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Louisville Stoneware

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Louisville Stoneware © Barb Crews

Two Centuries Old:

Not too many companies in the United States can boast about being two hundred years old, but Louisville Stoneware can do just that.

The Kentucky business was started in 1815 when three friends had individual companies, but shared the equipment needed to produce their pottery. In 1815 they decided to form one company -- The J.B. Taylor Company.

The company's main product and business was salt-glazed food storage crocks. Salt-glaze was used to help preserve the foods.

John Taylor purchased the company in 1938 and at that time the company started producing dinnerware products. At one point in time MA Hadley was said to have worked for Taylor before starting her own company, M.A. Hadley

Taylor sold the company in 1970 and it has since changed hands three times.

The current owners have been in place since 2007 and "the business is doing better than ever."

Clays:

At this time two clays are combined for the stoneware -- from Indiana and Kentucky. The company spokesman mentioned that the Indiana clay will soon be phased out and it will be an all Kentucky product.

It's been said that no fewer than twenty craftsmen will touch (and work on) each piece of pottery during the process of being created.

Where to Purchase:

Although Louisville Stoneware is available in some stores across the country and most of the stores selling Louisville Stoneware are located in the state of Kentucky where the company is located. But it's the Internet and the factory store where most of the sales take place.

Visit the Store and the Factory:

In Kentucky? Take a tour!

The company offers very popular tours that shows their stoneware being made from the very beginning to the end product. The tours are at the downtown location at 731 Brent Street. Check the website for hours and admission costs.

The company also offers a special factory tour that includes painting your own piece of pottery.

What They Make:

The company makes just about everything imaginable for use in the home and many of the items can be personalized for gift-giving occasions.

Items include: children's dinnerware sets, mugs, plates, door plaques, flower pots, tiles, birdhouses (love these!), bakeware and serving pieces. A small selection of holiday items are available and even a piece made specifically for a pet urn.

A large portion of their business is custom orders which includes the Kentucky Derby, plus the awards; Pillsbury; Kentucky Fried Chicken; Papa John's, UPS and the Texas Roadhouse.

If you like advertising banks, be sure to check the UPS ones, they're terrific.

Cookie Jars, of Course!:

I became acquainted with Louisville Stoneware when I saw some very unusual cookie jars. Known as the Precious Peepers these jars were like nothing I had ever seen at the time, at least in the commercially produced sector. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with a boy and girl jars were very handmade and artistic looking. The jars sold for between $70. - $90 each and I've always regretted not buying them.

The company has also produced a Night Before Christmas jar which was a house with Santa on the outside, very large and ornate; and of course the Kentucky Friend Chicken jar shown on this page.

At this time Texas Roadhouse restaurant has commissioned them to do an Andy Armadillo cookie jar with 15% proceeds benefitting their charity, Andy's Outreach Fund.

Cons:

The one problem I have with the website are the sizes or lack of size mentioned in descriptions. The descriptions are a little too sparse for someone buying online that has not had a chance to see something in person. For instance, there is a great looking corn bowl that would be wonderful for Thanksgiving, but no mention whatsoever on how big it actually is. At least not where I can find it. The same thing with the Turkey platter -- great looking, but just how big is it?

Bottom Line:

If you're looking for quality, American-made pottery, then Louisville Stoneware is a company to check out. Their designs and products cover a wide range of tastes, including rustic, simple and classic designs in the dinnerware lines. A few remind me of the Blue Ridge designs, there are at least a few plates that would fit in perfectly with my Polish pottery pieces and the Proof dinnerware just might have me tossing away the Fiesta. Maybe.

Not convinced? Check out eBay's Louisville Stoneware listings. There were more than a few vintage pieces that are unusual and I would love to have. The Louisville Stoneware pottery in my collection has all been exceptionally well-done, heavy and sturdy.

The only regret I have about the pottery is not buying several of the pieces when they were available at the issue price.

So, does anyone have a Precious Peepers Santa for me?

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