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ARCHIVES



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FRANKOMA POTTERY

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Vol. 1 Issue 12



Fall LeafFall Leaf

Frankoma Pottery was founded by John Frank. He established the Ceramics Department for the University Of Oklahoma in 1927. While he was still working there, he founded Frank Potteries in Norman, Oklahoma in 1933. He used the clay he found in Ada, Oklahoma. The clay came from a deposit in the Arbuckle Mountains near Ada; hence the name Ada clay. It was light tan and was easy to indentify.

In 1934, the name of Frank Potteries was changed to Frankoma Potteries. It was decided that a combination of the founder's name, Frank, and Oklahoma would be used, due to the fact that it was the only commercial pottery in Oklahoma.

John Frank resigned from the University in 1936 and began to work full time at the factory. In 1938, Frankoma Potteries was moved to Sapulpa and was again renamed to Frankoma Pottery. The new factory was built by Grace Lee Frank's carpentar father. Grace Lee was the wife of John Frank.

In 1953, a new red clay had been found near Sugar Loaf Hill, near Sepulpa. By 1954, the transition from Ada clay to the new red clay was completed. During the 1980's, an additive was used to strengthen the clay and caused it to have a pink tinge.

The company produced decorative figurals and vases marked with a leopard as the Frankoma mark from 1936-1938. It was known as the Pot and Puma logo. Pieces with this mark are highly sought after by collectors.

In 1938, the entire plant was destroyed by fire, including most of the master molds. Undaunted by the fire, the Franks did rebuild even after many obstacles that crossed their path.

The Southwestern dinnerware was created and introduced in 1942. The signature line being Wagon Wheel. In 1947, the Mayan-Aztec line was introduced. Later, many other lines were introduced, such as; Oklahoma Plainsmen, Lazybones, and Westwind. Colors were added to represent the flavor of the Southwestern themes. They were: Prairie Green, Desert Gold, White Sand, and Onyx Black. Later on, new colors were also added, including Woodland Moss, Brown Satin, Peach Glow, Coffee, Clay Blue, Red Bud, Turquoise, Sunflower Yellow, Robin Egg Blue, and many others.

In 1971, John Frank was honored with the Outstanding Small Businessman in Oklahoma and the Outstanding Small Businessman in America awards. These awards were an outgrowth of his many humanitarian deeds by donating his time by speaking to thousands of young people and adults and gifts to churches, service organizations, people in need, and assisting young people to finish their education.

John Frank died in 1973. His daughter, Joniece became President and CEO of Frankoma Pottery for eighteen years. During the company's peak success, in 1983, Frankoma Pottery was again destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt, but never totally recovered financially. It was sold in 1991 to a Maryland investor. In doing so, it ended the family-owned era of Frankoma Pottery. In 1996, John Frank's wife, Grace Lee Frank,died.


COLORS

1930's---Blue Gray Jade, Cherokee Red, Desert Gold, Dove Grey, Fawn Brown, Gunmetal, Ivory, Jade Green, Old Gold, Onyx Black, Osage Brown, Pompeian Bronze, Prairie Green, Royal Blue, Verde Green

1940's---Dusty Rose, Peacock Blue, Red Bud, Sky Blue, Silver Sage, White Sand

1950's---Brown Satin, Buckskin Tan, Clay Blue, Saddle Brown, Sorghum Brown, Terra Cotta Rose, Turquoise

1960's---Flame, Peach Glow, Woodland Moss

1970's---Autumn Yellow, Blue, Coffee, Flat Black, Freedom Red, Robin Egg Blue, Rubbed Bisque

1980's---Country Blue Mountain Haze, Navy, Olive Green, Peach, Terra Cotta, Wisteria

1990's---Bone, Cabernet, Cobalt, Forest, Mauve, Plum, Teal

For a more detailed description and dates of the colors: Click Here!

As of 8/23/2000, a notice had been made by Frankoma Pottery that Prairie Green and Desert Gold was to be discontinued. This is a small excerpt from the notice:

"We regret to inform you that Frankoma will no longer be producing Prairie Green/Desert Gold glazes. We are unable to obtain the raw materials necessary to produce the quality product you have come to know as being synonymous with Frankoma Pottery. Therefore, we have elected to discontinue these glazes at this time.........Kandy Steeples Retail Operations Manager"


MARKS

Most Frankoma pieces are marked and are easy to identify.

1933-1935----Frankoma marked in black ink; the letter "o" was a small circle.

1936-1939----Marked with an incised puma with Frankoma in capital letters, along with the 1933-1935 mark.

1940's-------Incised with Frankoma with an oblong "o".

1950's-------A larger Frankoma marking was incised.

After the 1950's--Mold Markings were used.

The Frankoma Family Collectors Association website is an excellent site to visit in order to get values of your Frankoma pieces, as well as history, purchasing pieces, and links to other excellent sites. See "References" for the link to this excellent website.


REFERENCES:

Frankoma Family Collectors Association
Andale Community News
"Official Price Guide to Pottery and
Porcelain" - 8th Edition - Harvey Duke
"Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide"



Next month's subject will be on Brockway Glass!



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