Ah, Labor Day! The farewell weekend to summer even though temperatures may betray summer's demise in this new climate of ours. Anyway, for us "down the shore", it is a time to slow down, to reflect, to take a deep breath.
We do need to thank all of our new customers...to relish our returning customers...we loved sharing your happiness...your sadness...your friendship...because we hope we have a business that makes you feel good because you stepped inside. And, yes, we love that you appreciate our atmosphere (men included), "It smells good in here," and "I love the music-it is so relaxing." We get a kick out of your giggling over buttons and magnets. We are not big...we are not multi-booths...we are just 800 square feet of "stuff", and we certainly have heard the line, "You have so much stuff!" Yepper, stores do, but our shelves actually make you stop and think!
The small individually owned shop is not common in this new world of big boxes and co-ops. Big and little cities with downtown areas are probably the last vestiges of those unique boutiques, but we are fortunate to live next to the store so we can maintain individuality and creativity because we are the store.
So, that is why when someone comes in the shop and says, "I have 3 boxes of McCoy," I can say, "Yea!" and price it to sell. And, here are some of the pieces out of that stash!
McCoy represents American labor when it was the only way to produce. Nelson McCoy and his father found five stockholders in 1910 to establish the Nelson McCoy Sanitary and Stoneware Company in Roseville, Ohio. They produced utilitarian stoneware until 1918 when they joined with eleven other stoneware potteries to form the American Clay Products Company.
According to my research, all of the member potteries produced stoneware to be marketed by the new company. The ACPC designed sales catalogs of the wares that were produced, which purposely had no trademark, and had salesmen to advertise and take orders. The pottery orders received by the company were shared among the different potteries based on production capability, and the revenue received was proportionally distributed. It worked until 1926 when the ACPC was liquidated because demand for utilitarian pottery was diminishing, and the companies had to compete against each other. This is a piece of the utility stoneware. Shape and style are anything but utilitarian.
In order to re-establish its own identity, and also to reflect the changing times, the Nelson McCoy Sanitary and Stoneware Co., by 1929, had changed its name to the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co. Additionally, it was around this time that the company began the practice of marking its wares.
No evidence has been found that the company had ever marked any of its wares prior to this time. In 1933, in response to a further decreased demand for food and sanitary wares, and an increased demand for decorative pieces, the name of the pottery was changed again. The pottery became simply, the Nelson McCoy Pottery Co. Here are some pieces from their production lines. This is an early decorative piece...simple...small...
The collection has some little pieces I have not seen outside the books...
And there is more...I am working in identifying it...I hate tags that just say McCoy...and a price...that teacher gene is me is strong...here's your research not just here's your sign!
Nelson McCoy, Sr., Nelson Melick, and later Nelson McCoy, Jr. operated the pottery for 57 years until it was sold in 1967 to the owners of the Mt. Clemens Pottery Co. although Nelson McCoy, Jr., remained as president of the pottery. Name companies today where the children carry on the production. Of course, we have to find American companies before we go looking for heirs!
After about seven years of operation the Lancaster Colony Corporation purchased the pottery in 1974. In 1981 Nelson McCoy, Jr., retired, and in 1985 Designer Accents of New Jersey bought it along with Holiday Designs and Sunstone Pottery, but they closed in 1990 and the pottery offices burned down in 1991.
So, in honor of Labor Day, consider the American worker...the product that is--or was--made in America...the artist who is crafting something special for you...the small retailer who does not have bank accounts in the Caymans. Above all, remember, as Confucius says (and he did!), “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”