cuba; a Robert Treat tile celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Newark, New Jersey in 1916; and a cast iron Lincoln probably used to make reverse-image plaster molds that received the powdered clay.

World War I hero, General John "Black Jack" Pershing, was honored with a 5" long oval, jasperware cameo tile in its own box.

The Mosaic Tile Company also created an unusual paperweight to advertise itself--a globe. At first the globe was made in shades of one color, but at some point, this changed into a polychrome, topographic globe on a base.

The Mosaic Lincoln hexagonal tiles were probably originally created for the 1909 Abraham Lincoln Centennial. Lincoln was a very popular figure, and other companies also used Lincoln's visage for souvenirs. 

This was also the year that Victor D. Brenner designed the Lincoln-head penny for the United States Treasury.

The Clay Shingle Company of Indianapolis made this heavy 8 1/8" x 4 3/4" Lincoln souvenir on their "Perfection Press", which may be the Clay Shingle name for their hydraulic press. The colors may have been painted on the Lincoln souvenir after the piece was fired in a kiln. 

The Clay Shingle Company was a large supplier of clay roofing tiles in the midwest from at least the early 1890s through the early 1900s. The company was organized in Indianapolis in 1890. By 1896 the company owned seven patents and was in the process of forming a Trust that, it was hoped, "...will in the near future have factories manufacturing their form of tile in nearly every state in the Union. They expect to be near the head, if they do not control, the Tile business of the country... ." (Consolidated Illustrating Company, compiler, Indianapolis of To-Day, Consolidated Illustrating Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1896, p. 117)

Other advertising ceramic paperweights were made by the J.B. Owens Pottery Company of Roseville and Zanesville, Ohio (1885-c.1905). One of those was for the Edmiston Horney Company, a book and stationery company, which changed its name to the Edmiston Book and Stationery Company in 1905. (The Publishers Weekly, Vol. LXVIII, No. 1, Whole No. 1747, July 22, 1905, p. 133)

A pre-1905 paperweight made by the J.B. Owens Pottery Company.

An interesting advertising piece was made by the New Chicago Crucible Company of Chicago. The New Chicago Crucible Company made crucibles for the metal foundry industry, and may have had a connection with the Chicago Crucible Company, a small art pottery that was founded in 1917, taken over by Northwestern Terra Cotta in 1921 to be its art pottery division, and ceased to exist in about 1932. (I have not found any physical evidence connecting the two companies, but the use of "Chicago" and "Crucible" in both their names suggests a connection. Why would a Chicago art pottery use the term "Crucible" in its name? Could the Chicago Crucible Company have been a small art pottery started by the New Chicago Crucible Company?

A 3 1/2" high, Art-Deco paperweight or pencil cup in the shape of a crucible, inscribed "New Chicago Crucible Company" on the side opposite the nude woman, and stamped with a "C" that is cut horizontally and vertically.

The New Chicago Crucible Company was also founded in Chicago in about 1917 and made crucibles out of graphite and clay for the foundry and munitions industries. World War I cut off the American crucible manufacturers from their supplies of Ceylonese graphite and a special German clay, the ingredients from which crucibles were made. American companies and researchers found substitutes, and the industry expanded. ("New Chicago Crucible Company", The Metal Industry, Vol. 15, No. 10, October 1917, pp. 449-452)

A tea tile made by the Chicago Crucible Company to advertise that company to the public.

Small, specialized pottery companies have also been called upon by their local communities for commemorative ceramics. The Peru, Indiana Centennial was celebrated, for example, with a 2" diameter, 3/4" high souvenir paperweight that was made by the local Molded Insulation Division of the Square D Company, which made ceramic insulators.

One of the more unique ceramic advertising pieces was made to be a greeting card. For a number of years in the 1920s and 1930s A.B. Fosseen, the President of the Washington Brick Lime and Sewer Pipe Company (aka Waco) of Clayton, Washington, made art tile holiday greeting "cards".

According to Richard D. Mohr, the text on the Waco Christmas tile reads “Holiday Greetings Mr and Mrs A. B. Fosseen.” The M in Mr. doubles as mountain peaks.  (The tile is from the collection of tile historian Richard D. Mohr.)

In about 1890 J.H. Spear, the owner of a brickyard, formed the Washington Brick Lime and Manufacturing Company, which was absorbed into the Washington Brick Lime and Sewer Pipe Company in 1910. 

A 5 3/8" diameter brick-clay medallion, probably made prior to 1910, and possibly commemorating the owner of the Washington Brick Lime & Mfg. Company, J.H. Spear. 

In 1919 control of the company passed from Spear and his family to a group of businessmen headed by Fosseen. (Clay-Worker, June 1919, p. 695)

Another of Waco's art tiles commemorates the National Recovery Administration of the National Industrial Recovery Act. The tile depicts bricks, kilns, sewer pipes, tools and a working factory protected by an American NRA eagle. 

Most advertising pieces are fairly small and not very heavy--except for doorstops.

A "charging elephant" doorstop made by the Denver Terra Cotta Company in an ivory glaze.

“The original Denver Terra Cotta Company was founded in the early 1900s by [an] employee[,] George Fackt[,] of [the] St Louis Terra Cotta [Company,...which] was later acquired by Chicago's Northwestern Terra Cotta in 1924.” (http://www.broadmoorpottery.com/2012-06-01.html)

The Denver Terra Cotta Company, c. 1918. (E.K. Barnhart, “P.B.X. Sites of South Denver”, The Monitor, Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company, April 1918, p. 4. Photo by L.O. Christensen.)

“Early 20th century Denver was...a regional center for the use of architectural terra cotta. The Denver Terra Cotta Company, later called the Northwest Denver Terra Cotta Company, was a nationally prominent maker of architectural terra cotta, the only such producer in a thousand-mile radius of the city.” (United States Department of the Interior, National Parks Service, National Register of Historic Places, Registration Form, Chamber of Commerce Building, Denver, Colorado. January 16, 2001. Section 8, Page 9; http://npgallery.nps.gov/pdfhost/ docs/NRHP/Text/00001647.pdf) 

A Denver Terra Cotta "Liberty Bell" doorstop in a green glaze.

Denver Terra Cotta, like many architectural terra cotta companies, also made small souvenirs and special commemorative pieces. It is not known if these were given away to special customers or sold to the general public. Besides the elephant and Liberty Bell doorstops, Denver Terra Cotta also made scarab paperweights and owl bookends, among others.

The American Terra Cotta Company of Terra Cotta and Chicago, Illinois (aka Teco) also made doorstops.

A ceramic basket of flowers made by the American Terra Cotta Company.

Terra cotta companies also made other types of advertising wares. The Midland Terra Cotta Company of Chicago, for instance, made an interesting architectural pin (or coin) tray.

Ceramics companies also made a variety of souvenirs for different expositions and World’s Fairs. These souvenirs would have had a wider and more diverse distribution than the many ceramic souvenirs produced for a local market. 

The Anna Pottery of Anna, IL (1859-1896) made the souvenir commode, below, for The Columbian Exposition (1893).

The Anna Pottery’s folk wares featured “...presentation pig flasks, snake jugs, frog mugs and many other unique items that were presented to people of prominence such as City Officials, Dean’s of Universities, Governors and the Smithsonian Institute.” Run by Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick many of these pieces of pottery conveyed messages--the brothers’ opinions--”on Politics, Corrupt Tax Revenuers, the Temperance Movement, and many other socially engaging topics... .” (http://www.annapottery.com)

The United States Encaustic Tile Works of Indianapolis, Indiana also produced a 2” diameter, Columbian Exposition souvenir tile.

The United States Encaustic Tile Company was organized in 1877. By 1884 the name had become United States Encaustic Tile Works, and “...the Company [had] entered largely into the manufacture of high-art majolica tiles for mantel-facings, hearths, wainscoting and ornamental purposes.” (“The United States Encaustic Tile Works”, American Architect and Building News, Volume XV, No. 21, March 1, 1884, p. 1)

USETW also produced a multi-colored, relief, 2” square advertising paperweight for its own use,

and the company either used two tiles or cut a tile in half to make a matchbox holder and match strike.

This match holder and strike is in poor condition, but it is the first one made with USETW art tiles that I’ve seen. A small box of matches is held in the top depression, and the match strike is on the bottom edge. There is also a way to hang this on a wall.

Every exposition had souvenirs that were made by major ceramic companies, some of which weren’t marked.

A 4 1/2” high, “fawn” shaped (#716, “double ears”), Brush-McCoy vase in a blended-green drippy glaze known as “onyx”. The vase is incised “Century of Progress/1934”, but is otherwise unmarked.

A 1907 Jamestown Exposition clay pipe and a 1939 New York World’s Fair ceramic ashtray, both unmarked.

Other expositions represented with ceramic souvenirs include the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

A souvenir tile made by the Hartford Faience Company of Hartford, Connecticut. This tile depicts St. Louis--"King Louis IX of France, military hero of the Crusades, and patron saint of the American city[--]in profile. Wearing his characteristic fleur-de-lis crown over a mail helmet and flanked by spears, the royal martyr's image is superimposed over the French fourteenth-century...cross." (Susan J. Montgomery, American Arts and Crafts Tile from the Two Red Roses Foundation, Two Red Roses Foundation, Palm Harbor, FL, 2016, p. 113)

"The Hartford Faience Company created this souvenir of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to market its products to some of the 19 million people who attended [...it]." (Susan J. Montgomery, p. 113)

Another well-known art pottery company, Weller Art Pottery, made ceramic souvenirs for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

Ulysses S. Grant and William McKinley souvenir, 4" diameter, plaques made by the Weller Art Pottery of Zanesville, Ohio for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

Samuel A. Weller (1851-1925) "...started a one-man pottery in a log cabin in Fultenham, Ohio in 1872, initially handling all aspects of production... . Weller's early utilitarian ware included flower pots, crocks, cookware, and cuspidors. In 1888 he moved production from Fultenham to Zanesville [,...and he] began to make art pottery in 1895. By 1905, his plant employed over 500 people and shipped an astonishing three railroad cars of pottery per day! In 10 years, Weller had become the largest maker of art pottery in the world." (http://wisconsinpottery.org/Weller/weller2001show/weller2001exhibit.htm) Over the years Weller employed well-known pottery artists and designers, such as Charles B. Upjohn, Rudolph Lorber, Jacques Sicard, Frederick Hurton Rhead, and others, who created some of the most popular Weller art pottery lines. 

Between the World Wars a number of large European Expositions took place in France such as L'Exposition internationale des Arts décoratifs et industriels modernes of 1925, L'Exposition coloniale internationale de 1931, and L'Exposition universelle de 1937.

"After the first World War, France found herself in command of the most extensive colonial empire in the world: some 47 nations whose official language was French and whose governments were under some degree of obligation to France. To bring these peoples together in the capital city in order to educate the French nation as to the importance of their colonies – this was the primary goal of the Exposition Coloniale et Internationale de Paris." (Arthur Chandler, "Empire of the Republic: The Exposition Coloniale Internationale de Paris, 1931"; http://www.arthurchandler.com/paris-1931-exposition/)

A souvenir two-handled vase marked “Souvenir Exposition Coloniale de Paris 1931”; impressed on the base with a pottery mark (possibly in Hebrew and/or from Nabeul, Tunisia).

Many of the potteries of the French North African colonies participated in this exposition, including the pottery that created this souvenir. 

Many tiles made by major ceramics companies were given away as premiums to be used as hot plates. These were used to advertise other company's products.

A music-themed J. & J.G. Low art tile made for the Thomas Wood & Co., Tea Importers of Boston.

A 19th century octagonal Wedgwood transfer tile advertisement for Chaloner & Company's Teas. This teapot stand has a monochrome print that illustrates the picking, packing and shipping of Chaloner & Company's teas in Ceylon. It shows the tea pickers picking the teas from the tea plants in Ceylon watched over by the tea grower within a fan shaped frame. Around this frame the tea can be seen being packed into tea chests, carried by elephants and carts to the tea clipper to be sent to England. The tile is marked with British registration number 10568 dating it to c1880. Chaloner & Company may have been based in Liverpool in the 1880s and 1890s according to ads in contemporary newspapers.

Other potteries and tile companies also created tea tiles and hot plates that commemorated the Masons.

A Masonic, 4-footed tea tile/hot plate. The tile was made by the National Tile Company of Anderson, Indiana.  The National Tile Company was formed in 1903 with the merger of the Columbus Tile Company,  Robertson Art Tile Company and The Old Bridge Enameled Brick & Tile Company. The company had plants at Anderson, Indiana, Old Bridge, New Jersey and Morrisville, Pennsylvania. The National Tile Company continued to manufacture tiles with various partners until 1966. (http://www.charleswbullock.com/Guide/IndustryHistry/NationalTile/NTIndex.html)

In 1959 George L. Stalker was the Potentate of the Murat Shriners of Indiana. This tile depicts symbols of the Shriners, a Masonic organization that has endowed children's hospitals. "In 1882, five Freemasons decided they wished to see a Shrine organization in Indianapolis. They joined the Shrine Temple at Cincinnati, Ohio, and had that temple's help in establishing an Indianapolis temple. ...The Murat Temple [in Indianapolis] was built in 1909 by the William P. Jungclaus Company using the designs of Murat Shriner Oscar D. Bohlen, with Middle Eastern and Egyptian stylings that were fitting for a building intended for Shriners. Its namesake is the Nubian Desert oasis Bir Murat, which was named for the Frenchman Joachim Murat, who was one of Napoleon's generals in his Egyptian campaign. ...The Murat Shrine is mostly known by the people of Indianapolis for its theater, which was built in 1910. In its early days it featured Broadway plays and even a 1932 speech by Winston Churchill. Between 1948 and 1963, it was the only road show venue in Indianapolis." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murat_Shrine)

A 5" diameter, 3/4" thick, terra cotta medallion commemorating the dedication of the Ceramics Building at Rutgers College in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1922.

This piece was made by the New Jersey Terra Cotta Company of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The NJTCCo factory was in operation since 1889, and was incorporated in 1893. The terra cotta company also owned the New Jersey Mosaic Tile Company in Matawan, New Jersey. (“The New Jersey Terra Cotta Co., Perth Amboy, N.J.", Brick and Clay Record, Vol. XVIII, No. 5, May 1903, pp. 197-202; https://s3.amazonaws.com/omeka-net/649/archive/files/3e14ec38f7465a9ba49c555a47f774bd.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAI3ATG3OSQLO5HGKA&Expires=1479556736&Signature=geAz%2BKmkEMKlB6vEx8IF8g2sELU%3D)

These are, by far, only a very small number of ceramics that feature advertising. Many were made in small quantities to publicize a local company or event, and most were given away to customers or to the general public. Many did not survive. However, those that were made for large national or international events, such as a World's Fair, were made in much larger quantities and should have had a better survival rate. Those that do still exist should be considered and preserved as part of the historical and cultural record of their country.


Thanks are due to the following people for their help with this article:

Decorative Arts and Tile Historians, Richard D. MohrSusan J. Montgomery, Susan I. Padwee, and Michael Sims; and the Tile Heritage Foundation, Amanda Thrall Jeffrey, Megan Larmouth of Pioneer Millworks, and Sandie Fowler of Antique Articles.



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