Ott & Brewer

John Hart Brewer

Joseph Ott and his nephew, John Hart Brewer, were two seminal figures in the Trenton pottery industry. Ott joined William Bloor and Thomas Booth in founding the Etruria Pottery in 1863 where cream-colored and white granite wares were being produced. By 1871 the factory was wholly in the hands of Ott and Brewer. Always innovative, the Etruria Pottery was one of the few factories at the time to employ an in-house decorator and the company moved increasingly into producing fine quality wares and art pottery. Porcelain sculpture, usually fashioned with a type of clay body referred to as parian ware, became a specialty resulting in such notable pieces as the Cleopatra bust and the baseball vases, designed by artist Isaac Broome for the Centennial celebrations in 1876. Around the same time, in an effort to imitate Irish Belleek, Ott and Brewer perfected what became known as ivory porcelain. Brewer eventually became a powerful political figure in both the New Jersey Legislature and the United States Congress, where he pursued protective measures for the pottery industry, including the imposition of tariffs on imported ceramic goods.