As I’ve been in business with my Etsy store, Vintage Eve’s, for about a year now, I’ve come across any number of pieces marked Johnson Brothers. Today I listed a pair of pretty square bowls done by the Johnson Brothers Company in the Minuet pattern which I love.
These bowls are not just pretty but I like their squareness, too! They are also marked Ironstone. Although these particular bowls are from mid-century 1960s to early 1970s, Johnson Brothers started back in the late 1800s.
Collectors Weekly says that Johnson Brothers was started in 1883 by Federick and Alfred Johnson (so they really were brothers!). They were in Staffordshire which is known to have been a hub for pottery at that time. They wanted to produce a type of earthenware called “White Granite” and they marked those pieces “Semi Porcelain.”
By 1888 their older brother, Henry, had joined the company. Collectors Weekly states that a fourth brother, Robert, opened a satellite office in New York. By 1900 there were 5 potteries altogether. With Robert selling the family pottery in America, the Johnson Brothers company went into the new century in the black.
Their transferware and flow blue porcelain (which is highly collectible) were very popular. They made excellent quality products but kept the mid-range price which ensured that most people could afford it.
The family continued to grow with the brothers’ sons joining the company followed by grandsons. During the 1920s, Johnson Brothers introduced a colored clay called “Dawn” which came in gray, rose, green, and gold.
Their transferware continued, however to be one of their most popular products. The company is most identified with pictures of wild turkeys and scenes in their Historic America series. Summer Chintz was a popular pattern and Old Britain Castles, too.
During the Depression, they closed their original factory on Charles Street and took some time to modernize their factories. Their Friendly Village pattern became highly collected after World War II as were their Christmas Plates.
During the time of World War II, they continued to stay afloat with their American division. After the war, they opened plants in England, Australia and Canada to decorate, glaze and fire the pieces and they did well for quite awhile until about 1968 when, in a bid to stay competitive in the world market, they joined the Wedgwood Group.
The Wedgwood Group, according to ThePotteries.org website, includes the following potteries: Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd., Royal Tuscan, Coalport, Susie Cooper, Johnson Bros., William Adams, J & G Meakin, Midwinter, Mason’s Ironstone China, and Crown Staffordshire China.
What I’ve learned over almost a year of blogging about my finds, is that if you don’t adapt, you don’t survive especially in the pottery business! Well, that is it for now on the Johnson Brothers. Thank you so much for letting me share with you!
I will be partying at the links on the right this week, if you have a second, check them out and have a great week!