Mercer Pottery


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In operation



white granite and c.c. ware, also decorated goods, stone, porcelain and hotel ware (Mains and Fitzgerald 1877); crockery and dinnerware (Goldberg 1998)


“Be it enacted by the State and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey that John F. Thompson, Joseph G. Brearley, Elias Cook, Edward W. Scudder, Anderson L. Brearley and their Associates be, and are hereby, created a body politic and corporate, in fact and in law, by the name and style of the ‘Mercer Pottery Company’ for the purpose of manufacturing, selling and dealing earthenware and crockery in various descriptionsÉ approved February 10, 1869” (Acts of the Ninety-Third Legislature 1869).

“China clay is obtained from the celebrated banks on the Brandywine, Delaware and Chester Counties, Pennsylvania; the feldspar from Maine, and is considered the best in the country, while the flint comes from Maryland” (Everts & Stewart 1875:XII).

“The Mercer Pottery was built in the year 1868. It is one of the finest and most substantial structures in the city. Composed of stone, with slate roofs, entirely new, and having been erected all at one time in the most modern and approved form, the buildings have as great a capacity as and better facilities than some larger establishments. When in full operation, it is able to produce $15,000 worth of ware per month.

During the first eight years, the works were controlled by Mr. J.F. Thompson, the late Mr. J.G. Brearley and others, under the firm name of The Mercer Pottery Company” (Mains & Fitzgerald 1877).

“This company was duly incorporated in 1868 under the laws of New Jersey and has continued by the original incorporators till 1875, when James Moses purchased the works and has continued the business since that time under the old name” (Quarter Century’s Progress 1887:290).

Selected References

Acts of the Ninety-Third Legislature of the State of New Jersey, and Twenty-Fifth under the New Constitution. 1869. “Laws of New Jersey” A.R. Speer, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Federal Census of New Jersey. 1870. Industrial Schedules. On file, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.

Metcalf, Edwin S. 1870. “The Trenton City Directory, 1870, Containing a General Directory of the Citizens, a Business Directory, and a Record of the City Government, Its Institutions, Societies, Corporations.” Webb Brothers & Co.

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.

J.H. Lant & Co. 1872. “The Trenton Directory, 1872, Containing a General Directory of the Citizens, a Business Directory, Together with a Town Business Directory of Mercer County, and Much Useful Miscellaneous Information.” J.H. Lant & Co., Trenton, New Jersey.

Boyd, Andrew and William H. Boyd. 1874-1876. “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.

Everts & Stewart. 1875. “The Pottery Interest.” Combination Atlas Map of Mercer County. pp.xi-xii.

Mains, Bishop W. and Fitzgerald, Thomas F. 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.

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.

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

Hood, John. 1905. “Index of Colonial and State Laws of New Jersey Between the Years 1663 and 1903 Inclusive.” Sinniskson, Chew & Sons Co., Camden, New Jersey.

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.

Trenton Chamber of Commerce. 1929. “Trenton: 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Trenton.” On file, Trenton Public Library, Trenton, New Jersey.

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.

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

Gaston, Mary Frank. 1994. “Collector’s Encyclopedia of Flow Blue China.” Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

Jasper, Joanne. 1996. “Turn of the Century American Dinnerware 1880s to 1920s.” Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

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.

Conroy, Barbara J. 1999. “Restaurant China: Volume 2.” Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky.

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

Other firms at this site:

Other Names

Mercer Pottery Company

Block and Lot:

Historic Street Address:
Railroad Avenue near North Clinton Avenue; Railroad Avenue opposite Ott Street; Railroad Avenue near Perrine; 39 Muirhead Ave.; 19 Muirhead Ave.; 30 Muirhead Ave.; 27 Muirhead Ave.

City of Trenton

1870 Census

Name in censusMercer Pottery Co.
Capital Invested50000
Type of power 11 Steam & Hand Engine
Horsepower 125
Machine name 1Grinding Pans & Jiggers
Raw material type 1Clay
Raw material quantity 1500 tons
Raw material value 14800
Raw material type 2Flint
Raw material type 3Feldspar
Raw material type 4Coal
Raw material type 5Chemicals
Raw material type 6Total
Raw material quantity 2300 tons
Raw material quantity 3200 tons
Raw material quantity 41350 tons
Raw material value 25100
Raw material value 33800
Raw material value 43850
Raw material value 53000
Raw material value 623550
Product type 1C & C & White Granite Ware
Product value 151770
Male hands above 1660
Female hands above 1625
Yearly wages26000
Months operating6