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Red Wing Stoneware History

The stoneware of Red Wing Minnesota goes back to the 1860's when potters from Germany immigrated and settled on the banks of the Mississippi River and started making pottery from the clay of the rich riverbed. The Red Wing Stoneware Company began in 1877. Soon after in 1883 the Minnesota Stoneware Company fired up its kilns and the competition was on!

The NorthStar Stoneware Co. started in 1892, and between these three companies made some of the finest salt glazed water coolers, butter churns, and crocks ever made. From beautiful hand drawn cobalt decorations of birds sitting on a branch, to the eye appealing look of the leaf, daisy, and the butterfly design, all are excellent examples of early American primitive stoneware and are highly prized by collectors.
They also made a variety of other items such as jugs, mixing bowls, bean pots, spittoons, preserve jars, wax sealers, snuff jars, pipkins, and much more, about any type of utilitarian ware needed for the home, farm or industry.

The Union Stoneware Company started in 1894 and was a combination of the three stoneware companies for economic reasons, but each kept their own identity. The North Star Co. was phased out in 1896 after a 4 year run.

In 1906 Red Wing Stoneware and Minnesota Stoneware Co. combined, forming one new company who would live on for the next 30 years and it was named the Red Wing Union Stoneware Company. The salt glaze pieces were pretty much phased out by the turn of the century and replaced by the bristol glaze producing the designs of the Birchleaf, Elephant Ear, and the "Red Wing".

The Red Wing Union Stoneware Co. produced many different types of utilitarian stoneware during these years including jugs, umbrella stands, crocks, butterchurns, water coolers, bowls, pitchers, pantry jars and the hard to find, one of a kind "Lunch Hour Pieces".They also made advertising pieces for numerous companies from several states (mostly the midwest) and put them on many different wares such as Cherryband pitchers, mini jugs, Spongeware bowls, Chicken Feeders, and Nappie bowls, just to name a few.

As America went more urban than rural the time for change came again and in 1936 Red Wing Union Stoneware Co. was changed to Red Wing Potteries. They strived to stay competitive with other potteries such as the Watt Pottery Co. and the Western Stoneware Co. among others.

They started making a variety of new items such as several lines of art pottery, lamps, vases, and wide variety of dinnerware patterns, some include Bob White, Round Up, Tampico, and many many more. By the late 1960's the demand for stoneware and pottery items had declined and combined with a long Union strike, in 1967 the Red Wing Pottery Company was forced to close it's doors.

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