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.