Uhl Pottery

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wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:30:14

Uhl Pottery refers to a collection of items produced by the Uhl Pottery Company. Originally based in Evansville, Indiana in the late 19th century, the company moved to Huntingburg, Indiana where it operated until closure in the 1940s. Items range from everyday household crocks, jugs, and vessels, to exotic collector miniatures.

Background

In1848 in Lisberg, Germany, Brothers August and Louis Uhl were working at their father's business, primarily making ceramic roofing tiles. The two brothers, both quite young, decided it best they seek out their fortunes in America. Elder brother August decided it best he scout out an area first, and so he set out alone. Initially, August landed in New York and made for Pittsburgh. There, he set forth on the Ohio River on a boat, looking for a prime area. Along the way, August took inventory of the clays of the areas passed, and decided Evansville clay possessed the optimal plasticity for making pottery.

Eventually, Louis followed his brother to America, and the pair founded A. & L. Uhl in Evansville at Ninth and Sycamore streets. The two divided the pottery's day to day tasks evely, and the business prospered.

Initial product lines included jars, vases, jugs, and stone pumps.

After a short period of time, it was decided the Evansville area clay was inferior to the superior quality that the brothers expected. A good fire clay was located in Huntingburg, and after testing it the brothers confirmed the quality. Soon, wagons of Huntingburg clay were sent to Rockport, then down the Ohio River to Evansville for storage.

Wares were made by hand, and the quality of the products grew the business. In 1879, Louis purchased August's interest in the company. Louis' son George joined his father as a partner in the new Louis Uhl & Son Company. George's brother Charles soon purchased his brother's interests, and the Uhl Pottery Company was formed. In 1908, Louis died and the company moved operations to Huntingburg for proximity to the clay deposits. It was on this site that the Uhl Pottery Company produced its famous "Acorn Wares" until the 1940s.

The company persisted through World War I, the Great Depression, and the majority of World War II. In the end, a labour dispute ended the factory, with Louis Uhl making the difficult decision. The factory changed hands to Vogue Pottery, then Louisville Pottery, with neither organization surviving very long.

Jane Uhl

In addition to the more traditional and utilitarian Uhl wares made in Huntingburg, a relatively unknown variant of Uhl Pottery was made by Jane Uhl. Sister of Louis C. Uhl, Jane Uhl spent her time learning the family craft at a young age in Southern Indiana. Inspired by the possibilities of the medium, Jane spent time in England with an artist crafting her own unique style to a future pottery line. Upon her return, Jane was commissioned in 1928 to fill two residences for Birmingham, Alabama businessman Theodore Swann.

What resulted was a pottery style that is perfect for the collecting community. Jane's understanding of pottery basics through the Uhl Pottery Company, combined with her trip to England, resulted in some of the most unique and collectible pieces of antique pottery in America. The stock market crash of 1929 hit Mr. Swann very hard, and the family held onto the bulk of the commissioned pieces until an estate sale in 1986. Today, Jane Uhl pottery occupies a special place alongside the factory-turned pieces made in Southern Indiana.

Collecting information

Since 1985 the Uhl Collectors Society has existed to celebrate the history and quality of the Uhl Pottery Company. Today, there is an annual meeting of the not for profit society in Southern Indiana. This meeting often features items from members' personal collections, along with an annual commemorative, and an auction for rare and hard to find items.

Uhl Pottery Co. started in business in Evansville, Indiana but was moved to Huntingburg, Indiana after finding there a much better quality clay .UHL pottery fired approximately 1000 different items . The manufacturer's presence has extended to vases, wall pockets, beer sets, beer pots, bowl planters, centerbowls, flower pots, grease jar, jars, jam pot, cornucopia, creamer, cookie jar, canisters, consoles, Serving bowls, bookends, compote, cigarette boxes, conch shell, console set, candleholder, bulb bowl, busts, canister set,bookends,lamps, pitchers, jardinieres, incence burners, ashtray, humidors. baskets, powder jars, temple jars, water coolers, pill boxes, lidded boxes, washing pots. The stoneware Tankard Mugs , Trigger Mugs , Luncheon Plates , Dinner Plate , Dessert Plate, Butter Crock, Creamer, Centerpiece Pie, Lg Mixing Bowl, 6 Qt Bowl, Lg Pour Bowl, Heart Chip & Dip, Lg Oval Platter, Muffin Pan, Necessary Plate, Rect Baker, Round Platter, Soup Tureen, Sugar Bowl, Teapot, Utilitarian Pie Pan, Cake Stand, Oval Baker, Basic Soup/Pasta bowl, Antique Pitcher, Chip 'n Dip, Molly Stark Pitcher, Cookie Jar/Bean Pot, American Classic Mug, was produced from the 1850's through the 1940's and was shipped all around the United States and Canada.

Collectors are currently paying top prices for common crocks, jugs and garden/utilitarian ware, Christmas jugs, hand-turned pieces, miniatures & novelty items. Glaze colours of the pottery impact upon value of the pieces. Teal, purple, blue and mauve are currently bringing higher prices with yellow, pumpkin, white, black, and brown/tan slightly less.

Price guide

A Uhl pottery Acorn Ware 5 gallon jug sold for $10 in November 2007 at Burley Auction Group.

A Uhl pottery piggy bank sold for $20 in June 2011 at Purcell Auction Gallery.

7 blue coffee cups sold for $30 in June 2011 at Purcell Auction Gallery.

A Uhl pottery pitcher sold for $100 in June 2007 at Ken's Antiques and Auction.

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