Red Wing Potteries by the Numbers (Numbers have been completed)
Redwing images and values
B Series images and values
Red Wing Pottery According to papers on file at the Minnesota Historical Society, 1878 dates the beginning of the Red Wing Stoneware Company, forerunner of Red Wing Potteries, Inc. As a Red Wing citizen group organized and incorporated to manufacture stoneware the assets of Hallem Pottery were bought and Hallem helped to make their first molds and kilns.
The company soon become very successful and in 1883 the Minnesota Stoneware Co was built across the street. Both companies prospered until a third company was formed. The North Star Stoneware built in the immediate vicinity. To meet this competition Red Wing and Minnesota Potteries joined forces as a single selling agency called The Red Wing Union Stoneware Company working together until the North Star Company ceased operations in 1897.
As with most early potteries the Minnesota POttery burned to the ground in February of 1900 and the Red Wing Stoneware Company met the same fate nine months later. Both companies were rebuilt and porpsered until they merged in 1906 as one company. Quality stoneware including crocks, milk pans, butter jars, water coolers, bean pots, apittoons, churns, chamber pots, bed warmers and other pieces were produced from local clays. Farmers from the Northwest were the biggest customers with crocks and jugs being bought for winter food storage.
Skilled potterymakers were brought from Ohio and Illinois where they had learned the trade from their fathers. All early pottery was hand turned with the exception of the milk pans. The outside of early stoneware was given a salt glaze resulting in a light tannish gray granular surface. This glaze has not been used in over fifty years. Numerals were placed on the jars along with each man's individaul mark.. These early pieces are highly sought after.
Sometimes a potter would creat a special stoneware creation or decoration. The most famous of these is the Michigan-Minnesota football trophy The little brown jug. Every year since 1903 the winner of the university game carried the water jug back to its campus as a victory symbol.
Stoneware for the rural market began to taper off during the 20s as the farms became smaller and the people moved to the urban areas. After this period the company started to branch out into other areas of pottery making including flowerpots for green houses which was the companys first attempt at art pottery. The pieces wree decorated with flowers, leaves cattails and cranes colored with a brushed green stain over a tan background. Finally the line was expanded to to include cookie jars, fruit bowls, planters, jardinieres, candlesticks and other pieces.
The period between 1930 and 1933 Red wing Produced pottery marked Rum Rill a tradmark of a local selling agency that marketed the product. These pieces have become collectible in recent years. Later in the 30s another market emerged which was dinnerware. Since the clay in the local area had to many impurities clay was imported from Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina dn Georgia.
In 1936 the name of the pottery was changed to Red Wing Potteries, Inc from Red Wing Union Stoneware Co since there was little stoneware being manufactured. Finally all stoneware manufacture was ceased by the company in 1947.Dinnerware was produced in solid colors and later hand painting was added to the lines.
Red Wing Pottery was prosperous during the 20s through the 40s but starting in the 50s imports began cutting in on their markets and the lack of a modern physical plant slowed down the progress of the company even more. The final blow came to the Red Wing Pottery in 1967 when the employees went on strike for higher wages and the company was unable to meet their demands forcing the plant to finally close.
Red Wing pottery was marked at each period of its history designated by the name of the company at the time. From 1878 to 1892 pottery was marked Red Wing Stoneware Co. From 1892 to 1936 Red Wing Union Stoneware was used. The final company name was The Red Wing Pottery Co. at the close of the plant in 1967. Not all of the pieces were marked and many different marks were used each period of time.
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