Look at this adorable little cat figurine I unearthed the other day for the shop!
Look at that happy face! The kitty has lost its original foil sticker but has some numbers on the bottom that helped identify it as a piece of Napco pottery. Napco has been around for awhile. According to my favorite source for ceramic and pottery, “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner, they started in 1938.
Their whole name is National Potteries Corporation and they were located in Bedford, OH. They were actually distributors of pottery and glass. They manufactured only a few pieces themselves. Mainly they imported and distributed.
The original founders of Napco were Irwin Garber, a guy named Payner, and David Rein. Garber eventually left to start his own company, Inarco (which you may have heard of) in the 1960s. At first Napco manufactured planters and utilitarian items.
They eventually moved to importing from their Asian factories in Seto and Nagoya, Japan. From these factories came those famous lady-head vases, figurines like mine above, and other decorative items.
During the early 1980s they moved from Ohio to Florida to be closer to a new distribution facility and ocean ports. I do not believe they are still in business from what I am able to see. It seems as if their last annual report came from 1989. In 1990 they filed for admin dissolution, which says to me that they closed.
Napco was a prolific distributor during the 20th century. They, along with Lefton, gave us some of our favorite knick knacks, kitschkies, and collectibles. If you have a story about one of your favorite Napco pieces, let me know. I love to hear your stories! Also, join me at the link parties listed on the right this week.
Here’s to a Happy New Year!