RED WING POTTERY
Vol. 1 Issue 11
Redwing, Minnesota has a long history of pottery. It was the self-proclaimed pottery capital of America. It had several small pottery factories. The first large pottery plant was the Red Wing Stoneware Company, which began in 1877. Like most ceramics/pottery factories of that time, fires were a great threat and usually occurred. Red Wing Stoneware was no exception. A fire occurred in the 1880's but a bigger and better plant was built.
In 1883, the Minnesota Stoneware Company began. Then, in 1892, another stoneware company, North Star, was formed. Until then, the two first stoneware plants were able to survive. But, the last one was one too many for the area to absorb. In 1894 the three stoneware companies joined forces and became the Union Stoneware Co. Although they joined forces, they retained their individual names under Union Stoneware Co. In 1896, North Star was closed. In 1906 Red Wing Pottery and Minnesota Stoneware Co. merged and became Red Wing Union Stoneware Company.
As the world changed and refrigeration was being used, so did the products needed. Red Wing began making decorative and functional Art Pottery. It produced Art Pottery from 1929 - 1967. The company closed its doors in 1967.
The first line of Art Pottery consisted of a rough, rustic finish in greens and light browns on the outside and a glossy green on the inside. It was decorated with geometric designs and featured women, birds, leaves, and animals. In 1929 it began producing pottery with colorful, smooth glazes. Red Wing was known for producing pieces with one glaze on the inside and another on the outside.
Red Wing began producing their dinnerware line in 1935. In the beginning, the patterns were bright, solid colors. Eventually, patterns included hand painted and stencils. At one time, Red Wing produced pieces for the Bauer Company while Bauer was experiencing difficulties. Therefore, you may see some Bauer pieces that are very similar to Red Wing due to the glazes used.
In 1936, the name was permanently changed to Red Wing Potteries, Inc. Red Wing also produced lamps and cookie jars, in addition to figurines. George RumRill's Athenian Nudes from the 1930's is one of the more notable lines. The Magnolia and Pompeiian lines from the 40's, Belle Kogan's Tropica Line from the 1950's, her Prismatique line from the 1960's and Charles Murphy's "footed" bowls from the 1950's were also some of the more notable lines. Some of the collectible glazes include: Nakomis Glaze, Scarlet and Bay, and Crackle Turquoise with Bronze lining.
In 1968, the final president of Red Wing Potteries, Inc. decided to take a chance on Red Wing once again. He purchased one of the outlet stores along with the remaining inventory. He was not allowed to use the Red Wing name until the inventory was liquidated. Therefore, in 1968, he formed "Remnicha, Inc.", which means red wing in one of the native-american languages. Then, in 1970 he renamed the company Red Wing Pottery Sales, Inc.
In 1986, Red Wing Stoneware was formed. An accomplished potter, John Falconer makes replicas of some of the old Red Wing designs, as well as some new products. Then, in 1996, Scott Gilmer, grandson of Robert A. Gilmer, started Red Wing Potteries, Inc., which makes new salt glaze pottery products in the old way.
Red Wing had many marks throughout its history. Most included the name "Red Wing" as part of the mark. Some included the names of Minnesota Stoneware and Union Stoneware Co.; while some of them merely had the initials "RWSW Co.". There is also the all too familiar "wing" mark. The marks could be found to be either impressed or embossed and the "wing" was stamped.
For more information on Red Wing Potteries marksClick Here
To view some of the vast patterns of Red Wing Dinnerware Click Here
And, for some very interesting information about Red Wing Artware Click Here
"Official Price Guide to Pottery and Porcelain" - 8th Edition - Harvey Duke
"Red Wing Collectibles" - Dan & Gail DePasquale and Larry Peterson
Red Wing Collectors Society, Inc.
Red Wing Gallery website
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