Red Wing Pottery
Stoneware at the 2002 Wisconsin Pottery Show & Sale - The Red Wing Legacy
Although Red Wing's clay industry began as early as 1855 with brickmaking, the town's first make of jugs, crocks and jars was active in 1861. He was a German immigrant named John Paul (sometimes erroneously referred to as Joseph Pohl).
By 1868 a pottery had been built by the town's mayor, Francis F. Philleo. Philleo made crocks and churns that were lead-glazed or unglazed. In 1870 his factory burnt and was rebuilt. The firm was called Philleo and Williams and it began to specialize in terra cotta ware. In 1871 Philleo took on partners and the firm became Philleo & Sprague, although it was generally known as the Red Wing Terra Cotta Works. The business was moved to St. Paul in 1880.
In about 1872 English potter David Hallum landed in Red Wing via Ohio. He worked for Philleo initially, but by 1875 he had formed a business with partners that ins generally referred to as the Minnesota Pottery. By 1877 Hallum sold his interest in the company to the newly formed Red Wing Stoneware Company, an organization funded by local businessmen for the purpose of large-scale stoneware manufacture. The venture was very successful, so much so in fact that a second firm was begun in 1883 by many of the same investors. That firm was the Minnesota Stoneware Company.
In 1892 a third company was formed: The North Star Stoneware Company. In 1894 all three companies organized the Union Stoneware Company to act as their single sales representative. In 1896, North Star was absorbed by the other companies, which in turn merged in 1906 to form a single entity, Red Wing Union Stoneware.
Up until the mid 1890s, decorated salt glaze ware was the predominant product. Technological advances in the 1890s allowed for a white zinc-based glaze and rubber stamp decorations, resulting in a more uniform product. The familiar red wing logo dates from this period.
Turn-of-the-century production at Red Wing became diversified. By 1900 Red Wing was making spittoons, umbrella holders, jardinières and garden ware. And, like other stoneware makers, the art pottery craze of the late 19th century led Red Wing to make its first true art ware.
WPA Exhibit Related Pages:
Overview of 2002 WPA Exhibit
- The Red Wing Legacy