Crooksville China Company
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maintained by Mark Gonzalez. Copyright © 2009-.
The Crooksville China Company of Crooksville, Ohio made dinnerware, kitchenware, and specialties from 1902 to 1958. Most of their early dinnerware and decorated specialties were marked Stinthal China. In 1927, the pottery started replacing their old upright bottle kilns with modern continuous tunnel kilns. A write up on the upgrade appeared in the trade journal, China, Glass & Lamps on July 18, 1927. The following portion discussed the firm's beginnings:
When a group of business men and farmers of Crooksville first formed the Crooksville China Co. in 1902, they turned to Guy E. Crooks, who had been a stoneware potter and was then a general merchant, and made him the active head of the business. It was decided to make white ware and much had to be learned concerning the equipment and operation in those first days. Quietly and efficiently, Mr. Crooks went about his work and the first shipment from the new pottery was made in February 1903.

Since the first ware was shipped, the Crooksville China Co. has continued steady progress. White ware in the form of dinnerware and specialties has been its only product over the 25 years. It was and has been the hope to make as good a product as was possible, to keep the quality high and to give the trade as good service as could be offered. From this ideal has grown the slogan: "Satisfied Customers Keep Us Busy." This has been true of the Crooksville China Co. through the years and has brought about steady expansion of facilities.

The Crooksville China Co. of 1902 and the pottery of today - to say nothing of what it will be tomorrow - are not one and the same. The ideals and the purpose may be there, but physically there have been marked changes. The plant has been enlarged in every department, the original five kilns have grown to nine and the plant has been kept in modern condition.

Vintage post card featuring the Crooksville decorating room

After fifty-six years of production, the pottery closed in 1958. At the time of closure, there were 160 employees. Layoffs began on March 1st and continued with a gradual shutdown until there were only six people left. The company continued to decorate dinnerware stock as long as possible. Harry J. Bennett, president of the company starting in 1941, stated foreign competition was the main reason for the shutdown. Other officers at the time included F. E. Kincaid, vice president and Frank E. Bennett, attorney and secretary.

The following letter was sent out to all shareholders of the company on March 10, 1959:

At the last meeting of the shareholders of The Crooksville China Company, it was resolved that the officers of the corporation should proceed with the liquidation of your corporation. In accordance with this mandate, the officers of the corporation have proceeded with the liquidation as rapidly as possible. Manufacturing operations were suspended in May of 1958 and the ware and numerous small items have been sold or otherwise disposed of. The tax liability of your company has been paid in full except some current taxes, and the indebtedness of the corporation has been reduced accordingly. Three of the largest assets of the corporation, the two tunnel kilns and the conveyor system, have not been sold and the officers of the corporation have been unable to find anybody interested in purchasing these assets. The same is true of the real estate belonging to the corporation. It appears at this time that the remaining assets belonging to the corporation will be insufficient to pay the mortgage indebtedness against this property. Enclosed is a statement showing the present financial condition of your corporation. This shows that the corporation is insolvent and that a substantial loss will be incurred by the holder of the mortgage on the property of the corporation.

The past winter has been extremely hard on the property due to the cold weather and other adverse conditions that arose as a result of the inability to maintain heat in the premises. The officers are most anxious to wind up all of the affairs of the corporation, and have received from the holder of the first mortgage on this property an offer to accept the same in full settlement of all claims which the first mortgage holder has against the assets of the corporation. A resolution has been passed by your Board of Directors accepting the offer and it has been suggested that the same be submitted to the shareholders for their comments and suggestions. Accordingly, the officers and directors of your corporation have approved the offer made, subject to shareholder approval. It is understood that if a buyer should be found for the remaining assets of the corporation, the same will be given first consideration in an endeavor to salvage something from the property for the benefit of the general creditors and shareholders.

It is the opinion of your Board of Directors that some action should be taken forthwith to wind up the affairs of your company, and that any delay will result in additional losses to the company and to the holder of the first mortgage on the assets of the company. Accordingly, a meeting of the shareholders has been called for the 26th day of March, 1959, at the offices of the company on China Street, Crooksville, Ohio. The sole purpose of the meeting will be to decide whether or not the offer to turn over the remaining assets of the company to the holder of the first mortgage in full satisfaction of all claims which he has against the corporation, should be accepted. We urge you to be present at this meeting. If you find that it is impossible to be present, we urge you to forward your proxy which is enclosed. In view of the tax questions that are involved, we feel that it would be to your advantage to attend this meeting, either in person or by forwarding your proxy.

By order of the Board of Directors
The Crooksville China Company
Frank E. Bennett, Secretary

On June 15, 1964, an announcement was made in the Zanesville, Ohio newspaper, The Times Recorder, about the pottery being razed. Of particular interest was, "W. A. Showers Building Company was contractor for the structure erected in 1901. It was more than a little ironic that W. A. (Bump) Showers, its builder, died at the age of 91 the day before workmen began dismantling the structure."

Vintage post card featuring the Crooksville China, no postmark. Circa 1915.

Postcard dated May 20, 1907

Trade advertisements featuring Crooksville China.

Elite shape, 1911

Columbia shape, 1919

Pattern D5 on Columbia, early 1920s

Columbia shape, early 1920s

Hostess shape, 1925

Hostess shape, 1925

Silhouette pattern, 1930

Portrait of a Rose on Provincial, 1930

Sunrise pattern, 1936

New Dawn shape, 1939

Cornell announcement, 1941 (La Grande shown)

The Floral Symphony on La Grande, 1948

Pan-American on Cornell

Patterns on Cornell and La Grande, 1947

Hibiscus on Gray-lure, 1949

Glendale on Cornell, 1949

Palm Springs on Cornell, 1950

Brambleberry on restyled La Grande, 1950

Provincial, 1929

New Dawn, 1938

Columbia shape, early 1920s

Columbia shape, early 1920s

Mayfair pattern, 1939

Tiffany pattern, 1954

Italian Basket pattern on the Dartmouth shape

Berkley pattern on Sun-lure, 1952

Pink body dinnerware announcement, 1954

Dinnerware by Steubenville Pottery, Royal China, and Crooksville
from a Flare-Top/Eat-It-All premium catalog from the late 1950s.

Promotional photo for the "Waldorf" pattern, dated February 20, 1956

From The Crooksville-Roseville Messenger, September 29, 1965

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