Etruria Pottery


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In operation



“white granite and cream colored wares for tables, toilet and druggists' use, complete line of decorated china and parian wares and statuary (Mains and Fitzgerald 1877); largely china and white granite ware, decorated goods, including a full line of dinner, tea, toilet, and hotel ware, opaque china goods, the "Century" dinner and tea ware and "Lochiel" toilet ware in opaque china, "Belleek" egg-shell china (Quarter Century's Progress 1887:267)

Maker's Marks

Click to enlarge


“The buildings are three stories in height, of solid brick, built in the most substantial manner, almost covering a plat of ground two hundred feet front by three hundred feet deep. The works were erected in 1863 by William Bloor, Joseph Ott and Thomas Booth. Mr. Booth was succeeded by G. S. Bourroughs in 1864. In 1865, J. Hart Brewer succeeded Mr. Burroughs. The firm name being at that time, Bloor, Ott & Brewer. Mr. Bloor retired in 1871. Since that time the firm has been as it is at present–Ott & Brewer. They manufacture a full line of white granite and C.C. Ware for tables, toilet and druggists’ use, also a complete line of decorated ware. They are second to no other firm in the country in respect to quality of goods and prompt business ability” (Mains & Fitzgerald 1877).

Detailed descriptions and drawings of the Baseball Vase and the Bust of Cleopatra, as well as the Pastoral Vase and Fashion Vase, can be found in: Young 1879:464-467.

“Messrs. Ott & Brewer are building a new kiln, and they have just completed a fine new workshop” (Trenton State Gazette, Monday, March 8, 1880).

In 1882 Etruria Pottery Works owned six kilns and employed two hundred hands. It was the only pottery producing Belleek. In 1876 the pottery received a medal at the Centennial Exposition for the finest display of Parian ware and statuary ware (Woodward & Hageman 1883:692).

“It is due Messrs. Ott & Brewer to say that they have done more to elevate the art of pottery in Trenton than any single firm in the city, and it is not difficult for one to say this, because every competitor admits it without reserve and points with pride to the satisfactory results they have attained in the production of that peculiarly delicate porcelain which has been regarded as the very perfection of delicacy in the manufacture of artistic pottery” (Trenton Evening Times, Sunday, November 15, 1885).

“É The premises occupied comprise a superior series of three-story brick buildings, fully supplied with all modern appliances, machinery, and apparatus necessary for the successful prosecution of the business. Two hundred and fifty operatives are employed, and the machinery is driven by a fifty-horse power steam engine. There are six decorating and six white kilns on the premises in active operation. The firm manufacture largely china and white granite ware, decorated goods, including a full line of dinner, tea, toilet, and hotel ware, opaque china goods, etc. The ‘Century’ dinner and tea ware and ‘Lochiel’ toilet ware of this reliable house in opaque china are combinations of beauty and service. All goods manufactured by Messrs. Ott & Brewer are subjected to four hundred degrees greater heat than any other factory’s production in the United States, and consequently are rendered much less likely to craze than any others. Messrs. Ott & Brewer likewise produce the ‘Belleck’ egg-shell china. This ware derives its name from Belleck, Ireland, where it was first made. It is universally conceded that ‘Belleck’ china surpasses all other kinds of porcelain É The Belleck china made by Ott & Brewer is to be found on sale at Galt’s, Washington, D.C.; Tiffany & Co., New York; Shreve, Crump & Low, Boston; and Bailey, Banks & Biddle and Caldwell & Co., Philadelphia” (Quarter Century’s Progress 1887:297).

“This substantial and representative institution was established nearly 30 years ago and today enjoys the distinction of occupying a leading position among the potters of America. The output consists largely of thin porcelain, hotel porcelain, white granite and “Belleek” egg shell china, a ware which derives its name from Belleek, county Fermanagh, Ireland, where it was first porduced É Its delicacy of fabric and beautiful translucency had never been equaled until the Ott & Brewer Compaby began to perfect the original Belleek porcelain É one dozen cups and saucers weigh just sixteen ounces!” (J.M. Elstner & Co. 1889:88).

“The first ‘Belleek’ made in America was a product of the Etruria Works. An Englishman, William Bromley, Jr., who had worked at the Belleek pottery in Ireland brought the formula for the making of that ware to this country, and arriving at Trenton, was employed by Mr. Brewer. It is interesting to note that Bromley’s knowledge of the formula was so thorough that the first mix was made from memory. The first ware produced, however, was only a partial success, and it was not until Mr. Brewer had secured the services of two other members of the Bromley family and two or three other employees of the Belleek plant that a fine ware was manufactured” (Podmore 1932:271).

“Ott and Brewer Belleek was obtainable only at the most fashionable dealers in china and glass, including Tiffany and Company and Black, Starr and Frost in New York, Shreve, Crump and Low and French’s in Boston, and Caldwell’s in Philadelphia.” (Frelinghuysen 1989:46).

The history of the firm is covered in numerous sources (e.g., Woodward and Hageman 1883:691-692; Quarter Century’s Progress 1887:267; Robinson and Feeny 1980:333-334; Goldberg 1998:31-35).

Selected References

Slade, Charles H. 1871. “Trenton Directory, 1871, Containing a General Directory of the Citizens, a Business Directory, and a Record of the City Government, Its Institutions, Societies, Corporations, Etc.” Directory. Webb Brothers & Co.

Boyd, Andrew and William H. Boyd. 1873-1875. “Boyd’s Trenton City Directory: Containing the Names of Its Citizens, a Compendium of Its Government and of Public and Private Institutions, and a Business Directory of the Principal Towns in Mercer County, a List of Farmers.” Andrew Boyd and W. Harry Boyd, Syracuse, New York and Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Ott & Brewer. 1874. “Revised Standard American Price List of White Granite and C.C. Ware.” Trenton, New Jersey.

Everts & Stewart. 1875. “The Pottery Interest.” Combination Atlas Map of Mercer County, pp. XI-XII. Everts & Stewart, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mains, Bishop W. and Thomas F. Fitzgerald. 1877-1879. “Mains and Fitzgerald’s Trenton, Chambersburg and Millham Directory: Containing the Names of the Citizens, Statistical Business Report, Historical Sketches, a List of the Public and Private Institutions, Together with National, State, County, and City Government.” Bishop W. Mains & Thomas F. Fitzgerald, Trenton, New Jersey.

Young, Jennie J. 1879. “The Ceramic Art: A Compendium of the History and Manufacture of Pottery and Porcelain.” Harper & Bros., New York, New York.

Federal Census of New Jersey. 1880. Industrial Schedule. On file, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.

Fitzgerald, Thomas F. 1880-1893. “Fitzgerald’s Trenton and Mercer County Directory, Together with a Directory of Bordentown, Burlington, Mount Holly and Lambertville, NJ and Morrisville, PA, Included a Fund of Information Concerning Public and Private Institutions, National, State, County, City and Borough Governments, Gathered from Reliable and Official Sources.” Thomas F. Fitzgerald, Trenton, New Jersey.

“Rivaling English Ware: What Ott and Brewer Have Done.” Trenton Evening Times, October 15, 1883.

Woodward, E.M. and J.F. Hageman. 1883. “History of Burlington and Mercer Counties.” Everts and Peck, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Quarter-Century’s Progress of New Jersey’s Leading Manufacturing Centres. Dover. 1887. International Publishing Company, New York.

J.M. Elstner & Co. 1889. “New Jersey’s Leading Cities Illustrated: Historical, Biographical, Commercial Review of the Progress in Commerce, The Professions and in Social, Municipal Life.” J.M. Elstner & Co., New York, New York.

Ott & Brewer Company. C.1890. “Ott & Brewer Co., Potters, Trenton, New Jersey, Manufacturers and Decorators: Ott & Brewer China, White Granite and Druggists’ Sundries.” Trenton, New Jersey.

Jervis, William P. 1897. “A Book of Pottery Marks.” Press of Hayes Bros., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Trenton Board of Trade. 1900. “Industrial Trenton and Vicinity.” George A. Wolf Publishers, Wilmington, Delaware.

Stover, Edward C. 1903. “Technical Advances in Trenton.” Transactions of the American Ceramic Society:147-150.

Newark Museum Association. 1914. “The Work of The Potteries of New Jersey: From 1685 to 1876 , Being Extracts from ‘The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States,’ by Edwin Atlee Barber and Marks of New Jersey Potteries, as Reproduced from ‘Pottery,’ Published by The Thomas Maddock’s Sons Company.” Newark Museum Association, Newark, New Jersey.

Secretary of State. 1914. “Corporations of New Jersey, List of Certificates to December 31, 1911.” MacCrellish & Quigley, Trenton, New Jersey.

Harney, W.J. 1929. “Trenton’s First Potteries.” Sunday Times Advertiser, July 7, 14, 21 and 28, 1929.

Podmore, Henry. 1932. “Old Pottery Landmark Passes at Trenton.” Ceramic Age:271.

Thorn, C. Jordan. 1947. “Handbook of Old Pottery & Porcelain Marks.” Tudor Publishing Company, New York, New York.

“Ott and Brewer known as Etruria Pottery established 1865.” 1967. Spinning Wheel (April):10-11.

New Jersey State Museum. 1971. “An Exhibition of Pottery and Porcelain made by Ott and Brewer at Etruria Works in Trenton, New Jersey 1871-1892.” New Jersey State Museum Department of Education, Trenton, New Jersey.

Mitchell, James. 1972. “Ott and Brewer: Etruria in America.” In: Winterthur Portfolio 7:217-218.

Lehner, Lois. 1980. “Complete Book of American Kitchen and Dinner Wares.” Wallace-Homestead Book Company, Des Moines, Iowa.

Robinson, Dorothy and Bill Feeny. 1980. “The Official Price Guide to American Pottery & Porcelain.” House of Collectibles, Orlando, Florida.

Gates, William C., Jr. and Dana E. Ormerod. 1982. “The East Liverpool, Ohio, Pottery District: Identification of Manufacturers and Marks.” Historical Archaeology 16(1-2):1-358.

Gaston, Mary Frank. 1984. “American Belleek.” Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Kovel, Ralph and Terry Kovel. 1986. “Kovel’s New Dictionary of Marks: Pottery & Porcelain 1850 to the Present.” Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, New York.

Lehner, Lois. 1988. “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay.” Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Denker, Ellen Paul. 1989. “Lenox China: Celebrating a Century of Quality 1889-1989.” Lenox, Inc., Trenton, New Jersey.

Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooney. 1989. “American Porcelain, 1770-1920.” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

Viksjo, Cathy. 1996. “Trenton’s ‘Lost’ Ceramic Treasures.” Trenton Times. October 27, 1996.

Nottle, Diane. 1997. “Beauty, Utility and Paychecks, All Built on a Base of Clay.” New York Times, November 9, 1997.

Goldberg, David J. 1998. “Preliminary Notes on the Pioneer Potters and Potteries of Trenton, N.J.: The First Thirty Years – 1852 – 1882 (And Beyond).” Privately published, Trenton, New Jersey.

Wall, John P. N.d. “History of the Potteries of Trenton, New Jersey.” Manuscript on file, Trenton Public Library, Trenton, New Jersey.

Other Names

Ott & Brewer's Etruria Pottery Works; Etruria Pottery Company

Block and Lot:

Historic Street Address:
Clinton Avenue near Belvidere and Delaware Railroad; East of Normal School; Millham Road; North Clinton corner of Ott; Clinton corner of Ott; N. Clinton Avenue corner of Ott; Clinton Ave. east of Normal School

City of Trenton

1880 Census

Name in censusEtruria Pottery Co.
Number of hands200
Males above 16125
Females above 1525
May to Nov hours9
Nov to May hours8
Skilled wages2.5
Ordinary wages1.25
Total wages in year60000
Full time months12
Value of raw material100000
Value of product180000
Number of engines1
Horse power160