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Lawton Gonder was born August 27, 1900 in Zanesville. He was meant to be in
ceramics from his early childhood. He was influenced by his parents, who worked
for Weller, and a family friend and noted ceramic authority, John Herold.
At the early age of 13, Gonder began working for John Herold at the Ohio Pottery Company running molds and casting handles and spouts for teapots.
On December 8, 1941 Gonder purchased the Zane Pottery Company plant from Mrs. Mabel Hall McClelland in South Zanesville. Thus, the beginning of Gonder's career in making high quality art pottery.
Some of the early pieces of Gonder molds resemble RumRill designs that had been manufactured at the Florence Pottery. Since some of the RumRill pieces have been found with similar and sometimes identical, shapes, matching mold numbers, and glazes, it is possible that some RumRill was produced at the Gonder plant.
During his 15 years at the Zanesville plant, Gonder produced several commercial glazes. One was the flambe' glaze. It resembles red flames with streaks of yellow throughout the piece. Another of his creations was "gold crackle". It had never been done successfully before. Finally was a popular commercial line of Chinese crackle glaze pieces which were reproductions of pottery he had acquired from a Chinese museum. One company's advertisement was "Never before had it been possible to obtain distinct characteristics in Chinese styling at moderate prices."
Due to the great demand of pottery during World War II, production could not be met at the South Zanesville plant.
In 1946, Gonder purchased an old lumber company mill, Drake Lumber Company. Two and three story additions were built for the exclusive manufacture of lamp bases. The name of the plant was Elgee Pottery, which was Lawton Gonder's first two initials in his name(L.G.). Unfortunately, Elgee Pottery was destroyed by a fire on May 5, 1954 and was sold to the Allied Tile Company in 1957.
All Gonder pieces are marked with the company name and mold number. The marks include "Gonder U.S.A." in block letters, "Gonder" in script, "Gonder Original" in script, and "Gonder Ceramic Art" in block letters. Paper labels were also used.
To view examples of Gonder Ceramic Arts:
The Zanesville Times Recorder
Warman's Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide-32nd Edition
Kovel's Antiques & Collectibles Price List 2003
Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide - 18th Edition, 2000
The Next Monthly Newsletter will feature Goofas Glass.
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