August Henschel was a redware potter who operated in Colgate, Waukesha County, Wisconsin from about 1856 to 1900. His work is known from eleven small pieces with strong provenance that were passed down in the Connell family.
Bernard Klais operated an earthenware pottery between 1858 and 1880 in Mineral Point Wisconsin. His wares are somehat distinctive. The handles are mostly attached at the ends only - they are free standing. ALthough his pottery was ofter made with and orange glaze, a common glaze is very dark, almost black. Capacity marks are stamped with hand-carved wood stamps or hand-incised. The clay body is always red. Fortunately, sherds were recovered from the pottery site which helps us identify the colors and forms that Klais produced.
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The Henry Kern Pottery was a small and obscure business that operated for over ten years starting in 1850. It was still operating in 1860 based on Census records but gone by 1870. We were fortunate to learn that a piece was donated to the Waukesha Historical Museum by a family member in 1929. It is the only pottery attributable to the pottery we are aware of.
Read the article: Henry Kern Pottery 4-23-2023
The Menasha Pottery was started by Luther Bachelder and his sons Carlton and Cleveland. They initially made earthenware but soon converted to making stoneware using clay imported from Ohio. The pottery operated until 1866 when Carlton went into pottery wholesaling.
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Menasha Pottery Examples
The Menasha Pottery made high quality stoneware mostly from Ohio clay in the early years then sometimes from New Jersey clay starting in the late 1850's. Most of the pots one-gallon or more in capacity were decorated. Of those, less than one-quarter were also stamped. The decoration varied somewhat, but it appears that just a couple of potters apparently decorated the majority of them, probably Carlton and Cleveland. Consequently, unmarked stoneware made at the Menasha Pottery can be attributed based on the decoration alone. The Bachelder's also had some distinctive features in their turnings that can also help identify unmarked pieces.
Menasha Pottery - Identifying Traits
There are many pieces of pottery that are unmarked but have forms, decorations, glazes that resemble Bachelder. Many of them come from Ohio, New York, Michigan or elsewhere. Bachelder did not mark most of their products and decorations varied quite a bit, making attribution difficult at times. However, many unmarked Menasha Pottery pieces have one or more of the elements below that are strong evidence that they were made by the Menasha Pottery.
scar Bachelder was the son of Calvin Bachelder and a third generation pottery. He learned potting skills at an early age working with his father in the Menasha Pottery. He worked as a pottery for his entire life, working with his father at three different potteries, then moving around the U.S. doing short-term stints at many different potteries. He eventually achieved national fame as an art potter in North Carolina under the name Omar Khayyam.
Read the article: Oscar Bachelder Omar Khayyam Pottery
by Pat H. Johnston and Daisy W. Bridges published by the Journal of Studies of the Ceramic Circle of Charlotte, Volume V
Related article: Menasha Pottery
Conrad Langenberg Pottery - 1856 to 1893
The Langenberg Pottery near Sheboygan Wisconsin is a classic example of a small rural farmer/earthenware potter. This business model repeated itself throughout the United States, probably hundreds of times. The story of Conrad Langenberg probably closely resembles that of many of them, except that he managed to stay in business for 37 years, far longer than most.
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Langenberg Pottery Examples
We are fortunate today that there were collectors who were eagerly collected and researched Langenberg pottery early on. Most 19th century Wisconsin earthenware pottery makers did not stamp their wares, so there are no extant examples of the wares for many of them. By contrast, there are many pieces of earthenware that survive from the Langenberg pottery. Mark Knipping's article on the Langenberg Pottery on this web site identifies at least two dozen different forms. Many of them appear in the photos below.
Langenberg did not stamp his name on any of his products so all of these are attributed based the location they were found, the form, glaze, similarity to sherds from the waster dump, or some combination of these. However, other potteries operated in the area at the same time, so attribution is never 100%.
George Hammett and his son John operated a pottery in Cottage Inn, Wisconsin that is near Belmont from 1856 to 1861. George previously worked in Galena, Illinois. The pottery he made in Cottage Inn resembles the pottery made in Galena, making attribution difficult. Fortunately, sherds were recovered from the pottery site and are pictured below.
Read the article: Hammett Pottery
Pottery was manufactured at two sites south of Wautoma by William (Billy) Mosier, his son Edwin Mosier, and John Williams.
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Wautoma Pottery Examples
The glazes of pottery made at the Wautoma locations vary considerably but the color of the clay body is light, not red. It appears that the composition of the clay they used was fired at a higher temperature than earthenware's made elsewhere in Wisconsin. Mosier advertised his wares as "stone ware", but it was earthenware - not nearly as vitrified and durable as pottery made from imported clay with salt glaze. Relatively few pieces of Wautoma pottery have survived.
The potteries of William and Edwin Mosier produced a diversity of wares exhibiting glazes that range from downright ugly to quite attractive. Colors run from yellow, tan, olive brown, grey to black often in combinations...
W.D. Mosier & Co. - 1866 to 1877
Pieces stamped with the "& Co." were probably made after Billy Mosier and his son-in-law Frank Van Arsdale returned from the Civil War in 1866 until the pottery on the White River closed in 1877. The partners represented by the "& Co." in the stamp may have been one or more of his family members who worked at the pottery: Edwin, Byron, and/or his son-in-law Frank.
Sherds from the Edwin Mosier Site
The sherds shown here were rescued by Mark Knipping before the contents of the waster dump were dug out and used for road fill. Given that the only marked pieces from this site are stenciled Edwin Mosier who may have left the potter by 1880, these photos should be helpful for identifying unsigned Mosier pottery.
No sherds have been recovered from the William Mosier site because it is underwater due to a dam.
Edwin Mosier & Co. - 1866 to 1877
Pieces stenciled in cobalt with "EDWIN D. MOSIER" were probably made between 1877 and 1880. The 1880 census does not show Edwin or Billy living in the area, suggesting that both were gone by then. John Williams continued to operate the pottery for a couple more years after that. That explains the rarity of stencilled Mosier pottery. There are just a handful of them known to collectors today.
J.H. Williams - 1874 to 1882
Williams rented Billy Mosier's pottery on the White river for several years and continued making pottery at the new Edwin Mosier site until 1882. It seems likely that he did not mark his wares given that no pieces have been found marked with his name. Pottery exists today that resembles Mosier's pottery but is unsigned. Some of these were probably made by Williams.
This article covers three pottery operations at two sites:
- Peter Berns Pottery (1855 to 1863) located at 9th and Superior Streets made earthenware pottery from local clay. No pottery examples or sherds have been attributed to this pottery yet.
- Gunther & Berns pottery (1863 to 1866) at 8th & Wisconsin Streets. They made salt glazed pottery.
- Eastern Stoneware Company (1866 to 1885) also at 8th & Wisconsin Streets. They also made salt-glazed stoneware.
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Gunther & Berns and Eastern Stoneware Co. Stoneware Examples
Most of the decorated stoneware from the Eastern Stoneware Company had a floral motif referred to as a "water plant" or simply as a variation on the tulip. While larger crocks and churns commonly had cobalt blue decorations, smaller pieces were often left unadorned because the additional time required could not be justified economically given the low return on small wares sold at a fixed rate per gallon.
Th. Gunther - 1867 to 1885
Many examples of both signed and unsigned stoneware from the Th. Gunther era survive today. In the early years the flower buds were large and long and stamps were placed in the upper left. Over time, the flower buds evolved into more compact form and the stamps were in the upper right position.
The earthenware pottery of Friedrich Herrmann was the longest operating single-owner operated pottery in Wisconsin (38 years). A close second was Conrad Langenberg’s in Franklin which ran for 37 years. He and his brothers Samuel and Christian built a pot shop on Johnson Street (now Highland Street) east of the river and then moved it west to Third Street in about 1857. He made pottery continuously from his arrival in Milwaukee in 1847 until his death in 1885. His son Albert ran the pottery for another 32 years until 1917.
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