James Pass attended the United States Potter's Association meeting

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Crockery & Glass Journal

New York, NY, United States
vol. 60, no. 23, p. 15-17,22, col. 1-2,1



DISTINGUISHED by a gathering of representative American manufacturing potters, notable alike for their numbers and enthusiasm, the twenty-sixth annual session of the United States Potters' Association convened on Tuesday, the 6th, at the Hotel Raleigh, in Washington, D.C.

Those who responded to the roll-call were John N. Taylor and Joseph G. Lee, Knowles Taylor & Knowles Co; WE Wells, L I Aaron and C I Aaron, Homer Laughlin China Co; N A Frederick and John J Purinton, East Liverpool Potteries Co; H A Keffer, Sevres China Co; T H McNicol, Potters Co-Operative Co; John S Goodwin, Goodwin Pottery Co; W L Smith and D E McNicol, D E McNicol Pottery Co; W L Taylor and Homer Taylor, Taylor, Smith & Taylor Co; Edwin M Knowles, Edwin M Knowles China Co; J T Smith and V Q Hickman, Smith-Phillips Co; Oliver Vodrey, Vodrey Pottery Co; H P Knoblock, Colonial Co; JohnT Cartwright, Cartwright Bros Pottery Co; Joseph Mayer, Mayer Pottery Co; R H Kent, Summit China Co; George C Murphy, Barberton Pottery Co; Thomas Carr, Warwick China Co; H D Wintringer, Steubenville Pottery Co; E AJ Owen, Owen China Co; H E Thompson, American China Co; D T McCarron, Shenango China Co; Daniel Willets, Willets Mfg Co; Chas Howell Cook, Cook Pottery Co; Harry s Maddock, Thomas Maddock & Sons Co; Samuel D Oliphant and John G Muirhead, Bellmark Pottery Co; Joseph R Deacon, Anchor Pottery; Henry W Comfort and A G Dale, International Pottery Co; John M Pope, Mercer Pottery Co; William Burgess, Edwin Bennett and Henry Brunt, Edwin Bennett Pottery Co; William T Morris, Maryland Pottery Co; John M Pope, Mercer Pottery; F R Haynes, D F Haynes & Sons; L H Bown, Buffalo Pottery; James Pass, Onondaga Pottery Co, Syracuse, N Y; W G Titus, Trenton Potteries Co.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS — Daniel Taylor, New York city; John M Manor, The Golding & Sons Co; Rudolf Gaertner, New York city; B F Drakenfeld and C Nick Muessig, J Marsching & Co; R S Miller, Palm, Fechteler & Co; H L Harris, Pacific Borax Co; Edwin M Knowles, Potters' Supply Co; J Harry Worth, Pacific Feldspar Co; Edward Worth, Brandywine Summit Kaolin and Feldspar Co; John D. McGlinchey, George Knowles & sons, East Liverpool; H M Preston, National Lead and Oil Co; Pittsburgh.

PRESS — J G Kauffman, China, Glass and Lamps; Thos F Waldron, CROCKERY AND GLASS JOURNAL; H S Porter, Glass and Pottery World; E B Johns, East Liverpool Review.

The Convention was opened by President Lee, who said:

Gentlemen of the Convention: — It is with satisfaction and pleasure that I greet you at the opening of this the twenty-sixth convention of the United States Potters' Association. As I look down along the line of those who have preceded me in the presidential chair, leaders of our great industry, many of whose faces we see only in memory and whose advice and counsel we so greatly miss at such gatherings, I realize more fully the great honor you have conferred upon me by twice electing me as president of this great organization.

From a comparatively small beginning in 1875 our association has grown gradually and steadily, year by year, until we now number among our members manufacturers of china and pottery ware and others associated in the preparation of our materials, having plants and employing much labor, in a large portion of the States of this country.

There is perhaps no industry in our land which uses the amount of labor in proportion to the total cost of a product, as does the pottery industry, nor does any industry use so cheap a natural product in the manufacture of its wares. We use the very clay from under our feet, to be formed and fashioned into things of use and beauty, unexcelled by any of the industrial arts. The clay in its natural bed is worth from twenty-five to fifty cents per ton, but in its prepared state, separated and cleaned for the potter's use, is worth from $9 to $14 per ton, including freight. By far the greater part of both preparation and delivery charges are for labor.

The material thus prepared, when formed and fashioned by the hands of the potter, burned and decorated by the artisan and artist; is enhanced in value; ranging from the cheapest grades of pottery, to amounts almost beyond estimation, where the value of the base material sinks into absolute insignificance, as for example, where the value of one dozen plates of exquisite workmanship is $1, the value of the material (excepting the gold) would be about five cents at the prepared material value, or at the value in the ground, would be 5/2000 of 50 cents.

The history of our industry also proves the value to the American people of the fostering care of the protective tariff; without being excessive it has enabled the industry to get a foothold and has developed the productions of ware equal to the best foreign makes, and, so far as the goods for the masses are concerned, has reduced the cost to more than one-half of their former selling price. For these very reasons, an interest has been manifested toward our industry on the part of many of the great men, men of national renown, which fact has been a marvel, to many.

Why should there be any mystery about this interest on the part of our legislators? An industry touching the commercial interest, to a greater or less degree, of at least eighteen States of the Union, using large quantities of crude materials from the very bowels of the earth; employing a greater proportion of labor to the total value of its finished products, and, necessarily, employing more actual cash capital for wages, etc., in proportion to the amount of sales, than almost any other business and one that, while accomplishing these great results, all of which enter into the great interests of our body politic, at the same time has provided for our consumers a product of superior quality, at a lower price, than was ever before given them, could not help but attract the attention of those who have the great interest of our nation at heart. Having acquired his laudable interest in our industry on the part of our men of power, we have a treble duty to perform. First, by every honest and honorable means to safeguard this interest; second, under no circumstances to abuse it by misrepresentation or extravagance of statement; third, never to use it for harassing or injuring a competitor, who is doing a legitimate and honorable business under existing laws; but, on the other hand, both for the sake of the honorable competitor as well as for our own sake, to use to the fullest extent the influence thus attained to stop the unjust, disastrous and illegal methods used by some, by which they are enabled to sell at prices before unheard of, and unattainable by other legitimate concerns. It is, therefore, in my opinion, one of the chief subjects of this convention to consider how these ends may best be attained.

Great progress has been made during the past year, largely through the cooperation of the present administration, which has so recently received such enthusiastic endorsements from one end of our land to the other. Never in the history of our association have we met with such consideration from the Treasury Department. A determined purpose and effort to get at facts, especially along the line of true foreign market value for custom purposes, has been manifest.

Pardon me if I refer at this time to my remarks of last year, when opening the convention. I made a few statements relative to the undervaluation of certain imported wares. These remarks seem to have been taken by some as a sweeping accusation against all importers. This I greatly regret, as I, in common with many of you, number among my most highly esteemed business friends and acquaintances men in the importing business, against whom I would no sooner bring an accusation of irregularity than I would against any of you. I go further and state, without fear of contradiction, that there is not a potter in this room who is more anxious to have the existing tariff laws equally and impartially administered than are, many of the importers. I do not mean to say that they like, or are satisfied with, the present tariff laws, but I do mean to say, most emphatically, that they are a unit with us in a desire to see the law justly and impartially administered to every importer. I know that I am correct in this statement, for many of them have so expressed themselves and have given valuable assistance to our executive committee in the work that has ben [sic] been done during the past year. I make this statement in justice to myself, to our association and to the importer to whom these remarks apply.

In looking over the business of the past year we cannot but congratulate ourselves that our business, as a whole, has not been worse. Business in general throughout the country has not been as good as it was last year. The presidential election, no doubt, has had something to do with the depression, but we cannot close our eyes to the vast increase of importations, of the cheaper grade of goods from the continent of Europe, which come in direct competition with our cheaper lines; also, the large quantities of German china used by the scheme and gift trade, and to the very low prices of certain French china dinner ware of superior quality. This increased importation would, of itself, far more than account for the total decrease of our sales.

Our labor conditions have been harmonious during the past year. The only matter of special interest along this line was the putting into operation of the uniform scale of wages in Trenton on November 1. I believe there is a better understanding between and more confidence shown toward each other, both on the part of the manufacturer and operative, than ever before, and it is earnestly desired that this condition continue.

As to the future, I can see nothing but a rose-colored tint in our sky. The recent election, carried for our match-less President, in such an overwhelming manner, can only bespeak for us a condition of prosperity for the future. Never has there been, in the history of this country, so unique a personality in the presidential chair. It is with great satisfaction that I look over this audience and know that we were a unit in our desire for the reelection of Theodore Roosevelt, and that, to a man, our ballots were cast for his election. With such a one at the helm of our great nation, aggressive, honest, thoroughly American, and at the same time conservative, we have no fear-of what the next four years will bring to us in the way of commercial demand. All that we have to ask of this-administration is what the President himself has already promised, "A square deal to every man."

As to the work of this convention, it is now in your hands. Your various committees cover well the field of operation of this association, and the special subjects.assigned to each will be presented by them or your consideration. The banquet with its list of distinguished speakers will be, as usual, not the least enjoyable part of our gathering. I feel, however, that the feature of all the gatherings of .the United States Potters' Association, from which we receive a great uplift in our work, and from which we get the most broadening influence, is that of our social interchange of thought and ideas; where we, as active associates and honorary members, get together, away from the narrow ruts of our daily life and come into contact with each other as man and man, and not, as it were, at long range, through the, medium of our salesmen or the trade who seem to think it a part of their-business create misunderstanding and ill-feeling personally, because we are competitors in a business way.

Gentlemen, what we want in business to-day is more common sense, more courtesy and more confidence in each other. Let us throw away reserve, and, as brother men, make this the red-letter convention of our association.

I want again to thank you for the great honor, you have conferred upon me, and for the courtesy and help extended to me in the performance of my duties, and I bespeak for my successor the same kind treatment at your hands.

The Association expedited its business sufficiently to make possible a sine die adjournment at Wednesday noon. The Tuesday morning and afternoon sessions were pretty largely occupied in the presentation of committee reports and the disposition of other routine matters. While all of the reports were highly interesting, the one submitted by the committee on statistics, composed of Louis I. Aarons, chairman, Thomas Carr and H. D Wintringer, contained especially valuable data. It set forth, for example that the production of general ware in the United States during 1904 reached $13,000,000, as against $14,577,000 in 1903. This represents a loss-of at-least ten per cent. The geographical distribution of this production was as follows: Ohio, 56 potteries, 360 kilns; New Jersey, 11 potteries, 89 kilns; Pennsylvania, 9 potteries, 61 kilns; West Virginia, 6 potteries, 49 kilns; other States, 8 potteries, 54 kilns. Comparison is also made in the report with the unabated increase in the importation of foreign goods, with which the American wares have not kept pace. For instance, the American production in 1900 aggregated $12,000,000 against $13,689,649 in importations from European countries. But-during the five years succeeding the importations have increased unceasingly. This year they have attained a total value of $19,087,962, an increase over the 1900 importations of nearly $6,000,000, while the American production has been enlarged but $1,000,000. Concerning the domestic production and importation of china and ball clays the report also offers figures indicative of America's decline in this regard. In 1903 there was imported 141,000 tons, valued at $1,275,000, an increase over the previous year of $58,000. The domestic production in 1903: was 151,000 tons, valued at $630,000, representing a loss of $180,000 over the preceding twelve months. From 1885 to 1903 the clay importations have increased from $110,000 to $1,275,000. The report also referred to the remarkable equality in production of pottery, including sanitary wares and electrical supplies, between Trenton and East Liverpool in 1903. The former city's output aggregated $5,696,000, while East Liverpool produced $5,596,000.

The election of officers and nominations of committees engrossed attention on Wednesday morning. There were no contests for the various offices, the selections being as follows:

President —W. E. Wells, East Liverpool; first vice-president, Daniel Willets, Trenton; second vice-president, Joseph Mayer, Beaver Falls; treasurer, George S. Goodwin, East Liverpool; secretary, H. A. Keffer, East Liverpool.

The new committees are:

Executive — William Burgess, Trenton, chairman; John N. Taylor, East Liverpool; Charles W. Franzheim, Wheeling; W. L. Smith, East Liverpool; John A. Campbell, Trenton; Daniel Willets, Trenton; N. A. Frederick, East Liverpool-; George C. Thompson, East Liverpool.

Art and Designs —W. A. Rhodes, East Liverpool; chairman; Robert T. Hall, East Liverpool; C. G. Gosser, Coshocton; F. R. Haynes, Baltimore; John M. Pope, Trenton; Homer Taylor, East Liverpool; L. H..Bown, Buffalo.

Membership —John T. Cartwright, East Liverpool, chairman; W. W. Harker, East Liverpool; Charles Ashbaugh, East Liverpool; James E. Norris, Trenton.

Selling Price —Charles W. Franzheim, Wheeling, chairman; A. M. Maddock, Trenton; Charles Howell Cook, Trenton; Charles I. Aarons, East Liverpool; John N. Taylor, East Liverpool; J. T. Smith, East Liverpool.

Reception — W. L. Smith, East Liverpool, chairman; Edwin M. Knowles, East Liverpool; Thos. P. Donoher, Trenton.

Kilns and Fuel — James Pass, Syracuse, chairman; Charles Maddock, Trenton; J. T. Moore, Trenton; H. N. Harker, East Liverpool; W. E. Vodrey, East Liverpool; M. Collear,- Trenton; E. J.: Owen, Minerva.

Historical — Henry Brunt, Baltimore.

Transportation — H. P. Knoblock, East Liverpool, chairman; John A. Campbell, Trenton, Charles Howell Cook, Trenton; George C. Thompson, East Liverpool; Daniel Willets, Trenton; W. L. Taylor, East Liverpool.

Statistics — Louis I. Aaron; East Liverpool; chairman; J. R. Warner, East Liverpool; H. D. Wintringer, Steubenville; Thos Carr, Wheeling- H. B. Moses, Trenton; Geo. C. Murphy, East Liverpool.

Auditing — W. L, Taylor, East Liverpool, chairman; James E. Norris, Trenton; Thomas A. McNicol, East Liverpool.

Machinery — Joseph G. Lee, East Liverpool, chairman; John S. Goodwin, East Liverpool; W. S. Brunt, Baltimore; Patrick McNicol, East Liverpool; O. C. Vodrey, East Liverpool; Harry E. Thompson, Toronto; Will S. George, East Palestine.


The Newly-Elected President, W. E. Wells.


The Pottery Association of America, really an auxiliary of the United States. Potters' Association, convened on Wednesday afternoon for the consideration of the selling-price question. A gentleman representing the interests of about one-third of the potteries not operating under the price agreement was accorded the privilege of the floor. He informed the Association that a meeting of manufacturers controlling seventy-seven kilns was held recently in Canton, O., at which it was decided to apply for admittance to the Association on condition that certain alterations be made in the present system. The proposition was laid over for deliberation by the Association on Thursday. A conclusion had not been reached at the time of going to press.




No banquet in the history of the Association was ever distinguished by the attendance of such an imposing array of legislative talent as Wednesday night's occasion in the Hotel Raleigh.

The dining-table, lavishly adorned with roses, chrysanthemums, ferns and smilax, was set for one hundred guests. Former-Congressman R. W. Tayler acted in his usual capacity as toastmaster. He was never in better form. The speakers who were made the target for his happy wit were also more than usually eloquent.

The real oratorical treat of the evening, however, was provided by A. A. Hamerschlag, director of the Carnegie Technical Institute in Pittsburgh.

"We are on the verge of a new type of education," he declared, after having alluded in a general way to potting, "and that, gentlemen, is the scientific understanding of the fashioning and ornamentation of clay. The way to fill the mind with knowledge is not to treat it the same as one would soak a sponge, until it could hold no more, but rather to saturate it to a certain degree. It is not proposed to store this knowledge in the mind for the mere sake of learning, but for the purpose of usefulness. One very important thing is lacking in your industry, gentlemen, and that is the ignorance of scientific principles. Institutions of the Carnegie Technical Institute's character are designed to enable your sons and other young men to acquire a technical education in the science of ceramics. There is a dearth of capable and trained men in your industry. In no other, except in glass, has so little progress been made towards the use of new and improved methods. The same old schemes of manufacturing and decoration are being pursued as were originally copied from the European wares. No initiative and no originality has been exhibited on your part. It is ideas that count nowadays. What you American potters require are men who are strong, virile and abundant with ideas. The real subject for you to consider is how to create, handle and control your own product, and not how to handle and control the European product. Send your young men to, technical schools, where they may be enabled to absorb an education that will give American pottery an individuality and character of- its own

The educational side of pottery also appealed most forcibly to Congressman Boutell, of Illinois, who spoke much in the same vein.

General Grosvenor, of Ohio, provoked considerable enthusiasm when, in-the course of his speech, he raised one of the service plates with which the dining table was set and remarked: "On the bottom of this plate is stamped the trade-mark of a certain foreign factory. Is there any reason why this should be so? Next time I dine in this hall I sincerely hope to eat from a plate bearing the stamp of an American factory."

United States Senator N.B. Scott, of West Virginia, urged the potters to encourage their young men. "Three little boys," said he, "entered my employ in rather insignificant capacities some years ago. They possessed energy, intelligence and integrity, and they now conduct my glass factory in Wheeling. One of them is superintendent and general -manager, another is, the bookkeeper and treasurer, and the third has complete charge of the stock. They demonstrated a desire to succeed and properly serve my interests, and I encouraged them. That's what you want to do with your young men."

Speaker of the House Joseph G. Cannon, Congressman Sereno E. Payne, of New York; Congressman E. J. Hill, of Connecticut; Congressman Charles Curtis, of Kansas; Congressman Ira T Wood, of New Jersey; Congressman James Gaines, of West Virginia; Congressman Thomas, of Ohio; Congressman B. B. Dovenor, of West Virginia; Congressman James Kennedy, of Ohio; Congressman Dalzell, of Pennsylvania; Congressman James Tawney, of Maine; Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Armstrong; United States Senator-elect James Hemingway, of Indiana; W. E. Wells, president elect of the Association, and William Burgess, of Trenton, were other gentlemen who made responses to toasts.


Keywords:Pass & Seymour : Onondaga Pottery Company : Henry Brunt
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:April 18, 2008 by: Bob Stahr;