I found something at the store the other day that I mistook for Puriton pottery. If you haven’t checked out this blog yet, take a look at my “Perfect Purinton” post and this comment will make sense. I found this little creamer. It’s hard to see from the photo but it is actually a very creamy, buttery color.
I thought “Oh, Purinton! I know this.” But then I did a quick look up to see what it was worth and found out it was actually not Purinton but yellow ware by Watt Pottery. The design that I thought was Purinton was an apple design but apparently it was a favorite motif back in the day. The patterns are similar but the Purinton apple is open. The Watt apple is closed with a single curved swish of the brush.
In researching the piece before I put it up for sale at the Vintage Eve’s store, I found out that Watt Pottery was an important piece of American history.
According to the Watt Collectors’ Association, Watt Pottery began in Southern Ohio when the Watt family started learning how to create pottery from W.J. Watt. He had founded the “Brilliant Stoneware Company” in 1886 in Rose Farm, Ohio.
Traveling salesmen sold the crocks, jars and jugs they made to general stores and hardware stores throughout Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Indiana. He sold that company in 1897.
Funny enough W.J. Watt then worked for another important company with his brothers-in-law at Ransbottom Brothers Pottery in Ironspot, Ohio. It’s funny because one of my favorite bowls is a Ransbottom bowl (check out this post), although that was when they were Robinson-Ransbottom. But I digress, back to Watt.
In 1921 W.J. Watt bought Globe Stoneware Company in Crooksville, Ohio and renamed it Watt Pottery Company. He kept it all in the family as it was also run by his sons, daughter and a few other relatives.
The types of pottery they made were crocks, jugs, preserve jars and various sizes of mixing bowls, along with some other common stoneware of the day.
They managed to make it through the Depression, keeping employees working 40 hours a week which was a feat in itself. By the late 1930’s, early 1940’s, Watt Pottery needed to adapt to a changing society.
Women were replacing their cast iron cookstoves with porcelain self-igniting stoves. Electric refrigerators were beginning to become standard in kitchens across America. Watt created a very popular line of ovenware that could handle very high oven temperatures.
The clay they used was local and was a deep cream color. With a couple of additives to keep it from discoloring in the kiln, these became what we call yellow ware and are highly collectible today.
The Watt Collectors’ Association says that the original pieces were fairly plain. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that they started really decorating the pieces.
They tried a couple of designs that did not do so well as they used raised decorations that either discolored or had rough edges. They finally brought in a professional artist that taught 15 people at different stations how to hand-paint designs.
Because the pieces are all hand-painted, no two are exactly alike which is what makes them so collectible. The Apple series was introduced in 1952. It was a best seller. See, everyone likes apples!
Unfortunately, the Watt Pottery Company burned to the ground on October 4, 1965. They never reopened but Watt Pottery is just as popular now as it was then. Their pottery has withstood the test of time and graced many a kitchen over the years.
I hope you have learned a little about a great pottery company that kept Americans working through some of our darkest times. Please check out the Watt Collectors’ Association for a more in-depth look at the interesting history of the Watt Pottery Company. If you have a chance, leave me a comment to say hi or stop by my vintage store and take a look at some great vintage treasures from times gone by.
Enjoy your week!
Where I like to party Adirondack Girl @ Heart !