Mineral Point five-gallon crock

Mineral Point Pottery

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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Bachelder two-gallon Butter Churn

Menasha Pottery 1850 – 1866

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.


Franklin – Langenberg 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%.

Langenberg Sherds

These fragments were retrieved by Mark Knipping. They are extremely helpful for identifying Langenberg pottery which is unmarked and probably resembles other Sheboygan earthenware pottery made by Peter Berns and others.

Small jug attributed to Hammett 14

Cottage Inn (near Belmont) – Hammett Pottery

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

Hammett Pottery Examples

Hammett Pottery is not signed and resembles pottery made elsewhere in the region so no attribution can be 100%. These pieces that we have attributed to the Hammett Pottery based on provenance, style, and similarities to sherds recovered from the site.

Sherds from the Hammett Pottery Site

These fragments were collected by Mark Knipping in 1971 in Cottage Grove.

Wautoma Potteries

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 - 1855 to 1863

These pieces are stamped W.D. MOSIER and date to about the time that Billy closed the pottery to fight in the Civil War.

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.

Sheboygan – Eastern Stoneware Co.

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.

Gunther & Berns - 1863 to 1866

Decorated stoneware from this period are relatively rare compared to those from the Th. Gunther era after Berns sold out in 1866.

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.

Two-Gallon Ovoid Hermann & Co. Jug

Milwaukee – Charles Hermann & Co. 1856 to 1882

Charles Hermann & Co. is the best known and most prolific stoneware manufacturer in Wisconsin in the 19th century. Spanning thirty years in Milwaukee, starting in 1856 and ending with the transfer of his business to his step-son in 1886, his products are still found all over Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. His factory employed a large staff of potters and decorators and served as a school for a number of these craftspeople to launch their own potteries From the finest decorated jugs, pots and his churns of his pottery’s earliest years to the ubiquitous Albany slip, “beehive” jugs with the “C. HERMANN & CO. / MILWAUKEE” oval stamp, this entrepreneur made his mark. The authors provide new research that expands the knowledge of Hermann’s products and the people that made them.

Read the article: Charles Hermann & Co.
Related article: Pierron Pottery Company

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Charles Hermann & Co. Stoneware Examples

Whitewater earthenware grouping

Whitewater Potteries

These articles cover the history of the four earthenware pottery manufacturers that operated in Whitewater Wisconsin. These articles will open in a new window in your browser. Scroll down to see photos.

Whitewater - Fremont Street Pottery (1846 to 1858)
Whitewater - Cravath Street Pottery (1847 to 1852)
Whitewater - Depot Pottery (1854 to 1882)
Whitewater - Whiton Street Pottery (1859 to 1866)

George Williams - Came with his family  to Whitewater in 1846 from Mt. Morris NY where he operated the Nathan Clark Pottery. He bought into the Fremont Street Pottery. Later his son James ran the Depot Pottery.

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Whitewater Pottery Examples

Despite the large size of the potteries, relatively few examples of their ware survived, especially undamaged pieces. Whitewater pottery is extremely porous and brittle so it easily cracks, breaks, chips, and the glaze tends to peel when it gets wet and freezes. This gallery contains photos of some of the pieces that did somehow survive.

Only a couple of surviving pieces have stamps but Whitewater pottery is often identifiable based on the glaze, decoration and light weight. We have attributed some piece to specific potteries based on similarities to sherd recovered from pottery sites, but most cannot yet be identified. Attribution of unstamped earthenware can never be 100% and there are many pieces of earthenware with similarities with Whitewater but uncertain at best. The photos below should help.


Sherds from the Fremont Street Pottery site

The photos of the few sherds from this site were found by Kori Oberle many years ago.


Sherds from the Depot Pottery site

These fragments were found during sidewalk replacement within the top foot or so of the surface. They are intended to help understand the forms, glazes and decorations used at this site.


Sherds from the Whiton Street Pottery site

These fragments were found by a groundhog that happened to dug into the waster dump and other framents scatter on the surface of the site. They are intended to help understand the forms, glazes and decorations used at this particular site.

This document describes the numbered sherds in the first photo below: Milz & Ohnhaus shards


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