Short History of the Pope-Gosser China Comapny
inNovember 29, 2012 - 8:25am
After recently purchasing a large lot of china and glassware from an estate sale, we brought the three large boxes home to wash and begin inventorying our treasures. I found a covered soup tureen and a matching covered sugar bowl that were marked on the base with a manufacturer’s mark that I was unfamiliar with. Being a person who loves learning and researching, I immediately started looking through reference materials and doing online searches to discover more about the company and my specific pieces. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would quickly share some basic information, here, about the Pope-Gosser China Company of Coshocton, Ohio.
Brief History and Description
In the late 1800's, I. Bentley Pope migrated to the United States from England, where he was a master pottery maker. He settled in Coshocton, Ohio, where he met Charles F. Gosser, a jeweler and President of the Coshocton Board of Trade, a group seeking to foster the development of manufacturing in the area. They joined forces and opened Pope-Gosser China in 1902, with production starting in 1903. Early examples of their work were marked with the Clarus Ware mark. They then used the ‘Pope-Gosser China’ mark until about 1908, when they adopted the Unicorn mark. In 1920, the lettering on the mark was changed again to ‘POPE-GOSSER CHINA’ in all capital letters. Pope-Gosser began including “MADE IN U.S.A.” in the late 1920s through about 1931. It was re-introduced later and continued into the 1940s, when they began using the tureen mark. Finally, in the 1950s the wreath mark came into being, although several others were also used during this decade. If you have a piece, this information will help to date it. Pope-Gosser China began by making their products with European clay, mixing it with kaolin, quartz, and feldspar, before eventually switching to American clay. Their plates and chinaware soon developed a great reputation for largely resisting the signs of age and wear and tear, such as cracking and chipping. Their chinaware is also renowned for its ability to resist crazing, and the company grew to be a well-known international supplier of fine china. Their designs are considered true works of art by many collectors, and several pieces reside in the British Museum even today.
In 1929, around the start of the Great Depression, the company merged with several others to become the American Chinaware Corporation, and the company mark was changed again. After the parent went bankrupt a few years later, the company was reorganized and its lines were streamlined. Though they continued to make fine china, the wares were made less expensively. They also designed lines specifically for distribution in dime stores and hardware stores. Finally, in 1958 the doors were closed for good.
Guide for collectors
The Pope-Gosser China Company’s products have become highly collectable among china connoisseurs, with many of their items being reminiscent of RS Prussia. Replacements.com lists nearly 500 lines/patterns! Early pieces are eagerly sought and are considered quite beautiful and valuable.
Many thanks to The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum of Coshocton, Ohio, for their fine publication, from which much of the above was obtained. This compendium, title “Recollecting Pope-Gosser,” is available for perusal and/or download , online , at : http://www.jhmuseum.org/Complete%20Booklet%20pope%20Gosser.pdf
At over 9MB in size, it is filled with great information and numerous photographs of the beautiful wares from this company. I encourage everyone to take the time to review it, and perhaps you will as quickly become a fan of the Pope-Gosser China Company as I have!
I wish you good hunting!
Written by Jeffrey McGrady
The Majestic Eclectic on Ruby Lane