Thursday, August 13, 2009

Marshall Pottery

Thank you for both participating in as well as visiting Thrifty Thursday. I am always happy to have guest..... friends, really join me each week. For that I thank you.
Yesterday I shared with you my pottery crock find. It was purchased by my mother. I did some research on Marshall's Pottery-which is the three numbered pieces (#'s 2, 3, and 5) she bought from the estate sale. I found it interesting, maybe you will to.
Marshall Pottery specializes in hand turned pottery straight from the potter’s wheel. Skilled artisans have turned the clay of East Texas for over one hundred years making beautiful, functional stoneware pottery. Master Potters and Cobalt artist transform lumps of clay into wonderfully designed pieces of heirloom quality stoneware. Each piece is truly a piece of art.

In 1895 W. F. Rocker, from Kentucky, came to the East Texas town of Marshall and founded the Marshall Pottery Works. The reason he was attracted to Marshall was due to the abundance of the two natural ingredients his business needed—white clay and water. Through a series of ownerships, the pottery finally fell into the hands of Sam Ellis around 1905. The story is told that Mr. Ellis, who was a blacksmith by trade, would walk by the Pottery everyday on his way to and from work. He ended up loaning the owner at that time, a Mr. Studer, $375.55 to build a new kiln. Not long after, Mr. Ellis found a note under a rock at the pottery stating, “I have this day sold to S.H. Ellis the Marshall Pottery Works, consisting of tools, clay, manufacturing ware, one wagon, two mules…”

Ellis expanded the pottery and put his family to work in the new family business. A fire in 1912 almost destroyed the pottery, and Mr. Ellis was forced for the first time, to borrow $2,000 to rebuild. Canning jars, crocks and syrup jugs were delivered by mule and wagon until 1913 when the first Marshall Pottery truck was bought. Soon thereafter, the invention of the metal syrup bucket and then the glass canning jar in the 1920’s nearly spelled doom for the business. Interestingly enough, according to Sam Ellis’ son, the coming of prohibition saved the pottery. Had it not been for the sale of jugs for moonshine, the Ellis family said, the company might have folded.
With the accidental discovery of a lower firing clay in the 1940’s history was written. The company started producing its second product line, flower pots. The two manufacturing lines are still produced today although both processes have been modernized and updated with new processes and technologies.
One of Marshall Pottery’s early masters was Pete Payne, a potter featured in the Smithsonian Institute. Peter produced handturned pottery beginning in the 1930’s and finally retired in 1985. Just as Pete did for over 50 years, the age-old practice of handturning pottery by master potters can still be seen at Marshall Pottery, being passed down from master potter to apprentice.
In 1974 a retail store was added to the Marshall Pottery family. This 100,000 square feet facility is one of the main tourist destinations in East Texas. The Home D├ęcor, Garden Shop, Floral, Seasonal, Pottery store host over 100,000 people each year.

Marshall Pottery still maintains a strong presence in the pottery manufacturing arena today. With the construction of a new fully automated terra cotta manufacturing facility in 1998 promoted by Deroma Group, Marshall Pottery remains the largest manufacturer of red clay pots in the United States. With a commitment to quality and customer service, the processes are constantly being upgraded. The stoneware production remains much the same as it has been manufactured in the past with the exception of electricity turning the potter’s wheels instead of the potter’s kick. The traditions of manufacturing a MADE IN THE USA stoneware line of pottery continue as a strong force in the overall business plan today.
Keep your eye out for those Marshall pottery pieces....and if you see numbers 1 or 4, let me know, so I can complete her collection.

Marshall Pottery
4901 Elysian Fields
Marshall, Texas 75672
Please call (903)-938-9201 for tour information


Mari said...

That was really interesting! It gives me a new respect for those crocks. I have one sitting in my family room downstairs, it's probably not a Marshall but now I have to check!

Blondie's Journal said...

To think it all started with Mr. Ellis!! What an incredible story, Leigh!!

Wonderful post!!

Thanks so much for visiting with your sweet and heartfelt comments. You are the best!!


Bama Belle said...

Thinking of you today!

nancygrayce said...

I love those crocks and will now be on the lookout for them! Lately I don't seem to get to our local antique/junk stores so I'll have to make a trip! Thanks!

Jane said...

I enjoyed reading the history of Marshall Pottery. It's nice to see a business not only survive but also thrive for so many years. I'll keep my eyes open for #1 and #4. Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday and for your nice comments. Much appreciated!

Shelia said...

I've always loved these old crocks, but don't have any. Enjoyed reading about them.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Joyce said...

So glad they are made here in the good old USA!

imjacobsmom said...

Hi Leigh, How interesting. We have the Red Wing Crocks in our part of the country. I was just looking at them at our local antique markets while on vacation. My brother has a large 25 gallon with a wooden lid that he uses as an end table in his family room. It looks so cute. I'm hoping to visit Red Wing, Minnesota again this summer and I understand you can tour the Red Wing facilities where the crocks are still being manufactured. Also, Red Wing is the home of Red Wing workboots, too. ~ Robyn

KBeau said...

When we lived in Texarkana, Marshall was not that far away. Used to see lots of Marshall Pottery around. I'll keep an eye out for your two pieces.

Dawn said...

Love the info about the crocks Leigh. We have several from a local place, California Pottery, Merced plant, that closed in the 20's or 30's. Who knew such a simple, and heavy! everyday item would make such great collectibles.

Had a Bloggeritaville moment in today's luau post if you want to check it out. Might want to wait till after 5:00, but then again, it's 5:00 somehwere!

Kirby3131 said...

Being a lover of pottery, this post was right up my alley. What a great story! I can only imagine how much money $200 was for a blacksmith and to loan it to the potter - wow. Then instead of being paid back he was given the business! Talk about a career change!

Prohibition helped the potter, how funny.

Thanks so much Leigh!

Bre said...

Thanks for the story on Marshall Crocks. My grandmother from Louisiana gave us her Marshall Crock that she received from her mother. They made Sauerkraut in it and tonight my husband and I chopped up 10 heads of cabbage from our garden and used this heirloom crock to try our hand at making sauerkraut. It is cool to think we are the fourth generation using this #6 crock. Bre

Kelly K said...

I grew up in East Texas and still shop at Marshall Pottery today. It's a huge store with great pottery and great prices! Great to see an American Company such as this!

Demeter said...

Hi! Great article. I have a No. 6 crock if you'd be interested. Let me know.
Again, thanks for a great article.

Anonymous said...

I have a #4 in really good condition...Im in Tulsa Ok. You can contact me at: Thank you, Dean

Jennifer Herrera said...

I too have a crock I am interested in selling if anyone is interested. It is a No. 8, Marshall Pottery. I am in California, Bay Area. Email me if interested