Pottery was manufactured at two sites south of Wautoma by William (Billy) Mosier, his son Edwin Mosier and John Williams.
Read the article: History of the Wautoma Potteries (will open in a new tab in your browser)
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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 property yet.
- Gunther & Berns pottery (1863 to 1866) at 8th & Wisconsin Streets made salt glazed pottery.
- Eastern Stoneware Company (1866 to 1885) also at 8th & Wisconsin Streets made salt-glazed stoneware.
Read the article: Eastern Stoneware Factory (will open in a new tab in your browser)
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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.
Charles Hermann & Co. is the best known and most productive 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
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.
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