I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I started this blog! I started it in October of 2015. Posting once a week, I have posted 44 articles talking about different companies and types of vintage collectibles. Each week I think “What am I going to write about this week?” and then something interesting pops up! There are so many neat collectibles to discover that there always seems to be something to investigate. This week it is the Edwin M. Knowles company (read a little further and find out why I got really excited this week).
See this item above? It totally attracted me during one of my jaunts. I love the orange and white poppies with the yellow edging. The raised flourishes are really pretty, too. It is a cake plate, you can tell by the 2 tab-handles on the side. Well, as I was on Replacements.com which is a huge database of patterns, looking for the name of the pattern on the cake plate, sifting through page after page of Knowles patterns, lo and behold I found a pattern I had given up ever finding the name to! The one below.
I had purchased these plates awhile back for the Vintage Eve’s shop and because they are not marked, could not find the pattern. And, trust me, I looked! I asked around … no one knew. Turns out it is an Edwin M. Knowles and it’s called Coral Pine. Finally! A name! I don’t know if you share my pain here, but it drives me crazy when I can’t identify a pattern!
So where did the Knowles Company originate? Who were they? Let’s find out! I went to my trusty pottery book to find out some good information. I’ve referenced this book before and probably will again, “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner. The link will take you to Amazon if you want to purchase your own from any number of sellers which is where I got mine.
So she says that Edwin M. Knowles Company was in business from 1900 to 1963. A pretty good run compared to others like Ohme who was only in business for about 30 years. The business was started in 1900 and a major plant opened in 1913. It was located in Chester, Virginia. This plant became one of the “most modern and best equipped plants in the industry” (Lehner, 1988, p. 237).
They also had a factory from 1913 to 1963 in Newell, W. Virginia. This factory became the one factory when they sold the Chester plant to Harker Pottery in 1931. There was another company that began earlier than Edwin’s company; Knowles, Taylor, Knowles out of Ohio but don’t confuse them because they are 2 separate companies. There was also another company called Knowles, Homer, Pottery Company. This company was connected to Knowles, Taylor, Knowles but NOT the Edwin M. Knowles Company.
Another blog that talks about this company, RobbinsNest.com has more information than I had in the book. She says that Edwin was the son of the original founder of Knowles, Taylor, Knowles. He must have branched out on his own. He definitely found his own way as he was in business throughout the Depression when his father’s company did not make it.
Edwin’s company in fact grew. The Edwin M. Knowles Company became known for making the finest semi-vitreous ware in the industry. According to RobbinsNest.com, two of their more popular designs were Yorktown (very art deco) and Potomac (simple shape in 7 colors).
The company continued after Edwin’s death in 1943, passing to Frederick Blackmore Lawrence and then William A. Harris, Jr. into the 1960s. The company finally closed it’s doors in 1962 due in large part to cheap imports. This happened to a large number of U.S. potteries during that time like Spaulding, Purinton, and others. Another company bought the rights to the Knowles name and produced some plates during the 1980s and 1990s but it was not the original Edwin M. Knowles Company.
So that is the story of the Edwin M. Knowles Company. I find this stuff fascinating, how they are all interconnected. For a look at the different backstamps this company used and to research year of production, check out My Granny’s Attic Antiques (another great resource).
I hope you have a great week! Join me this week at the link parties listed on the right. And be sure to follow me by email or on BlogLovin’ where you can keep all your blogs together in one spot.