¬† =======Canadian Pottery information=======
Alberta Clay Products (1910 - 1962)
Was an enormous company dominating the brick and tile industry in Medicine Hat for over half a century. In November 1908, Warren Overpack of Webster City, Iowa met with Medicine Hat City Council on behalf of a group of American investors. His purpose was to discuss the prospect of constructing a sewer pipe factory. Overpack felt that Medicine Hat possessed the ideal essentials of a manufacturing centre: cheap fuel and power, convenient transportation, and ample deposits of first-class clay for manufacturing. He promised a planned expenditure of $150,000 in buildings and capital, and year-round employment for 60 to 100 men. Council responded with an offer of 40 acres of land, a gas well drilled on site, and a fifteen-year tax exemption.
Construction began in November, 1909 with every brick used being manufactured on the premises. The plant complex was, enormous, with fourteen round downdraft kilns surrounding a four-storey main building measuring 256 by 80 feet. The factory was equipped to produce brick, building tile, and sewer pipe. Production started in the fall of 1910 when, months before the completion of the premises, the company began shipping five carloads of brick daily out of the city. The plant went into full operation in November 1911, working twenty-one hours a day. By 1912, it was the largest clay products plant in Canada, employing 200 men for wages amounting to $75,000 annually. The company manufactured one million bricks a month, in addition to tiles and other ceramic construction materials, and shipped them from Winnipeg to Vancouver.
The successes of the Alberta Clay Products Company drew considerable interest elsewhere in Canada and further a field. Sir Wilfred Laurier and Premier Sifton visited the site with a group of political and business leaders about 1910, followed by a delegation of British investors in 1912 who represented an estimated ¬£250,000,000.¬† Alberta Clay Products owed its origins to American capital, and to the experience and confidence of the Iowa group represented by Warren Overpack. Left to its own devices, it is unlikely that the community of Medicine Hat would have initiated an industrial enterprise on the scale of the Alberta Clay Products. As the Medicine Hat News pointed out after the fact, "there were hundreds of croakers who could not foresee success and... made dismal prophecies" regarding the venture. The principal exception to this characterization was Harry Clifton Yuill, whose motto was "Put Medicine Hat-made money back to work in Medicine Hat." Yuill came to Medicine Hat in 1884 from Nova Scotia as a carpenter, and built his wealth as a contractor during the real estate and construction boom before 1914. One of the principal stock holders in the Alberta Clay Products, he purchased control of the company in 1919.
Over the next decade, the company capitalized on unprecedented demand and prosperity in the Canadian clay products industry. The need for brick and tile in the developing western provinces continued to grow, and 1928 saw a record season for the Alberta Clay Products. The largest staff in the company's history was fully engaged in production, and still the company had trouble staying ahead of the demand: a report for that year stated so many orders were received that the plant had trouble keeping up with them.
Alberta Clay Products continued under Yuill‚Äôs leadership until his death in 1944. The company fared relatively well throughout the Depression years, and survived the building restrictions imposed by the federal government during World War II. The post-war period saw steady growth for manufacturers of brick, tile and sewer pipe. Yuill‚Äôs two sons maintained the business after his death: Harlan became President, and Bill remained a Vice President. However, it appears that rivalry between the brothers in the end undermined their ability to continue. In 1955, Alberta Clay Products was sold to a Vancouver-based construction company. In 1960, Medicine Hat Brick & Tile bought the company, operating it until 1961 when it was consumed by a devastating fire. Of the enormous factory complex, only two beehive kilns now survive.
Here is a good link for more Alberta Pottery Information.
Medalta Clay products
Alberta Potteries Ltd
(Wyatt) (1931 ‚Äď 1938)
Established in Redcliff by Jessie Wyatt and his sons, former Medalta employees. (See Medalta entry)
The Alberta Potteries factory (later named Hycroft) was built to state-of-the-art standards in 1936 and continued production until the 1970s. English-trained potters and technicians often held management positions. But as many as 20 workers, usually local women trained on the job, were employed during peak production. They were skilled at brushing on glaze, adding hand-painted flowers and trim, applying transfers for commercial labels or drawing and applying portraits of famous bulls or anniversary pictures of churches. Their work, usually anonymous, resulted in some of the more interesting and curious products from the clay factories. A sharp eye can still spot examples at garage sales‚ÄĒplates with dancing antelope, beer steins with cowboy hats, or mugs with "get back to work" inside.
Alberta Potteries Ltd, (Yuill) 1941 - 1966
Harry Yuill, owner of the giant Alberta Clay Products established this as a separate stoneware pottery venture in Redcliff, Alberta.
Artistic Studio Pottery
Collingwood, Ontario¬† (See also entry for Blue Mountain Pottery.)
Initially began as a promotion for the 1967 Centennial celebration. Opened in the Fall of 1966, next to the BMP factory on Mountain Road.
Blue Mountain Pottery
Craigleith and then Collingwood, Ontario
Blue Mountain Pottery (Founded in 1947 and closed in 2004), was a Canadian pottery company located in Collingwood, Ontario.¬† In 1947, a group of skilled craftsmen experimented by making pottery with the red-brown clay found along the shores of Georgian Bay in Collingwood, Ontario. The first studio was located inside a converted barn at the base of the Blue Mountain, and it was there a vintage washing machine was used to mix the clay, which was cured for 12 hours before application of the glaze. It produced various types of pottery, from animal figurines to jugs, pots and vases. The company's products have a large fan base and are collected world-wide.
Blue Mountain Pottery items feature a unique, trademarked glazing process known as "reflowing decorating". To achieve their trademark streaky effect, each piece of pottery was dipped into two different kinds of liquid glazes, which would cover tiny pores in the clay. During the firing process temperatures reached 1840 degrees Fahrenheit, which allowed the glazes to flow freely together, producing a mirror-like gloss. Since the procedure could not be strictly controlled, the finish on each piece was unique.
Blue Mountain Pottery (BMP) is generally recognized for its traditional flow-green glaze. This glaze was the original artisan‚Äôs attempt to portray the colors which appear on the face of the Blue Mountain during the spring and summer. Heavily laden with spruce and pine trees, the mountain‚Äôs slopes display vivid shades of green and blue interlaced with the dark clearings of winter ski runs. Over 30 other color combinations were also used throughout the years, many with the intention of echoing the natural elements of the area. Vivid, watery blues mirror the pristine waters of Georgian Bay, while red-orange, brown-yellow and red-black illustrated the magnificent colors of autumn. Blue Mountain Pottery items were available in the traditional green hues, but also in Harvest Gold, Cobalt Blue, Mocha, Pewter, Red, and Brown.
Many similar items have been called "Blue Mountain Pottery" by uninformed or unscrupulous sellers, so buyers should be careful when purchasing such items sight unseen.
I think it is safe to say that NO ONE should buy anything UNSEEN!
It should be noted though that many pieces not labeled as Blue Mountain are often from one of the other Canadian potteries such as McMaster, Laurentian, Canuck¬† and Huronia to name a few. These are just as distinguished and collectable as original BMP and also out of business. So probably the best guideline for buying BMP looking pottery is to ask yourself, "Do I like it it enough to pay the asking price?" If the answer is yes, then examine the piece for quality of workmanship. A good place to look closely is on the bottom. There you can tell what colour clay was used (Some potteries used different colour clays) [i.e.; BMP hardly used white], how thick the clay body is and for jagged irregular edges and/or nicks. I find that BMP glazes are much smoother with less striations than others.
Beyond traditional pottery forms ‚Äď vases, jars, bowls, etc. ‚Äď BMP also tried to be innovative. ‚ÄúOne example was our Noah‚Äôs Ark collection, made in the late 1960s,‚ÄĚ said Robert Blair, the former president/owner of Blue Mountain Pottery. ‚ÄúThese pieces are rare by relativity ‚Äď at that time the company had a very limited base of distribution within Canada. Another example was the Native Art series, made in the mid 1970s. Unfortunately, this series was also an example of a clever marketing plan gone awry. ‚ÄúWe commissioned 10 Native artists to submit drawings, and from these, we selected five, which were then reproduced to include the artist‚Äôs signature,‚ÄĚ said Blair. ‚ÄúEach piece was covered in burlap and nested in a wooden crate. That crate cost more than the pottery, and while our profit was marginal at best, the overall product was considered too expensive, and simply didn‚Äôt sell.‚ÄĚ
Throughout the years, BMP continued to address changing market conditions, and widened their distribution to include England, Norway, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States. In the 1980s, they also shifted their production focus by branching out into cookware and lamps, but competition with Asian imports continued to erode their share of sales.
In 1998, Blue Mountain introduced the Romar Collectible Series. Every piece was limited to 200 firing days and was accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. When close to 5,000 pieces were sold in the first year, the company followed with other new releases. In the end, it wasn‚Äôt enough to compete with a changing economic climate and an influx of inexpensive imports. The story of Blue Mountain Pottery came to an end when Blair, who had been with the company since 1971, made the difficult decision to cease operations as of December 31, 2004.
The good news is that most pieces of BMP can still be purchased for less than $100, with many still available in the $4 to $20 range, although rare glazes and styles will command $75 to $300. ‚ÄúIn general, animal figures realize more than their utilitarian counterparts,‚ÄĚ said Pitcher.
Interested collectors also don‚Äôt need to come to Canada. ‚ÄúBlue Mountain Pottery will show up in the most unusual places,‚ÄĚ said Gord Dowling, president, Blue Mountain Collectors Club. ‚ÄúI can remember watching a reality TV show recently, and I am sure that I saw a mocha cookie jar on a display shelf. Those pieces were sold at Walt Disney World in Florida, as well as a few other places. In addition, a number of Canadian ‚Äėsnowbirds‚Äô have also moved their pieces to warmer U.S. states, so look for yard sales and local flea markets for your BMP treasure. Finally, there are always online auctions, although many pieces, similar in style and design, are misidentified as Blue Mountain.‚ÄĚ
Following the first meeting of the Blue Mountain Pottery collectors in Collingwood in July 2003, and subsequent club formation a year later, the focus on collecting has sharpened. The closure of the Blue Mountain Pottery factory in December 2004 has further spurred collector interest. These events have brought many vintage pieces of Blue Mountain Pottery into the market (antique malls and eBay), and prices for the more unusual colours and shapes have been increasing rapidly.
Many companies made pottery in the Blue Mountain style, and are often misidentified as such. Other companies, not illustrated here, include: Elwill, Barton, Northern Pottery, Royal Canadian Art Pottery, Rainbow Pottery, Danesi Art Pottery, CAC and Forrest Potteries. Evangeline, Canadiana, Huronia, Wyatt, McMaster, CCC, Pine, Canuck, Foley/Canuck.
‚ÄúIf something is identified as ‚Äėrare‚Äô Blue Mountain, be sure you know your stuff,‚ÄĚ warned Pitcher, who has seen pieces from other potteries sell online for inflated amounts. ‚ÄúPeople see ‚Äėrare‚Äô and don‚Äôt stop to think it might be incorrectly labeled.‚ÄĚ
Whether prices of the more common pieces will escalate now that the era of Blue Mountain Pottery has come to a close remains to be seen, but one thing is certain. For just a few dollars, you can still get in to the game.
Blue Mountain Potteries Tips
Ongoing changes in base and drip colors should make dating BMP easy, but quite the reverse is true. ‚ÄúThere are several factors to consider,‚ÄĚ said Pat Pitcher, a dealer/specialist in Canadian Pottery, including Blue Mountain. ‚ÄúThe first difference is that while some colors were offered exclusively through BMP catalogues, others were made strictly for sale in the factory shop, as studio pottery or as a special order, and these works could cover any time frame. In addition, ‚Äėseconds‚Äô and overruns from special orders were also sold from the factory store. Over or under firing also affected the end result, so a very unusual shade could just be the result of kiln conditions.‚ÄĚ
(So don‚Äôt treat the following as written in stone)
Dating BMP by colours;
The various colours used by BMP are:
Harvest Gold Brown and Gold (1968 - 1982)
Mocca Mat finished brown and black (1965 - 1984)
Slate Mat finished grey and black (1965 - 1984)
Cobalt Blue Deep blue and white (1973 - 1980)
Mountain Blue Medium blue and white (1986 - 1990)
Native Artists Series Mat orange yellow (1972 - 1975)
¬†Many of the products are cast ware and therefore impossible to identify with a manufacturing mark.¬† The giftware products are always of a "Red Body" and decorated with a free flowing glaze and although they are all "hand glazed" there is a consistency that allows identification of original Blue Mountain Pottery products.
Dating by sticker or label
A number of items simply had stickers on them with no marks on the item
One of the oldest stickers is a little oval black & white sticker 1/2" x 3/4" which states merely BMP. This sticker's sole purpose was to affix an Aqua & Black hangtag (depicting 3 different styles of jugs) onto a piece of pottery that had no handle to wrap a string tag around.
The Trillium labels were amongst the earliest ones used by BMP.¬† Each of them was printed in 2 different sizes--7/8" across and 1¬ľ" across.
There is also another version of Trillium label--this one bearing an artist's line drawing of a trillium.¬† It also bears Jozo Weider's signature and, also, was made in 2 sizes--7/8" across and 1¬ľ" across.
All of the above stickers were in use while Jozo Weider was owner of BMP, which places them amongst the earliest.
There were two types of the three jugs sticker. One marked up as Glaze Test Approved.
There is also a 3-trees sticker which indicates Glaze Testing.
A hang tag was used during International Silver's ownership period. It has the signature 3 jugs with graceful handles on the front and the triple trees on the reverse. The introduction on the inside is done in both English and French.
After International Silver, the next owner of BMP was Heritage Craftsmen.¬† A magazine or newspaper ad in a publication dated March of 1974 also bears the 3-jugs logo.¬† Heritage Craftsmen was the owner of BMP until around 1980.¬† The First Edition Christmas Plate bears the 3-jugs logo.
The Noah‚Äôs Ark series (1968-71) carried the three trees sticker in a shade of purple.
The Canadian Wildlife series label was put onto the grey felt, which was affixed to the base.
The waves logo sticker (looks like a vase surrounded by ripples) was found on the base of an 8‚ÄĚ Celadon glaze vase.
The Pottery Studio was not constructed until 1966, prior to the 1967 Canadian Centennial.¬† Dominic Stanzione gave demonstrations for the tourists, and also put on classes.
There were other potters who worked there, besides Dominic Stanzione, either at the same time, or after he left BMP and their pieces were identified with stickers. Dominic Stanzione, hand-signed his creations. The gold and blue " Hand Made Canadian Studio-Line " sticker was affixed to pieces made by these other potters.
The company introduced "The Muskoka Collection", which included the pastel glaze. A few of those items bore a yellow label.
The "Georgian Bay Collection" also had its own particular sticker, although not many of them survived.
The red-white-blue Artistic Studio Pottery sticker was affixed to pieces that Dominic Stanzione made in his own studio, after he left BMP.
1. Perhaps it‚Äôs obvious, but still needs to be said: look for the marks. If there are 3 pine trees side by side, it is NOT Blue Mountain.
Note: Blue Mountain DID use three pine trees staggered in a triangle. These are very simplistic compared to the mark used by Laurentian Potteries which also had a staggered¬† 3 pine tree mark but much more artistic without trunks.
2. If it is of brownish clay it is likely Barton, if it is mocha coloured, it is Evangeline (Canuck).
3. Just because the clay is red doesn't mean it is Blue Mountain. McMaster, Royal Canadian Art Pottery, Canuck, CCC/Rainbow, Pine, Shelburne, Huronia, Canadiana and even Beauce also used red clay‚Ä¶ not to mention U.S. or Japanese works.
4. Just because the glaze is green ‚Ä¶ see number 3 above.
5. A good general rule of thumb: if it is orange and brown or orange and black, it is almost certainly Canadian, McMaster or Canuck.
6. White clay with a green glaze is most likely Wyatt Art Pottery, often marked with a ‚ÄúW‚ÄĚ and a number. BMP did do some work with white clay, most notably the Canadian Wildlife Series (around 1985) and the Millennium Collection 2000. There are some other BMP white clay works, but they are the exception. White clay of various shades could also mean McMaster, Laurentian Art Pottery, Danesi, CAC, Beauce, Foley/Canuck and any of a dozen US potteries that didn't always mark their wares.
7. Do searches for other Canadian pottery and familiarize yourself with their glazes and shapes. This way when an unmarked piece shows up, you will have a sense of what it might be.
8. If you absolutely love the piece - the colour, the shape- ask yourself if you care if it is Blue Mountain or not. If you are strictly limiting yourself to only BMP pieces then make sure you ask the seller questions, check the collector's site or get a second opinion.
Blue Mountain Pottery Angelfish
A Star is Reborn
C. Biernacki & T. Milks
First produced in the mid 1950s, the angelfish was illustrated in the earliest known Blue Mountain Pottery catalogue as number 58. Its popularity continued into the mid 1980s when it was discontinued. A 30-year production run of any item in the burgeoning trend-conscious consumer market of the postwar period is quite remarkable.
The name angelfish was given to number 58 by collectors. Early Blue Mountain Pottery catalogues identify each item only by a model number, while later ones use numbers as well as names. Number 58 was called Fish. Since other Blue Mountain Pottery figures were also called Fish, using the name angelfish avoids any confusion when referring to this piece. (Number 58 became 1-058 in the 1970s when prefix numbers 1 through 6 were used to identify different types of items. Category 1 included vases, jugs and decorative figures. Prefix coding was dropped by 1980. When the number of models reached 1,000, the angelfish became 0058.)
Although the angelfish was usually made with Blue Mountain Pottery‚Äôs traditional streaky green glaze, it did appear in the company‚Äôs harvest gold (brown and yellow) collection and was featured on the cover of the 1981 Harvest Gold catalogue. Examples in other popular glazes such as mocha, slate, jade, red or blue have not been seen by collectors or found in known Blue Mountain Pottery catalogues. But a few collectors do have a rare green example with a blue base. Since the angelfish itself is supported by a pedestal of waves, it seems only appropriate that the water be blue.
The angelfish was designed by Dennis (Zdenek) Tupy. Born in Breznice, Czechoslovakia in 1929, he completed the three-year program at the Stredn√≠ prumyslova skola keramicka (Secondary School of Industrial Ceramics, founded 1884, in the town of Bechyne. Tupy graduated at the top of his class, specializing in design and mould making. Escaping military service in his homeland, Tupy came to Canada in 1951, eventually settling in Collingwood where he worked for fellow Czech Jozo (Josef) Weider (1909-1971), owner of the Blue Mountain Winter Park ski resort. With Weider‚Äôs assistance Tupy began Blue Mountain Pottery in 1953 at the age of 24. "Dennis, do something big!" Weider said one day according to Tupy who is now 76 years old and still living in Collingwood. "So I made the fish," explains Tupy. "It‚Äôs what came into my head. My ghost told me to do it." Tupy often uses the word "ghost" to explain the source of his design inspiration. Exactly where the idea for a huge flat fish came from is anybody's guess. It was, after all, a half century ago, and Tupy doesn't remember everything his muse told him that day. No matter, the angelfish design sprung from his genius. And equally important, it was exceptionally stylish for the time.
Made in large two-part moulds, the angelfish were heavy and awkward to produce. When removed from the mould, extreme care was necessary to prevent the fins from being knocked and broken. Further handling during the glazing and firing process presented many other opportunities for further damage. Early angelfish with flat glazed bottoms had to be raised on two triangular stilts, each with three points, or, alternatively, three bar stilts. This prevented them from sticking to the kiln shelves during firing. This laborious balancing act had to be done very carefully to ensure that pieces did not touch or rub against each other, thus ruining the glazed finish. After firing, the stilts had to be broken off the bottom of the angelfish. This left rough areas that had to be smoothed by a belt sander. Great care had to be taken during this step as well. All this even before the angelfish was packed, shipped and displayed on a store shelf. (When moulded maker's marks first appeared on angelfish beginning in 1967, three-part moulds were used. The additional part was for the base of the piece. Bottoms were no longer flat, but slightly concave to allow clearance for the raised mark.)
The angelfish was a popular item when it first appeared around 1955. Although early examples, including the ones with blue bases, have flat glazed bases that bear no maker's mark, they were identified with factory stickers and hangtags. From 1967 to 1972 angelfish were molded with the Three Trees mark, from 1972 to 1976 the BMP Canada mark, and from 1976 to 1986 the Vase and Waves mark.
Surprisingly, the long term popularity of the angelfish did not inspire other potteries to copy it. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, if one pottery produced a commercially successful item, others would often copy it to reap windfall profits. But the myriad of production challenges facing Blue Mountain Pottery in their efforts to make the angelfish would have been immediately obvious to pirating potters. For them, the difficulties were too great. And they could never successfully replicate that streaky green glaze. This clearly demonstrates the high level of ingenuity and technical expertise at Blue Mountain Pottery. One known exception, however, was Danesi Arts (1937-1975), a Toronto plaster and pottery giftware manufacturer. Their ceramic items (produced from 1955) were cast from original designs created by founder Primo Danesi or commercial moulds. A Danesi copy of the Blue Mountain Pottery angelfish appeared on eBay in June and sold for $45. It‚Äôs slightly smaller size indicated that it was molded from a Blue Mountain Pottery original.
An early angelfish is often immediately recognizable by the slight iridescent look of its glaze. This is a natural ageing effect that happens to the surface of certain types of glass, as well as glass-based formulas such as ceramic glazes. Although designed as a vase, few examples of the angelfish are found today with water marks or scaly residue. It seems that most buyers appreciated its bold sculptural design.
The popularity of the angelfish received an unexpected boost when it appeared on the cover of the winter 2005 issue of the Toronto-based Antique and Collectibles Trader magazine. It promoted the magazine‚Äôs feature article, Blue Mountain Pottery: Canadian Icon. During January and February, 15,000 copies were widely distributed throughout Ontario. About a dozen magazines have been offered on eBay, either individually or as a bonus with the purchase of a piece of Blue Mountain Pottery. Although the angelfish was used as the lead photograph in the magazine article to illustrate Blue Mountain Pottery's renowned streaky green glaze, it was not intended by the author to be the cover shot. The preference was for a grouping of pieces to illustrate the colourful range of the company's glazes. But the magazine editor chose the angelfish, making it instantly symbolic of all Blue Mountain Pottery production.
Once the "must have" desire was ignited among collectors, angelfish prices began to climb. In 2001, they sold for about $10. Last summer, angelfish could be bought for under $50. But by April the price had risen sharply to $250. Since then, prices have softened, but remain in the $150 to $225 range. In May, an angelfish in Harvest Gold, a much rarer glaze colour than green -- sold for $385. But it is not only Blue Mountain Pottery collectors that go after the angelfish. Since its look is so 1950s, many buyers eagerly seek out this piece to complement their retro style d√©cor.
Sometimes good repairs can be difficult to detect. When buying an angelfish, check the fin tips. It is easy to disguise repairs in these areas once they have been sprayed. Also, check the sides of angelfish to see that they have not been accidentally pushed in or dented during the production process. Make sure that all the fin tips come to relatively sharp points. Sometimes the tips were broken off in the factory, but to save the piece it was still glazed but sold as a second. A noticeable glaze drip on the bottom tail fin would also make an angelfish a second.
Some angelfish are an inch taller or longer than others. Sometimes the vase opening is slightly wider or longer. These variations were the result of the shrinkage characteristics of the various clays that were used during the long production period of this piece. Also, as the moulds wore out, new ones had to be created. Minor size and design variations would invariably occur during this handmade process. A recent sampling of eight angelfish gave the following results: lengths ranged from 15-1/4 to 16-1/4 inches, base widths from 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 inches, and heights from 16-1/2 to 17-1/2 inches. When the angelfish were lined up by date of manufacture, no correlation was found between size and age. From a survey of existing catalogues, the 1974, 1976 and 1977 editions list the height as 17-1/2 inches, while the 1969 catalogue says that it is only 16 inches.
The 30-year lifespan of the angelfish demonstrated its long-term popularity. Its large size meant that it was a costly item to manufacture. The earliest known price list from the late 1950s shows that it sold for $12, the most expensive item available. In today's money, that is equivalent to $87. (A large tenpins jug, pineapple vase, and tulip vase followed at $10 each.)
A survey of existing Blue Mountain Pottery catalogues shows that the price of the angelfish steadily increased to $39.95 in 1986, its last year of production. Compared to other pieces, it never ranked lower than the seventh most expensive item (topped in different years by a tea service, three-tier buffet tray, bottle vase, four large animals, two types of hanging planters, and two versions of a lazy Susan).
When Robert Blair bought Blue Mountain Pottery at the end of 1986 (becoming its last president and owner), the angelfish was replaced with a realistically sculpted version, called Tropical Fish, number 132. It was almost as large: 12 inches long, 4-1/2 inches wide, and 16 inches tall. It was made in green from 1987 to 2000, in blue from 1998 to 2004, and in white (with a white clay body) in 2000. The Tropical Fish remained in production until the factory closed in 2004. It was always among the highest priced items and ranged from $29.95 to $39.95 (exceeded only by a large elephant made from 1980 until the factory closed, the Romar Collection from its introduction in 1997, and the Robert Wilson Collection from its launch in 2002).The Tropical Fish replaced the angelfish in 1987 and remained in production until Blue Mountain Pottery closed in 2004. These pieces were unmarked but identified with a factory sticker and hangtag
Coincidentally, this fish was also designed by Dennis Tupy. He left Blue Mountain Pottery in 1960 to open his own pottery, Canadian Ceramic Craft, in the earlier Blue Mountain Pottery factory in the village of Craigleith, 11 kilometres west of Collingwood. (Tupy later built a new factory and showroom in Collingwood, renaming his company Rainbow Ceramics.) At Canadian Ceramic Craft, Tupy's second angelfish was in production by the early 1970s (Tupy also made a very complex piece, number 100, combining two angelfish positioned at different heights and angles.) When he retired in 1984, Robert Blair took over the factory for two years until his purchase of Blue Mountain Pottery (Blair had been a manager at the Blue Mountain factory from 1971 until his retirement in 1982.) At Rainbow Ceramics, Blair used the existing moulds which included Tupy‚Äôs fish (originally called number 88 and renumbered by Blair as 132). When he became the new owner of Blue Mountain Pottery, Blair continued the production of the fish, a far more stylish version for the 1980s than the earlier angelfish.
The appeal of the first angelfish, both then and now, is its design. Having a relatively flat profile, it can easily sit on a window sill, mantel or shelf. Its distinctive outline is instantly recognizable and its broad flat sides gave the Blue Mountain Pottery Company a superb opportunity to demonstrate its unique glazing abilities. Many collectors agree that the design of the angelfish is stylish, dramatic and timeless. Beyond that, it is just plain fun. All this is a reflection of the magic of Tupy, an exceptionally talented artist who, working with his muse, created a ceramic masterpiece for Canada.
Brantford pottery was a very large operation in its time. (1849-1907). Brantford pottery produced pieces typical of all potteries of that era: highly functional crocks, jugs, and churns quite often marked with the names of proprietary businesses. Later there were more decorative pieces made, such as planters etc.¬† Highly desired by collectors are the crocks with hand painted blue birds, wheat sheaves and other iconographic figurines. You can start collecting Brantford in the 20-50$ range but could expect to pay in the thousands for very rare pieces. Well known patterns are the "Rebecca at the Well", "Beaver" and 'Maple Leaf".
Canadian Ceramic Craft (CCC)
Craigleith, then Collingwood, Ontario.
Red clay body. CCC was started c. 1960 by Mr. Dennis Tupy (see Blue Mountain Pottery entry above) who immigrated to Canada from Czechoslovokia in 1951. Dennis was the first mold maker at Blue Mountain Pottery. CCC was later reformed into Rainbow Ceramics (see below) While some of the glazes and shapes are similar to BMP, the more striking pieces from CCC were often art deco in form (long necked egrets, jaguars, and antelopes)¬† with a stunning 'standard' glaze unique to CCC, featuring unique pastels.¬† These same forms are known to exist in an aurora borealis glaze, both glazes are now very collectible.
CCC (Canadian Ceramic Craft) - Clarksburg, Ontario.
White clay body.
Canadian Art China - Collingwood, Ontario
Canada Art Pottery - Hamilton, Ontario
Canadian Porcelain Company¬†¬† Hamilton, Ontario
Founded 1912 by Walter T. Goddard and John Alden, both from the U.S.
Company was formed to manufacture porcelain insulators and fixtures for use with electricity. George Emery was hired in 1913: An association that lasted until c. 1940. Mr. Emery arrived in Canada in 1912 and began work with Campbell & Son, Potters, in Hamilton, Ontario. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Canadian Porcelain Company Limited, also in Hamilton. This company produced insulators and fixtures to use with electricity. With Mr. Emery's expertise in mold-making and designing, he was highly prized within this company and later became Assistant Superintendent. Initially, George Emery first made his pottery in the basement of his home and, until 1944, were fired in the kilns of the Canadian Porcelain Company. These items were impressed: "CANADIAN/PORCELAIN CO.LTD./HAMILTON,ONT".(See Ecanada entry below)
Canadian Potteries, Ltd.
St. Jean, Quebec
Established in 1830, joined the Crane Canada, Inc. Group in 1920. A new plant was built in 1931. Still in operation. Over the years it has continued to produce lavatories, water closets, and other sanitary ware for a variety of uses. A new pottery was constructed at Coquitlam, British Columbia in 1958 to supplement the production of the plant at St. Jean, Quebec. Until its closure in 1993, the factory supplied the western market with the same high quality vitreous china sanitary ware products as produced at the St. Jean plant.
Started c. late 1960's by Alfred Dube who had previously been plant manager at Blue Mountain Pottery in Collingwood.
Canuck Pottery, Ltd.
Canuck Pottery, Ltd. - Saint John, N.B. then c. 1964 Labelle, Quebec. Operation was a continuation of Foley Pottery. Foley - Saint John, N.B. (See Foley below)
Operation begun c. 1890's by James William Foley (Born in England March 30, 1857, died 1904). Business continued under Fenwick, son of James Foley, in the Foley residence on Bayside Drive, Saint John. Sons of Fenwick Foley, Percy and Alponse,¬† were owners and started Canuck Pottery Ltd.. Factory moved to Labelle, Quebec following a disastrous fire at the Saint John location.(Bayside Drive also, but in a newly constructed building 2 miles from original Foley home) in 1963. Both white and red clay items produced. Operations ceased in 1970's.A mocha colored clay was also used at the Labelle location.
Is a line of pottery from the Canuck Pottery company (see above). Known to have existed c. 1958. (Saint John NB)
Is a line of pottery from the Canuck Pottery company (see above).(Saint John and Labelle locations
‚ÄĘ1828, Baptist Mills, Bristol, England, brothers Joseph Sr. and James White began business as J. and J. White, manufacturers of yellow ware and black teapots
‚ÄĘ1864, Joseph Jr. (1838-1919, left Bristol with his family and came to Canada. He bought the Courtenay Bay Pottery, Crouchville (East Saint John), New Brunswick
‚ÄĘCourtenay Bay Pottery had been operated by William Warwick
‚ÄĘJoseph White revised the pottery by introducing ‚Äúnew ideas‚ÄĚ to the operation which were being employed in England at the time
‚ÄĘin 1880 James Foley (‚Äď1904),grandson of Joseph White Jr. and a Mr. Sam Poole built new facilities and I am assuming it then became Foley pottery
‚ÄĘRoyden Foley, son of James, according to the "St. John Public Service News, "St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, March 1, 1923 "was the first man to pilot an aeroplane from New York to Philadelphia in 1913.
‚ÄĘthe clay was brought in from Nova Scotia by boat to the Marsh Bridge then taken to Loch Lomond Road East Saint John
‚ÄĘ1949, owner Fenwick Foley, fire destroyed many of the kilns and a large part of the building
‚ÄĘ1954, Foley Pottery became Canuck Pottery
‚ÄĘ1964, fire destroys the pottery. Fenwick‚Äôs 2 sons, Percy and Alponse, move the pottery to Labelle, Quebec
‚ÄĘFenwick Foley stays in Saint John. Works out of his basement producing Beachcomber Pottery
‚ÄĘEvangeline Ware is a line of pottery produced by Canuck
‚ÄĘoperations cease in the 1970‚Äôs
Located in Burlington, Ontario and ships to Canada and North America. Specializing in Ceramic and Pottery, Ceramic Arts offers Ceramic Bisque, Ceramic Kilns, Ceramic Training, and specializes in opening "Paint Bar" Contemporary Ceramic Pottery Studios. We are full line distributors for Duncan, Mayco, Gare and BiqueFire. We also manufacture earthenware slip and are the leading supplier of hobby ceramics in North America.
Ceramique Tracadie Ceramics
Ceramic de Beauce, Beauce, Beauceware
Began in 1939 and ran for 50 years, ceasing operations in 1989.¬† With thousands of combinations of molds and glazes, Beauce pieces are available in most every style, from art deco wallpockets to Eames era decoratives, psychadelic 70s pieces, and modern 80s pieces that were made in the last years of the company.¬† There is something for every collector in every price range available.¬† Some of the most desirable pieces are wall pockets and anything designed by the famous Jean Cartier. Cartier (1924-1996) was an relentless experimenter in his field. This constant progress led to numerous innovations in the industry, cementing his reputation as one the of the finest glaze creators in Canada.
Designer Doug Funk, creater of Canadian Pioneers Prints around 1972, gave Ceramique de Beauce one of the finest lines the company was to produce: the Ptarmigan line (Perdrix des neiges). Reminiscent of our white grouse, the pieces in the Ptarmigan line have no place settings, the line being designed to complement plain white dishes that would not distract from the imposing Ptarmigan accessories.
Today, many pieces of Ceramique de Beauce Inc are exposed to the growing interest of the collectors who furrow the alleys of the flea markets and the attics of the antique dealers everywhere in Quebec, Canada, United States and even overseas. It becomes inescapable, even urgent to initiate the development and the conservation of these examples of the Beauce industrial inheritance, a fertile history of a working population symbolizing their creativity.
Charlottetown Pottery, Ltd.
Creemore China & Glass
Danesi Arts (1937-1975), a Toronto plaster and pottery giftware manufacturer. Their ceramic items (produced from 1955) were cast from original designs created by founder Primo Danesi or commercial moulds. A Danesi copy of the Blue Mountain Pottery angelfish appeared on eBay in June and sold for $45. It‚Äôs slightly smaller size indicated that it was molded from a Blue Mountain Pottery original.
Deichmann pottery, Dykelands Pottery, NB
The Deichmanns of Moss Glen, New Brunswick (1935-1963). (Dykeland Pottery) are considered pioneers in studio art pottery in Canada, Kjeld would throw all the pottery on the foot-powered kick wheel while Erica created all the glazes, producing more than five thousand of them in her career, she recorded the ingredients in recipe books. Erica was also an accomplished artist, painting, making ‚ÄėGoofus Aminals‚Äô and pottery and jewelry. In the early days the Deichmanns used a dark brown clay and would only sign with their stylized D and N.B. for province of New Brunswick. Later used other clays and would sign the name Deichmann with stylized D (using K E D stylized logo)with N.B. and on some of the better pieces would also date with a glaze numbers. Each piece is clearly marked with a stylized D, even on the tiniest candle snuffer.
The Deichmanns would open their studio in the tourist season on Monday - Friday demonstrating their techniques to visitors and selling paintings, pottery and their jewelry. Erica closed the pottery studio after Kjeld‚Äôs death in 1963.existed from 1935 to 1963 and was the handiwork of Kjeld and Erica Deichmann who worked in New Brunswick.¬† All of their pieces were hand thrown and one of a kind.¬† Their work consists of everything from utilitarian ware to highly stylized vases and mini animal figurines called the 'goofus.'¬† Large pieces of Deichmann are hard to find and fetch the dearest prices among collectors. All the pieces are hand thrown and unique, prices for Deichmann are not low, usually ranging from $100.00 US dollars and up.¬† Goofus animals usually sell for well over $300.00 US. Her signature colours are the Kennebecasis blue (named after the nearby river) and purple patch.
Dundas Clay Products, Ltd.
Operated c. 1934-39, with Mr. George Emery as President and produced decorative ware. Additional principals were Albert Ross and James Orme. Operation purchased by McMaster Pottery in 1939 and George Emery continued making pottery in Hamilton.
Ecanada Art Pottery
Here is a site devoted to this Canadian Pottery
The Ecanada Art Pottery Company had its operations in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from 1926 to 1952, under the ownership of George Emery Sr. (1881-1959). George Emery Sr. was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, in Staffordshire, England. At the age of 12, he began a 14 year apprenticeship at the Wedgwood Pottery Company in England. Although it is uncertain why Mr. Emery immigrated to Canada, it is thought that his chances of advancement within the Wedgwood Company were limited and therefore relocation might be in his best interest. Mr. Emery arrived in Canada in 1912 and began work with Campbell & Son, Potters, in Hamilton, Ontario. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Canadian Porcelain Company Limited, also in Hamilton. This company produced insulators and fixtures to use with electricity. With Mr. Emery's expertise in mold-making and designing, he was highly prized within this company and later became Assistant Superintendent. Initially, George Emery first made his pottery in the basement of his home and, until 1944, were fired in the kilns of the Canadian Porcelain Company. These items were impressed: "CANADIAN/PORCELAIN CO.LTD./HAMILTON,ONT". By 1944 the Ecanada Art Pottery factory was finally established. Around 1935, George Emery opened his own pottery company called the Dundas Clay Products, in Dundas, Ontario, (on the outskirts of Hamilton). This operation lasted only a brief time and was sold to the newly formed McMaster Pottery Company, in Dundas, Ontario, in 1939. Experiencing difficult economic times in 1949, George Emery's son, George Jr., who was now running the company, moved the operations to a nearby barn where he fired the pottery using propane. The company ceased operation in 1952. In 1976 the molds were purchased by James Orme and production began in 1977 and continued into the 1980's. Some of the 1970's-80's pieces are unmarked, others marked EMRO. (See also Dundas Clay Products next)
Ecanada Art Pottery products are attracting new collectors.This Hamilton pottery sold products through Eatons and Birks. Inspired by Wedgwood, (due to Mr Emery‚Äôs Wedgwood background) loved by Canadians. Although their items look like Wedgwood jasperware, they're a bit heavier, less finely detailed, and the relief decoration is not as elegant. But they're made in Canada. And that makes up for all the differences. In its heyday, it was a thriving company, producing hundreds of quality pieces.
St. Catharines, Ontario
(See entry for Ecanada Art Pottery)
Was a giftware importer primarily. Pieces mold marked Elbro Canada also known to exist.
Active in the early 70's for whom Jacques Garnier gave a new interpretation of the forms he used for his Argile Vivante production in the 60's. ESTRIE is French for Eastern Townships, Quebec, CERAM means Ceramics. Estriceram pieces are also found marked GT for Genin Trudeau, a Montreal-Toronto distributor.
Foley Potteries, Ltd.
(Empal Sales) - Toronto, Ontario
Owned by David Peichey.Operated in the 1960's-1970's
Gas City Pottery Canada Pottery ( 1916 -1924)
Established by William Clark, superintendant of Medicine Hat Potteries.
Georgian China, Ltd.
Started in 1948 by John A. Brown. In 1963, 'Royal Haeger of Canada' awarded a franchise to Georgian China to produce its functional, decorative and table porcelain. Closed in 1970's.
Grenadier Art Pottery
Address: 250 St Andrew Street East, Fergus, ON N1M 1R1
Telephone : 519-843-4450
H & R. Johnson (Canada) Ltd.
(See entry for Sovereign Potters)
Hamilton Technical Ceramics - Paris, Ontario
Operation began in 1852 as Hamilton Potteries in Hamilton, Ontario. c.1945 name was changed to Hamilton Porcelains, Ltd. Current name adopted 1989.
Theo and Susan Harlander
Brooklin, Ontario.¬† The pottery began in the 1950s and they were in business for several decades. They had a small studio pottery and made unique, one-off pieces, often using the names and images of specific clientele.¬† Their work has strong influences from Scandinavia and the folk-art genre, and their forms range from cake plates to clocks to figural sculpture. Their glazes are primarily made up of mid-century colours such as ochre and turquoise. Although little is known about the pottery, all Harlander is highly sought after and pieces can range from $50.00 to many thousands.
Hilborn Pottery Design, Inc.
Hilborn Pottery was founded in 1975 in Canada. Specializing in original wheel thrown and hand built clay; Hilborn Pottery creates a myriad of pieces in a vast array of selected patterns that allow not only for collective art but also the unique presentation of fine food and drink. The pottery uses hand painted patterned designs and colorful glazes. All of the pottery is safe for food and drink as well as microwave, oven and dishwasher-proof. , Hilborn Pottery by Nancy and Rick Hilborn from Hilborn Pottery in Cambridge is renowned for beautiful designs that capture exceptional form and function. Nancy Hilborn has created innovative, colorful handmade designs that are functional and unique. She got her BA at University of Waterloo, where she studied ceramics. Nancy also studied at Ontario College of Art in Toronto.Nancy Hilborn recieved her BA from the University of Waterloo and studied Ceramic Design at Ontario College of Art in Toronto. Since then, she and Rick have been designing and making pottery for over 20 years.
The many functional uses of the Hilborn‚Äôs pieces allow for not only collective art but also for unique presentation of fine food and drink. Organic forms and rich colours characterize Nancy and Rick‚Äôs pottery that call for attention while also fitting into the most contemporary and traditional of decorating schemes.Nancy has won many awards including the City of Cambridge Visual Art Award.
Meaford, Ontario. Like CCC, it was started by a Czech immigrant who had previously worked for Blue Mountain Pottery and was in business concurrently with BMP. The pottery comes in many forms, from vases and pedestal bowls to highly desirable animal figurines. Huronia boasts many unique matte glazes reminiscent of American Arts and Crafts potteries such as; Rookwood, Grueby, and Fulper.
Hycroft China was originally founded by Harry Yuill (owner of Alberta Clay Products) as Medicine Hat Potteries Ltd. in 1937.Medicine Hat Potteries sold out in 1955 to Marwell Construction of Vancouver., and was re-named Hycroft China by its new owners. Hycroft struggled to find a market niche in the face of stiff competition from Japanese and British manufacturers. In 1957, the company was sold to businessman, Harry Veiner, mayor of Medicine Hat. He had no previous knowledge of pottery manufacturing. He felt that there was no reason why this company should be losing money. He took over management and reduced staff substantially.
Veiner decided to start making sanitary ware. Hycroft China may have been the only plant in the world that ran toilets and dishes through the same kiln. One style of¬† toilet produced at Hycroft was named the "Albertan". This addition saved Hycroft. By Veiner‚Äôs own admission, neither the toilets nor the pottery alone could keep the company in business. By completely re-directing the company‚Äôs production, Veiner managed to keep Hycroft in operation until 1989. Profits from "sanitary ware" funded the limited manufacture of dishes and souvenirs until about 1985.
Souvenirs and commemorative plates became a mainstay of Hycroft‚Äôs production from 1955 through the 1960s. The factory ran on and off until 1989 when it shut down. After Mr. Veiner passed away in 1992 his family donated the Hycroft plant to the Friends of Medalta Society. In 1994, the Friends of Medalta established the Clay Products Interpretive Centre in the Hycroft buildings.
The Hycroft China factory was designated a Provincial Historic site in 1995
Victoria and Saanichton, B.C.
Jesco Manufacturing Co.
Saint John, N.B.
St. Jerome, Quebec.
Laurentian Pottery founded in 1939 by a Mr. Kominick.¬†¬† Unconfirmed, but I believe this pottery closed sometime c. 2005. Also known as LP and Laurentian Art Pottery and Poterie Laurentienne. These pieces are variously marked, sometimes with LP (looks like a stylized coffee mug in a circle), other times with the LP mark and Laurentian, sometimes Quebec, sometimes Canada, usually with a mold-mark item number.A later mark is a "three trees" logo (more slender than the BMP trees logo with no trunks).¬†
Ernst and Alma Lorenzen settled in Lantz, Nova Scotia and are perhaps, of all the studio potters, the most experimental with their glazes.¬† Actively seeking out compounds, blending them by hand, and experimenting, they created pottery from utilitarian wares to modern vases. Of all their pottery, their unique series of mushrooms, expertly sculpted and brilliantly glazed, remains their most sought after. Requiring many weeks of work these mushrooms are exact replicas of their botanical counterparts and are displayed in museums. Upon the death of Ernst, their daughter Denamarca began to work with her mother, continuing the family trade and she is still making them today.
Maple Leaf Pottery
Started in 1938 by Harry Jay McMaster. Jay McMaster was a native of Pennsylvania (USA) who had immigrated to Canada and was initially involved with Sovereign Potters, Hamilton, Ontario.The business was continued by a son, Robert. Robert McMaster died in 1987 and the business closed in 1988.
Both white and red clay items were produced, the white (a commercial clay imported from the USA) being the earliest: A switch to local red clay was made in the 1950's. (See also entry for Dundas Clay Products.)
Medalta Stoneware Ltd. Medalta Potteries Ltd. (1915 ‚Äď 1924)
Purchased the Medicine Hat Pottery Company buildings and assets and began operation in December 1915. Charles Pratt, a Scotsman came to Alberta in 1908 determined to make his fortune in Medicine Hat. After trying his hand in many businesses and finally losing it all in real estate he found himself farming in 1915. With the profits from his first crop he partnered with Ulysses Sherman Grant and William A. Creer, they acquired the Medalta Stoneware Company in December of 1915 and incorporated as Medalta Stoneware Ltd. in 1916. The buildings and equipment of the defunct Medicine Hat Pottery Co. Ltd., the first pottery plant to be built in the city in 1912, were in disrepair though. So after renovating the factory they commenced production in May 1916. As the name suggests, it was designed to manufacture wares from stoneware clays, primarily household items such as crocks, jugs and churns. By the spring of 1916 Medalta was in full production with seventeen staff on the payroll. William Clark, former superintendent of the Medicine Hat Pottery Company, oversaw the factory‚Äôs operations. Carloads of stoneware were already being shipped to Regina and Vancouver. prompting the Medicine Hat News to proclaim that Medalta‚Äôs wares were "undoubtedly one of the best advertisers for Medicine Hat as the product goes all over the country."
Medicine Hat was able to offer unlimited, cheap natural gas supplies while high quality stoneware clays were readily available from quarries at nearby Eastend, Saskatchewan.¬† By 1921, Medalta had penetrated the eastern market, becoming the first firm in western Canada to ship manufactured goods to Ontario and points east. Medalta‚Äôs quick rise to success attracted many famous visitors to the company‚Äôs huge factory buildings. The Prince of Wales toured Medalta, as did the Duke of Devonshire and Lord Byng, Governor General of Canada. The company adopted the patriotic slogan, "Canadian made Stoneware from Canadian Clay, made by Canadian Workmen and financed by Canadian Capital."
In 1924 the company reorganized under new ownership as Medalta Potteries Ltd.
The new company made plain stoneware crocks, jugs, bowls and churns for¬† household use. By 1918 the company had $48,000 annual gross sales (the average wage was $1100). By 1924 the company was supplying households across Canada with distributors in places like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. In addition, Medalta Stoneware also supplied jugs to the liquor control boards in all three prairie provinces. The Artware line was established in 1929 in an effort to tap into a growing demand for non-utilitarian stoneware. Medalta hired skilled artists to create popular designs and develop new glaze colours.
By the end of the decade Medalta was producing 75 percent of the pottery in Canada. Two of the founding members left to retire, selling their assets to a group of Calgary investors.
Not six-months later, the company was in despair. The stock market crash marked the beginning of the great depression and Canadian pottery production plummeted 85 percent in four years. Medalta managed to stay in business by keeping only essential workers, and producing a limited number of products. Many former employees branched out to form their own companies: Alberta Potteries Ltd. in 1931 and Medicine Hat Potteries in 1937.
The Second World War breathed new life into a dying industry. Despite growing competition from glass companies, armies needed record amounts of stoneware. All lines were put on hold for the war effort. Cups, dishes and water coolers for the troops were priority. Business boomed as imports from Europe and Japan were cut off, and other materials, such as tin, were found to be inadequate.
A major labour shortage throughout the war forced Medalta to look beyond the now enlisted young men for workers. A record number of women were added to the payroll, owners pled their case to the government for hiring boys as young as 15, and in 1945 Medalta took on nearly 50 German prisoners of war. Although the POWs were paid little in comparison to their co-workers, the working conditions at the factory were preferred to life in the internment camps.
Demand for pottery remained steady into the 40s, but the after-war glow was wearing thin on the labour fronts. Unrest swept across Canada as unions began to barter for the right to represent. In 1947, Mine-Mill gained control of the Medalta workers union, three months later they had embarked on what would be one of the longest strikes in Southern Alberta. Workers took to the picket lines on August 12 demanding higher wages. They would not return to work for 72 days.
Negotiations broke down quickly, and by September the strike turned violent. Picketers destroyed a shipment of crock-pots and vandalized the homes of replacement labourers. In one incident, 15 striking workers were arrested and convicted of various crimes when an employee was assaulted while trying to cross the picket line. Eight men were sent to jail and seven women were given suspended sentences, but all were hailed as heroes in the community. As the strike wore on, Mine-Mill‚Äôs position rapidly deteriorated, with them ultimately admitting defeat on October 24, 1947. As workers gradually returned to their posts, Medalta‚Äôs owners scrambled to find ways to remedy a struggling industry and duplicate the company‚Äôs early success. New lines were introduced including the innovative "Sanitas Cup". By the early 1950s production was down again, this time owing to increased imports and higher manufacturing costs. The decreased value of British products put Medalta temporarily out of business in 1949. The company was officially disbanded in September 1954.
Medalta pottery comes in myriad forms, from industrial pieces like hydro insulators to commercial pieces like crocks, chicken feeders, and butter churns to the other end of the spectrum highly decorative objects including vases, bowls, lamps, and even figurines (which are very uncommon and
reminiscent of Doulton figurines).¬† Medalta potteries come in many base variations, from a plaster base to stoneware all the way to a china like ceramic. Highly collectible objects include basket weave yellow ware sold in Eatons in the 30s and 40s; also popular with collectors are restaurant ware pieces. These range from the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways dining car pieces which appeal to railroad collectors to the RCAF and military restaurant ware.
Medicine Hat Pottery Company (1)
The first pottery factory in Medicine Hat was founded in 1912 by John McIntyre, representative of the Western Porcelain Manufacturing Company in Spokane, Washington. He saw the successful production of brick and sewer pipe in Medicine Hat, and reasoned that pottery production could benefit from the same advantages enjoyed by these other clay products manufacturers: natural gas would reduce the cost of firing the kilns, and finished products could be shipped to market on the CPR. There was one major difference: the coarse earthenware and stoneware clays used to produce bricks and pipes were available locally, while the finer grades of clay required for producing pottery had to be imported. This posed no great problem for McIntyre, as he could access Western Porcelain‚Äôs clay deposits in Washington which he proposed to import at the rate of one carload every second day. Because natural gas allowed him to fire the pottery cheaply, he could afford to transport the raw material to Medicine Hat.
City Council evidently agreed with McIntyre‚Äôs assessment, as they granted him concessions in March of 1912 amounting to free land, reduced utilities, and tax exemptions. In return, McIntyre was to erect a plant for not less than $37,000 and offer continuous employment to between 50 and 65 employees. The factory was supposed to open in May of 1912, but McIntyre was held up for months on the delivery of the machinery he ordered from East Liverpool, Ohio. His superintendent, William Clark, kept the staff busy making moulds, so that when the equipment finally arrived in January, 1913 the plant was ready to go into production. By March, 1913 the Medicine Hat Pottery Company was proudly displaying its wares in local store windows and at the Board of Trade.
Unfortunately, not much else is known about the company. New enterprises starting in Medicine Hat were greeted with great fanfare, but those that went under disappeared quietly. The pottery went out of business after little more than one year in operation. Apparently, the cost of bringing in clay from Washington State was prohibitive. Very few of the company‚Äôs wares have survived, although the Medicine Hat Manufacturer listed the products of the Medicine Hat Pottery in 1913 as including flower pots, jugs, and demi-johns. The company survives as a footnote in Medicine Hat‚Äôs industrial history and were it not for the fact that Medalta rose from its ashes it might have faded into complete obscurity.
Their stamp is highly recognizable and is affectionately referred to by collectors as 'the sleepy Indian.' MHP pieces range from crocks, vases, wall pockets, all the way to dinnerware¬† whose glazes are reminiscent of Homer Laughlin‚Äôs 'Fiesta,' 'Harlequin,' and 'Riviera' color ware lines.
Medicine Hat Pottery Company (2)
Not to be confused with the short lived plant established by John McIntyre
Founded by Harry Yuill (owner of Alberta Clay Products) as Medicine Hat Potteries Ltd. in 1937. Built down the road from Medalta, Medicine Hat Potteries soon emerged as the older company‚Äôs main competitor. Its 100 workers were almost all former Medalta employees, attracted away by the modern working conditions and higher pay.
The factory complex built for the new company was equipped with the latest in modern technology and equipment. It featured what was then the largest tunnel kiln in Canada, measuring 70 feet in diameter. Many of the factory‚Äôs features were designed to improve the working environment such as: abundant windows and skylights providing maximum natural light; modern safety devices were included in the building‚Äôs design; loudspeakers placed throughout the plant broadcast radio programs and records at intervals during the day; and a soft drink cooler and water fountain were installed on the factory floor.
As technical advances continued in the ceramics field, Yuill re-invested in the plant to keep its production methods current. One of the company‚Äôs major acquisitions was a Miller‚Äô Automatic Jigger Machine, acquired around 1947. This was an elaborate piece of equipment which single-handedly transformed soft clay into finished wares ready for glazing and firing. The machine was regarded as a mechanical wonder which offered manufacturers two big advantages: production speed, and labor reduction.
Increased production and reduced costs were part of Medicine Hat Potteries‚Äô approach to efficiency. However, modern management methods were considered just as important as modern equipment. A handbook on company policies outlined the importance of treating employees well, and providing leadership and encouragement on the job. In addition to maintaining high efficiency standards, promoting economy and enforcing safety regulations, the foreman was instructed to build morale and be a good listener.
Medicine Hat Potteries then began by making dishes in direct competition to Medalta‚Äôs dinnerware lines. The new company produced lighter, more decorative wares, which proved more popular with customers than Medalta‚Äôs. Within months of opening in 1938, Medicine Hat Potteries had taken over Medalta‚Äôs distributors in Toronto and Qu√©bec. By 1939, they were shipping wares to Australia. Over the next 15 years, the company continued to produce stoneware and art ware lines in addition to the popular dinnerware.
Medicine Hat Potteries sold out in 1955, and was re-named Hycroft China by its new owners. Hycroft struggled to find a market niche in the face of stiff competition from Japanese and British manufacturers. Souvenirs and commemorative plates became a mainstay of Hycroft‚Äôs production from 1955 through the 1960s. In 1960, Hycroft began manufacturing toilets. The plant had changed hands again in 1956, this time to Harry Veiner, mayor of Medicine Hat. By completely re-directing the company‚Äôs production, Veiner managed to keep Hycroft in operation until 1989. Profits from "sanitary ware" funded the limited manufacture of dishes and souvenirs until about 1985.
Craigleith (Collingwood), Ontario.
Pine Pottery was started by Mike Jaroch, 1972 in the building first used by Dennis Tupy at CCC (See Canadian Ceramic Craft)
The string tags used by Pine Pottery stated Collingwood as the location. Pine Pottery closed c. 1983.
Pine Ridge Pottery
Potterie Laurentienne (1987)
Inc ‚Äď (See entry for Laurentian)
Potterie de Port-Au-Persil
St-Simon, Quebec. See entry for Sial.
Provincial Industrial Enterprises 1939
Operated briefly in the Alberta Potteries plant between the time Wyatt's pottery closed down and when Yuill's company started.
Quebec Art Craft
Was a short lived pottery that was known to have existed after WWII. They created many highly decorated pieces; primarily of Art Deco design. Step designed wall pockets appear to have been a specialty. Produced on a white ground in many glazes such as chartreuse, red, black, and white, these pieces are uncommon and highly desirable among collectors.
(See entry for St. Lawrence Ceramics
Quebec Art Pottery
R. Campbell Sons, Potters
Name changed to Canada Potteries, Ltd. in 1928 and then to Hamilton Potteries, Ltd. in 1929. George Emery began work here in 1912 before moving on to Canadian Porcelain Co. in 1913.
Rainbow Bridge Pottery
Niagara Falls, Ontario
When Jim Lloyd (T. James Lloyd) left Georgian China Ltd., he joined Dennis Tupy at CCC and they formed Rainbow Ceramics which was essentially a continuation of CCC. Pieces, for the most part, continued to be marked CCC. An "RC" mold mark is also known. Rainbow Ceramics was formed c. 1966 and continued until the mid 1980's.
In operation c. 1972-1990. Started by Henry Tupy, who had previously worked for his brother Dennis at CCC in Collingwood, Sofia Originals in Toronto, and Canadiana in Ingleside.¬†
Royal Ariston, B.C
Rocky Mountain Pottery
Rocky Mountain Pottery used to make Pine Scented Pottery which was a bisque fired to white and then stained to resemble wood grain and soaked with a pine oil. Marked RoMco, the Rocky Mountain Pottery Co. logo, on the bottom.
Royal Canadian Art Pottery
Hamilton and Southampton, Ontario
Began operation in 1946 as a subsidiary of Foley Potteries Ltd. and by the 1960's became the largest teapot manufacturer in North America. Art pottery production began in 1968.
Royal Haeger of Canada
Most likely made in Collingwood, Ontario c. mid to late 1960's.
(See entry for Georgian China)
Began operation in 1947.
Smith Potteries Oshawa, Canada
Often marked Velta Artware
For any information on Smith Potteries we have an avid collector of these gorgeous pieces. He can give you more background on this little known pottery maker and he would also be interested in buying.
The name is Phil Hulaj and his Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. his phone number is 905-728-9100.
He recently had an amazing exhibit of these pieces at the Oshawa Art Gallery and has an article about same published in the Upper Canadian Antique Showcase magazine with some great photos. It was in the March-April issue Volume 31, number 2
Oshawa is about 25 miles east of Toronto. Today, there still are a number of studio potters and small firms active there.The history of who, what and exactly where the Smith Potteries were seems to be lost to us today. We could not find a single reference to the firm. Our best guess it was made some time "between the wars," as dealers say. That is, in the period between World War I and World War II; about 1915-45.
Sunburst Ceramics Ltd.
Medicine Hat, 1960 - 1963
According to owner/manager Malcolm McArthur, New Medalta Ceramics was on the verge of real profitability when a fire on Christmas Eve day 1958, left much of the factory in ruins. The fire marked the end for New Medalta but not for McArthur. By 1960 he convinced the Thrall family from Lethbridge Alberta to launch Sunburst Ceramics under his management. Sunburst moved to Lethbridge, AB. in 1966 (Items are marked Medicine Hat)
St Emile, Quebec
A Canadian floral wire-service. (I believe they are USA based)
Inkstamp appears on various floral containers.
Vandesca Pottery Ltd.
Established 1947, see entry for Syracuse-Vandesca Ltd.
6707 Goreway Dr
Mississauga ON, L4V 1P7
Approximately 40 employees work at this location
Sales: $20 - $50 Million
Chinaware & Glassware-wholesale Wholesales-Homefurnishings
You‚Äôve probably been served coffee in White Oak mugs.
Wyatt Art Pottery
Wyatt Art Pottery began operation in 1947. Started by Herbert R. Wyatt and continued by sons Robert and Jerry Wyatt.Changed ownership September 14, 2001.¬† Any pieces that are white clay marked with a W and then a number and the word Canada are theirs.¬† Wyatt Pottery was in business from 1947 to 2001.¬†
The name Wyatt keeps popping up in Canadian pottery history.
(See Alberta Potteries Ltd (Wyatt) (1931 ‚Äď 1938). Established in Redcliff by Jessie Wyatt and his sons, former Medalta employees. (See Medalta entry)
(See Grand River Pottery Ltd. One of the very few remaining 20th century Canadian potteries, they sell decorative wares at reasonable prices. In earlier years, most of the molds were supplied by Herbert Wyatt, now making dinnerware.
(See also Provincial Industrial Enterprises 1939 Operated briefly in the Alberta Potteries plant between the time Wyatt's pottery closed down and when Yuill's company started.