Ohio River Pottery: Pope-Gosser China

In the early twentieth century, Mr. Wells the president of Homer Laughlin China Company appeared before a Congressional Committee on tariffs to plead the case of American Potteries. He argued that foreign wares, particularly German and Japanese imports, were given an unfair advantage in the current laws governing tariffs. One of the committee members questioned whether or not quality china was produced in the United States. Mr. Wells gave two examples, first he spoke about Sebring Pottery and then he produced examples produced by Pope-Gosser Company. He confessed that Pope-Gosser produced very little of the beautiful china except for their reputation. Most of the white ware then produced was a much lower quality because of the price competition.

Pope-Gosser soon found success – and they found this success by producing fine china. Fifty- five years later, Pope-Gosser closed its doors. The irony is that once again, Mr. Wells from Homer Laughlin, his grandson appeared before a congressional committee arguing against the new tariffs that favored trade with Japan. This time, many of the old potteries closed their doors.

I must admit that it is rare that I am drawn to “fancy wares.” But the color of Spring by Pope-Gosser is a real head turner . . . and I love the way it mixes with the more modern look of Russel Wright American Modern and the even more traditional Haviland Limoges. Two potteries from Steubenville; two potteries that closed their doors in the mid-century. It seems natural and right that they should look great together.

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Isn’t this how life should be lived in a china cabinet. Gathered over time . . . appreciated for difference? Maybe even appropriate of different moods? Collecting the new without throwing out the old? Or are they strange bedfellows? I really would like to know what you think.

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