Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gonder yonder...

You knew I had to do that title pun...sorry...but this week I am going to give you some insight into a pottery company that does not get much attention even though it was one of the Ohio art potteries that made fine ceramic wares. I never have many pieces in the fact, I only have 2 in stock now. It is just not a common pottery, yet its being rare does not command the prices of the other Ohio potteries like Roseville, McCoy, or even Robinson Ransbottom.

Lawton Gonder's parents had worked for Weller Pottery, and he began his career in ceramics when he was a teenager running molds and casting parts.

In 1915 Lawton went to work at American Encaustic Tiling Co., where he stayed for 11 years. He moved to Florida, then on to manage a New Jersey plant for American Encaustic Tile (always amazes me at how many people pass through NJ on their life journeys). There Gonder supervised the production of the first tiles guaranteed to not craze.

In 1936 Gonder moved out of the tile business, becoming manager of the Florence Pottery, but, when fire destroyed Florence Pottery in 1942, it opened the door to establish his own pottery company. Superior glazes were introduced, notably 25K gold crackle, Chinese crackle, glazes in celadon, blue and ming yellow and flambe effects.
When you see the pottery in person, you can tell the difference in the glazing techniques compared to McCoy or Shawnee. The factory closed in 1957, and, although I do not know why, I would imagine it was a victim of the post WWII imports.

From 1946 to 1954, Gonder also operated the Elgee Pottery (Lawton Gonder used his initials LG to create the name), which made ceramic lamp bases until a fire destroyed the plant in 1959.

So, on your travels, you may want to keep an eye out for this company. Although it existed for only 15 years, it is another piece of the American pottery puzzle that needs to be filled in on the board.

7 comments: said...

Thank you so much, I love pottery. They sure don't have a very easy life. I would be proud to own one of gonders pieces.

Patricia said...

I never heard of this one! I love learning something from you every week. Thanks,
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings

Noelle Garrett Designs said...

Hi Susan,
I haven't heard of this one before. Informative as always. I just love your posts. I have to say, I'm like you. I too prefer my Christmas in November. It is so hard to get the "spirit" in 100 degree weather. lol

Anonymous said...

Gonder truly did produce some lovely and beautiful pieces! It is a little harder to find, but well worth the search.

Unknown said...

Hi my name is Angie and when I was reading your blog about pottery from Ohio I was wondering do you have any information about Ruckel crocks this is my last name and my husbands dad's family are from Ohio. We have bought a few but I am always interested in any history. Becouse of divorce and now his Dad has died we find it hard to trace.
I was just courious and I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hello Susan,

Thank you for promoting Gonder Ceramic Art Pottery! I have over 350 pieces in my collection and still do not have them all. If you or anyone else are interested, I have a Yahoo Group on Gonder, free to join. You can get there at;

Thanks again!

SpyderHawke said...

Hi! I happened across your blog while doing research for another Ohio potter, John Herold, and was hoping you could let me if you knew of the relationship between Lawton and John. I have found it mentioned elsewhere but have not gotten a response from them Thanks!