By Debbie McArdle with Phil & Jayne Schauer
WAUKESHA, Wis. – Folks familiar with the semi-annual shows produced by the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association (WADA), are familiar with dealers Phil and Jayne Schauer of Pipsqueak and Me Antiques, of Janesville, Wisconsin. In recent years they have exhibited in Booth 55 at the WADA shows, but October 6-7 they will also exhibit their Pauline Pottery collection in WADA’s Special Exhibit Booth just around the corner from the show’s entrance.
Celebrating the Joy of Collecting
“Pauline Pottery & Her Clay Kin” is a free exhibit, for those who attend the 66th Fall Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association Show & Sale at the Waukesha Expo Center. Attendees will be astounded to see the rarity, quality and variety of objects assembled by these top collectors. The Schauers will be on hand throughout the show to answer questions and to share knowledge of this fascinating field of collecting.
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society: “Between 1888 and 1909 the city of Edgerton, Wisconsin was home to six different companies producing nationally-recognized ceramic art. The art potteries of Edgerton were part of a late 19th and early 20th century trend known as the American Art Pottery movement. Rather than one single style, American art pottery is best characterized by an innovative approach to ceramic design and an emphasis on decoration over function. Such pottery was offered for sale at stores like Marshall Field’s of Chicago, Kimball’s of Boston, and Tiffany’s of New York.”
Highlighting a Midwestern Pottery
Speaking to how their collection began, Phil says, “I was at a country auction in 1968 just outside of
Evansville, Wisconsin and there was ‘choice’ on a table; I had my eye on a leafy-patterned organic flat dish impressed on the back in block letters PAULINE POTTERY. As the high bidder, I realized I’d better learn more if I wished to recognize it going forward. Because it had been locally made, I thought I’d be able to find more in my neck of the woods. Oddly I found it everywhere, not just Rock County, Wis.; New York, Tennessee, Ohio, and Indiana where it was less recognized as most of it was unmarked.”
Researching Pauline Pottery’s history, I learned it was founded in 1883 by Pauline Jacobus and was the first art pottery company in Chicago. She and her husband, Oscar, moved to Edgerton in 1888 after a superior clay source was discovered there, avoiding expensive transportation costs for Ohio clay. There Oscar oversaw the production of ceramic battery jars for Bell Telephone. The cash flow from their commercial contracts allowed Pauline and 13 women to dabble in art pottery. In 1891 Pauline realized she had to branch out with more than just pretty dishes, so she recruited Thorwald Samson and his brother along with Louis Ipson, professional potters at the Hjords Pottery in Denmark, to work as designers. However, the next year the Samsons and Ipson left Pauline to form American Art Clay Works, producing busts and figurines.
Evolution of an Iconic Ceramic Firm
When Pauline’s husband died in 1893 and the commercial contracts evaporated, Pauline Pottery was forced to close. The company reorganized as Edgerton Pottery Company although some wares were marked Rock Pottery using the old Pauline Pottery molds. Pauline Jacobus was not involved with the new company as she began to teach pottery making and decorating out of her home.
Two of Pauline Pottery’s ‘clay kin’ were Wilder Pickard and decorator Mae Johnson who had worked for Pauline. In 1894 they established Pickard China in Edgerton, now located in Antioch, Illinois. In 1895 the American Art Clay Works was sold and continued under the name Edgerton Art Clay Works. By 1902 Pauline Pottery was back in business operating on a smaller scale from the Jacobus’ home until 1909 when it closed permanently. In 1903 the Samson brothers and Louis Ipson reunited to form Norse Pottery, operating for a decade before closing in 1913. By then most of the pottery manufacturers in Edgerton had either ceased production or had moved out of the area. Pauline and her ‘clay kin’ were gone.
The Schauers’ Special Exhibit at the WADA show will feature examples of many of these Edgerton potteries along with a stunning amount of Pauline Pottery pieces. *Editor’s Note: Revisit the Aug. 16, 2017 issue of Antique Trader to enjoy an extensive article about Pauline Pottery.
Expect the unusual
From vintage Holiday decor to jewelry to antique cupboards, the three large rooms at the show feature the Midwest’s top dealers from nine states, each offering a choice variety of authentic vintage and antique treasures. The Waukesha County Expo Center’s Forum Building, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha, WI 53188, is the home of this semi-annual event. Show hours are Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. A traditional Wisconsin fish fry will be served late Friday afternoon and evening.
Also at the show, antiques (more than 100 years old) and vintage (50-99 years old) items will be collected by the Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society for their biennial “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction.” Tax deductible receipts will be provided to donors. The Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association is proud to serve as the founding and continuing sponsor of this event since 2008 and has donated the booth for collection of objects for the fund-raising auction.
The Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association is a not-for-profit organization that produces two antiques shows annually. The $7 admission fee funds college scholarships as well as grants to Wisconsin historic and heritage groups. You can save $1 on admission when you clip the ad for the WADA show appearing on page 4 of this issue or print the coupon available at www.WisconsinAntiquesDealers.com.