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Monday, January 2, 2012

Gilmer Potteries

Gilmer Potteries (in Gilmer, Texas, my hometown) keeps showing up in books and online articles lately. Although I've mentioned it in passing a time or two, I thought I'd feature it today for old time's sake, in the spirit of Auld Lang Syne.

My kids gave me a copy of Lois Lehner's Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay for Christmas, and my SIL was surprised to learn that Gilmer, a small town of fewer than 5,000 people, even had a pottery. In fact, when I lived there in the 1960s, the pottery was quite active and employed a number of workers.

Established in 1951 by a group of residents who purchased stock in the company and hired Carlton Rowe and Richard Potter as managers, the pottery was in its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s. During that period, the pottery manufactured planters, ashtrays and cookie jars, some of which were designed by Howard Kron, who later became a principal figure at Texans Incorporated, a company best known for its TV lamps.

In the 1970s, the pottery switched its emphasis to bathroom accessories, although some decorative items were still made. Today the company employs from 20-40 people and manufactures only bathroom products.

In researching this post, I ran across a wonderful blog I hadn't found before. If you'd like to know more about Gilmer Potteries and see more of vintage pieces, check out My Life as a Collectorator.

Seafoam blue bulb bowl - texianpedlar

Yellow oval bulb bowl - texianpedlar

White to cream pedestal melon bowl - texianpedlar

Matte chocolate brown pedestal vase - appleanniephotography

Matte green melon planter

Howard Kron covered dish

Leaf dish - theprivateparty

Large yellow planter with saucer


  1. The Howard Kron covered dish obviously took inspiration from the Mushroom Coral. Click this link.

    Love it!

  2. @I dream lo-tech: Wow, that's amazing. I had never seen a mushroom coral before, but you're right...they look exactly alike. That had to be the inspiration! Thanks for sharing that.

  3. Lovely pottery! I've seen the planter before. Glad to know what it is. And what a neat connection to you.

  4. @Tanya: I'd really love to have one of those huge outdoor planters. Surely someone in my hometown can hook me up! :)

  5. Really nice pottery pieces! As always, thanks for sharing...

  6. @A Modern Line: And to think when I was a teenager, I had no idea what the pottery was producing. I just figured it was hokey junk. Now I wish I could get my hands on some of it.

    Thanks for your kind words. I always enjoy your comments...and your blog.

  7. I really love Gilmer and Alamo pottery both and it's so nice to meet up with someone from Gilmer! We buy it when ever we see it now. This last fall I found one of those large pink planters, and I had to have it. I drug that thing across fields and fields to take it home, heavy but worth it! you can see it here My friend's neighbor has the same one outside her door and we think she got it back in the day. How cool. Do you have the Alamo/Gilmer book? I'd really like to me the author and see his collection! Thanks for sharing your memories and thanks for the mention on your blog.

  8. @CollectoratorToo: I haven't read the book, but I definitely intend to buy it now. Thanks for telling me about it.

    That pink pot is gorgeous! I'm going to have to get serious about checking with some of my friends who still live in Gilmer and see if they can find me some large pieces like that. I bet half the families in town have pots stored in their attics or garages.

  9. Of course! you will love the book, it has so much information and good pictures. You made my heart skip a beat thinking about all the random pottery that must be in people's houses in Gilmer. Didn't even think about that possibility!

  10. @CollectoratorToo: I have to admit that I got pretty excited too, just thinking about all that great pottery sitting around gathering dust.

    I'm going to email a friend of mine right now to see if he can ask around. If I hit the motherlode, I'll let you know! :)

  11. @CollectoratorToo: I just contacted my friend. He's a realtor in Gilmer, so he's seen inside plenty of attics and garages. We'll keep our fingers crossed that he comes up with something!

  12. I've seen the mother lode! I live here in Gilmer and work with Mr. Rowe's daughter. Her private collection is tremendous--both her storage barn and home. Over the years I have found myself scoping out yards just looking for pieces of Gilmer Pottery. My collection only numbers in the 20s.

  13. Can anyone tell me if they made the planter in a blue, unmarked? The waves go to the right, but no Alamo mark.

    1. I'm not a collector, but maybe other readers will see your question and respond.