Mill Street Pottery


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In operation



yellow and Rockingham ware (Trenton State Gazette, Monday, August 27, 1866); yellow and Rockingham ware, decorative and bronzed vases (Goldberg 1998:36)


“Owing to a defect in a flue at D[L]awton’s Pottery, in the Fourth Ward, fire was communicated to some straw on Thursday afternoon, and for a time there was danger that the flames would do much damage. By the efforts of the workmen, however, the fire was extinguished before it had made much progress. The fire department promptly turned out, but fortunately its services were not needed” (Trenton State Gazette, Saturday, March 5, 1864).

“The yellow and Rockingham wares are now manufactured almost exclusively in the potteries of Mr. H. Speeler and of Messrs. Lawton & Corey” (Trenton State Gazette, Monday, August 27, 1866).

“Isaac Davis came to this country in 1862 from Staffordshire, England. He was employed by W. Young & Sons until 1863, at which time he and George Lawton formed a co-partnership and purchased of George James the old tan-yard on Mill street, and converted it into a pottery. It was known by the name of the Mill Street Pottery. They started with a capital of $150 each. They worked it for some time, when Mr. Davis left and joined the Glasgow Pottery Company, and remained there until he purchased Mr. Goodwin’s interest in the Trenton Pottery Works.” (Mains & Fitzgerald 1877).

“The influence of the William Young Pottery can be seen even more directly in connection with the Mill Street Pottery which was established about the same time as the Greenwood Pottery in 1863. George Lawton and Isaac Smith Davis were potters employed by William Young & Sons. Lawton worked with Young from February 1860 to April 1863. Davis had recently come to the United States from Staffordshire, England in much the same manner as had William Tams. He too held a relatively high paid post with Young from July 1862 until May 1863. After this short period of employment, Davis and Lawton puchased an old tan-yard on Mill Street owned by George James and converted it into a pottery. It was known as the Mill Street Pottery throughout its entire existence but after Davis’ departure in 1865, it was also referred to as Lawton and Sons, after George Lawton and his sons James and George.

Little is known about this pottery since it existed for less than ten years and went through numerous ownership changes. By 1867, the firm had become known as Lawton and Cory and in 1868 I.W. Cory apparently became the sole owner of the pottery. Several food molds marked with Cory’s name are in museum collections. Company advertisements indicate that the pottery produced yellow and Rockingham ware as well as ‘decorative and bronzed vases.’ The Daily True American, on December 28, 1871 reported that the Mill Street Pottery was to be sold at public sale on January 4, 1872. Pottery operations ceased at this location about this time” (Goldberg 1998:36).

Selected References

Trenton State Gazette, Saturday, March 5, 1864.

“The Manufactories of Trenton. Article II. The Pottery Trade.” Trenton State Gazette, Monday, August 27, 1866.

J.H. Lant & Co. 1868-1869. “The Trenton City Directory, for 1868 1869, Containing the Names of the Inhabitants, Together with a Business and Street Directory of the City, Business Directory of Mercer Co., and an Appendix of Valuable Information.” Vannote & Yard, Trenton, New Jersey.

Crosley, William F. 1869. “The Trenton City Directory, for 1869, Containing the Names of the Inhabitants, Together with a Business and Street Directory of the City and an Appendix of Valuable Information.” pp. 198 199. Murphy & Bechtel, Book and Job Printers, 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.

Mains, Bishop W. and Thomas F. Fitzgerald. 1877. “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.

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

Leibowitz, Joan. 1985. “Yellow Ware: The Transitional Ceramic.” Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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.

Other Names

I.W. Cory; Lawton & Cory; Mill Street Pottery

Block and Lot:

Historic Street Address:
Rear of 15 and 17 Mill Street; Mill Street and Warren Street

City of Trenton