pottery is one of the most recognized names in American
pottery. J. W. McCoy
Pottery was established by James W. McCoy in 1899.
In 1908 McCoy introduced its most popular art pottery
line Loy-Nel-Art. Loy-Nel-Art is decorated, standard glaze
pottery similar to Roseville Rozane and Weller Louwelsa.
The history of Nelson McCoy pottery began in April of
1910 when J.C. McCoy and his son Nelson created the Nelson
McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company. The majority of the
products they created in the beginning were functional
pieces such as jugs, jars, crocks, and even poultry fountains.
Because they were located in an area rich in natural clay,
they also conducted a profitable mining operation, mining
and selling clay to other American pottery companies.
1920s brought about an economic boom that boosted the
McCoy's pottery company to a new level. In 1925, the company
changed its entire operation to produce more McCoy pottery
and cease clay sales to competitors. They installed modernized
equipment that enabled them to greatly increase their
production. They also expanded their facilities and created
a larger art pottery division to meet the needs of their
affluent clientele. McCoy designers and artisans focused
their attention on producing umbrella stands, vases, jardinières,
and pedestals, and other decorative pieces.
the late 1920s and early 1930s, when Walter Bauer was
the head designer, McCoy pottery pieces were primarily
of the leaf and berry theme with blended brown and green
glazes. The company also created similar pieces in solid
green that were more affordable for the general public.
history took a turn during the Depression era, when they
joined a co-op with five other pottery companies in order
to survive the economic conditions of the time. Because
these companies shared marketing and merchandising operations,
their designs were very similar and are now difficult
to distinguish from one another. It was also during this
time, around 1933, that the company became simply the
Nelson McCoy Pottery Company. McCoy designs were also
changing during this period when Sydney Cope held the
position of head designer. His designs are some of the
most famous and became a template for the artistic style
that McCoy is best known for.
war era brought about more changes, including a period
when Nelson McCoy Pottery was contracted by the government
to make clay landmines for the war effort. It was also
during the 40s that the McCoy facilities underwent another
modernization process. McCoy Pottery produced more pieces
between 1940 and 1960 than any other American pottery
company. Cookie jar collectors delight in finding McCoy
cookie jars from this period, like the Mammy with Cauliflowers
that is so often copied by counterfeiters.
Pottery was owned and operated by four generations of
McCoys until 1967 when it was sold to the Mount Clemens
Pottery Company. It was sold again in 1974 to the Lancaster
Colony Corporation and continued to produce pottery for
another 16 years. The demand for less expensive products
and the availability of foreign goods caused McCoy's profits
to decline steadily until 1990 when they ceased operation.
for McCoy Pottery>>