Over this weekend I listed some soup bowls with handles in my shop.
I liked their look and the sturdiness of them. On the unglazed bottom they were marked “Heinz USA Made by Western.” Well, I know who Heinz is but I didn’t know who Western referred to so I had to research them. As you know, I like as much information as possible for the items I list and because I find this stuff fascinating.
Turns out Western refers to the Western Stoneware Company. According to the University of Illinois Extension,Western Stoneware came into existence in 1906 when seven different stoneware and pottery companies merged.
These companies were Monmouth Pottery of Monmouth, Illinois, Weir Pottery Co. of Monmouth, Illinois, Macomb Stoneware Company of Macomb, Illinois, Macomb Pottery of Macomb, Illinois, D. Culbertson Stoneware Co. of White Hall, Illinois, Clinton Stoneware Co. of Clinton, Missouri, and Fort Dodge Stoneware of Fort Dodge, Iowa.
These seven were referred to after this point as Plant 1 or Plant 2, etc. but all were under the Western Stoneware company. They kept the maple leaf logo that Monmouth had started with before they were merged. They produced many lines of stoneware such as crocks, butter churns, jugs and also decorative pieces.
The University of Illinois Extension also notes that some of their more popular lines were Marcrest dinnerware and the Colonial line of stoneware. Monmouth Pottery artware was also popular.
They were also happy to put advertising on their pieces. That’s where the Heinz reference comes in. Heinz was just one of the companies that had pieces commissioned by Western. If you remember the post from last week about Watt Pottery, they were doing the same thing. Hey, it paid the bills!
The company had weathered many storms and kept Americans working during some tough times in our history, but according to the Quad-City Times, Western closed their doors in 2006. They lasted longer than many but in the end, they fell prey to out-sourcing and cheap imports, as did other potteries across the U.S. Their pieces, especially their advertising pieces, are still very collectible.
I hope you found this look at Western Stoneware as interesting as I did. If you get a chance, leave me a note to say hi or stop by Vintage Eve’s shop and take a look at some great vintage treasures. See you next week!
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