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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: pottery and earthenware industry in Wisconsin


Although approximately 70 establishments and 200 operatives produced clayware for home and dairy use between 1844 and 1925, information on the state's pottery industry is limited. A group of English potters were among the first immigrants to come to Wisconsin, settling in Columbia and Marquette counties between 1848 and 1850. Known as the Potters Joint-Stock Emigration Society, many members quickly turned to farming although the census reveals several new potters in the area.   The first recorded earthenware manufacturer in Wisconsin was a man named McCann who established himself near Dubuque in 1836.  The lead mining region supported a number of potters who worked wherever clay, fuel, and water were readily available. Clayware pottery production fell into two broad categories: the manufacture of relatively soft-bodied red earthenware and the manufacture of more modern and durable stoneware and porcelain. Farmers and tradesmen often turned to earthenware production as an ancillary business during the winter. Wisconsin possessed an abundant supply of earthenware clays but lacked quantities of stoneware clay deposits so few stoneware concerns were established in the state: those that did establish in Wisconsin were forced to import stoneware clays from other states.  One of the largest Wisconsin suppliers of raw stoneware clay was the Superior China Clay Works of Hersey, established in 1893 in St. Croix County.  As a result of having to import raw clays, most late 19th century stoneware manufacturers were located in urban areas where local market demands could support the importation costs.  In 1880, 10 of the 14 major producers were in Milwaukee. By the early 20th century, most manufacturers had realized that importing finished products was more economical than local production.

View a related article at Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives.

[Source: Wisconsin's Cultural Resources Study Units, Wisconsin Historical Society]

115 records found

Packing-the-rigging (logging)
Packs (logging)
paczki (food)
pad (farming)
paddock (farming)
Pail and Shovel Party
Paleoindian culture (archaeology)
panary (farming)
Panic of 1837
pantograph (railroads)
paper industry in Wisconsin
Paramount records
parfleche (Fr.)
Parkman Club
parole (military)
parterre (farming)
pastern (farming)
pasteurization (dairy)
pays d'en haut (Fr.)
Pearl Fishing
Pearl-diver (logging)
Peavey (logging)
peavey (logging)
Peckatonica River
pelleterie (Fr.)
per diem (railroads)
perche (Fr.)
period revival (architecture)
Perryville, Battle of
Peshtigo Fire
Petersburg, Siege of
Petrified Man Hoax
Pewit's Nest
Phoenix (shipwreck, 1847)
piastre (Fr.)
Piastre (Fr.)
Picture(d) Rocks, Michigan
Pie-fork (logging)
piece (Fr.)
pied (Fr.)
Pike Creek
Pike-pole (logging)
pillage (Civil War)
pilothouse (maritime)
Pine Bend
pinte (Fr.)
pirogue (Fr.)
pistole (Fr.)
piston (railroads)
plank road
plants, native
plate (maritime)
Platoon (Civil War)
pledget (farming)
plomb (Fr.)
Plumb Plan
plunder (Civil War)
plus (Fr.)
Pokelogan (logging)
Pole-ax (logging)
Political Equality League
pollard (farming)
pontoon (Civil War)
pony boiler (maritime)
Poor-box (logging)
population of Wisconsin, 1820-1990
port (maritime)
Port Gibson, Battle of
Port Hudson, Siege of
Portage City Guards (Civil War)
pot (Fr.)
Potosi Badgers (Civil War)
Potter Law (1874)
pottery and earthenware industry in Wisconsin
pouce (Fr.)
Prairie du Chien, Battle of (1814)
Prairie Grove, Battle of
Prairie School (architecture)
Pre-exemption Law (1841)
Presidential Visits to Madison
primary elections in Wisconsin
primary rocks (mining)
prisons in Wisconsin
private (Civil War)
Prize-logs (logging)
probang (farming)
Progressive Movement
Project Sanguine
Puan, Puans, Puants
puddingstone (mining)
Punk (logging)
put about (maritime)
pyrites (mining)

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