The Roseville Pottery Company was well known for consistently producing high-quality pottery with unique patterns and styles. The operations began in the 1890s, whereby it was small-scale, and the company gradually expanded its dealings to a widely recognizable level. But is Roseville pottery still made?
Roseville was founded in 1890 and the original pottery produced a prolific range of lines until 1954 when it unfortunately closed. However, the Roseville brand had a change in fortune in 2017 when production began again. This followed its purchase by antique specialists, The Kings Fortune.
The History of Roseville Pottery
The Roseville Pottery company was founded in 1890, in Roseville, Ohio. It was originally established by J. F. Weaver who is said to have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Art Pottery Movement in America.
The Arts and Crafts movement began in England around 1860. It was a response to concerns about the impact of industrialization. Around that time there was a growing awareness that mass production was having a negative impact on workers. It was also recognized that the quality of the objects being mass-produced by machines was in decline.
The Arts and crafts movement was heavily influenced by the ideas of William Morris and John Ruskin. Both of these artists encouraged a revival of artisan crafts being produced in a village-type community. The aim was to reskill artisans and return to a period in which quality ware was made by creative workers.
A similar movement was taking place in the US and is referred to as the Art Pottery Movement. The emergence of the Roseville Pottery was part of this shift in values and production happening at the time.
The Journey of the Roseville Brand
The Roseville Pottery company grew quickly, taking over several other local potteries as they expanded. In 1898, they relocated to Zanesville, Ohio, and continued to employ local workers in four plants that operated as potteries.
Since its inception, Roseville pottery produced a huge range of patterns and lines. The pottery is made out of stoneware, rather than earthenware, giving it strength and durability. The company has had several famous art directors over the years, who have introduced sought-after lines of Roseville pottery.
One example is Frederick Hurten Rhead, a ceramic artist born and Staffordshire in the UK. Rhead moved to the US in 1902 and had a number of influential positions in a range of potteries (source).
This included a stint at Roseville between 1904 and 1909, where he is responsible for introducing a range of Roseville pottery lines. These include the Della Robbia Line.
Another influential art director was Frank Ferrell. Ferrell was a ceramic artist native to Zanesville, and he became the art director at Roseville pottery in 1918. Under Ferrell’s directorship, Roseville produced around 90 further pottery lines (source).
These ranges include most famously, the Sunflower, Pinecone, and Blackberry lines.
Ferrell remained in position until the plant closed in 1954. Unfortunately, the original Roseville pottery ceased trading at this point for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at those now…
Reasons Why The Roseville Pottery Initially Closed
There are a couple of key factors that led to the cessation of its production in 1953:
One of the reasons the Roseville company ceased making pottery was the influx of cheaper pieces from Japan. People opted for the more affordable Japanese pottery, decreasing the sales of many American pottery companies.
Although Roseville produced high-quality pieces in unique designs, the imported pieces claimed a huge chunk of their customer base. As a result, the company struggled to stay afloat. This was the main reason for the closure of the company and the temporary cessation of the production of Roseville pottery.
Following the continuous losses, the company’s management decided to sell it in 1954. The sale package included all the designs and production plants. Unfortunately, the new owners interfered with the continuity of the company by ceasing production altogether.
The other major reason Roseville stopped making pottery at that time is that the company went bankrupt. The incessant loss of customers meant that the company could not meet its debt requirements. Thus, it lacked the resources to carry out production and other operations. As a result, it started running at a loss.
The company declared bankruptcy in 1953 as it could not keep its head above water any longer. While it was fueled by its dedication to producing high-quality pottery, the Roseville pottery company became unsustainable.
In 1954 the company was acquired by the New England Ceramics Company. As mentioned earlier, the new company did not continue with the production of pottery, so the creation of Roseville pottery came to a close at that time.
The bankruptcy led to the closure of all production plants and, the termination of Roseville pottery production for a number of years.
A New Beginning for Roseville Pottery
The story of Roseville Pottery could have had a sad ending. After the company ceased trading the trademarks expired and there was a decline in interest in their ceramics.
However, in the 1970s and 80s, there was a revival in interest amongst ceramics collectors for pieces of Roseville ware.
As a response to this increase in demand, there was also a growth in the number of manufacturers producing pieces of fake Roseville Pottery. A number of companies reproduced Roseville to cash in on the reviving popularity of Roseville pieces.
This activity wasn’t illegal because the trademarks had expired. However, the increased number of fake Roseville pieces on the market came to the attention of two experienced antique dealers in Indiana.
Renee and James King, are the owners of The Kings Fortune, and specialize in buying and selling American Art Pottery. They purchased the Roseville trademark in 2017 in an effort to stem the flow of fake Roseville pottery that was entering the market (source).
It has been important to the Kings to keep the Roseville brand alive. They sell vintage pieces, with certificates to guarantee authenticity. In addition to this, they have a range of new Roseville pottery lines.
Many incredible brands of pottery gradually fade out of existence with time. So, it’s a heartening story to know that the Roseville brand is being kept alive.
Why Roseville Pottery is Still Popular
The molds and patterns of Roseville pottery still attract collectors even to this day. These pieces are collected worldwide with their prices having undergone wild swings over the decades. Besides, they are becoming rarer by the day, and as with pottery, the rarer it is, the more it is sought after.
In addition to the unique designs, these pieces have a rich history which greatly adds to their legitimacy. As such, they are highly prized commodities. Therefore, pieces of Roseville pottery will continue to be valued and popular.
3 Places Where You Can Find Roseville Pottery Today
While Roseville pottery is quite rare, the pieces are still in circulation. Thus, if you intend to get a few pieces for yourself, there are select places where you can find them. They include the following:
The Official Roseville Pottery Store
As stated above, authentic Roseville Pottery can be purchased through the official Roseville website here. This includes vintage and new lines of Roseville. The current owners of Roseville work hard in conjunction with online platforms such as eBay to try to remove the sale of fake pieces of Roseville.
Interestingly, The Kings Fortune also sells other brands of pottery that are often of interest to lovers of Roseville Pottery. These include amongst others Rookwood and Weller pottery.
Specialist Online Ceramic Stores
The Just Art Pottery Store is an online site that provides both entry-level and expert collectors an opportunity to find the pieces they may be looking for. The site features a wide variety of pottery, including Roseville pottery pieces. Thus, it would be an ideal place to look.
This store features thousands of Roseville pieces, meaning that there is always something for everyone. If you are a beginner in the art of pottery collection, this would be the best place to start, as this site is quite easy to navigate.
Also, you will be sure to find authentic pieces that are sold either as single pieces or entire collections. The site is widely recognized by expert collectors, which boosts its credibility. So, you can rest easy knowing that you will not fall victim to a scam arrangement where you receive counterfeit pieces.
This online marketplace provides an avenue for buyers and sellers to transact in antique pottery pieces. Thus, there are all types of pottery pieces, including Roseville pottery. As long as you find a willing seller, you can purchase pottery vessels to build on your collection.
In Etsy, the transaction occurs directly between a buyer and a seller. The website enables interested parties to find each other and conduct a smooth deal. Essentially, it is like the wall street of pottery.
Also, the platform ensures that all pieces transacted on the website are as authentic as they can be. Etsy ensures that all its sellers undergo a verification process for the sake of credibility.
Therefore, you will most probably find authentic pieces on this platform which saves you from worrying about buying fake pieces. Even so, it is advisable to double-check the pieces for authenticity before making a purchase.
Additionally, this platform deals in a wide range of products and not just pottery. Therefore, it may not be the best place for amateur collectors to get information about the pieces, unlike the Just Art Pottery site mentioned above, which exclusively deals with pottery.
eBay is an online platform that facilitates one-to-one sales of different items, including pottery. Just like Etsy, this platform is safe to buy from since there is third-party involvement, which is more foolproof than buying from an individual’s personal website.
This involvement ensures that the seller is checked for authenticity, which also goes a long way in making sure that the piece they are selling is genuine.
eBay works as an auction avenue whereby a piece goes to the highest bidder. You can be sure to find a wide variety of Roseville pottery here, including antique pieces. So, it is one of the top choices if you are looking to collect some pieces.
Compared to the two other websites mentioned above, eBay mostly features simple pottery, which is cheaper than antiques. However, this does not make them any less authentic than the antiques.
Although Roseville Company continually and consistently produced popular pottery patterns and styles, they eventually went out of business in 1954. Nevertheless, in 2017 it was given a second lease of life and is currently trading and producing new lines of pottery along with older vintage ware.
Pottery collectors are particularly interested in Roseville pottery for various reasons, such as its rarity, quality, and unique patterns.