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Laurel Potteries
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Laurel Potteries, or more properly the Laurel Pottery Manufacturing Company, was located in Stockton, California. It produced dinnerware from 1938 until 1960.

The article "People at Work" ran in The Stockton Daily Evening Record on Monday, April 28, 1958. It was written by Herbert Stoy and centered around William Glaab and Laurel Potteries:

At top speed, workers at the Laurel Pottery Manufacturing Co., 3323 S. McKinley, handle about 23,000 pieces of dinnerware daily with only 2 percent breakage, a record that would embarrass most housewives.

William Glaab, who came to California in 1938 from Beaver Falls, Pa., on a vacation - and stayed - is plant superintendent and part owner of Laurel Pottery. Six others, all of San Francisco, have an interest in the company.

During his first year here Glaab went to work at the local plant as a designer and mold-maker. At that time Laurel Pottery employed 17 workers and had a $200,000 a year business.

The local concern now employs about 150 workers and last year enjoyed a business volume of more than one million dollars.

Laurel Pottery facilities originally were constructed to house a tomato cannery. The plant then was converted to manufacture red-clay flower pots. In 1938 production was turned exclusively to dinnerware and remains so with one exception - ashtrays.

The plant is an independent company, this being the only production site. Its shipments, however, reach throughout the U.S., Canada, Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, and Guam. The Stockton company services more than 300 Woolworth stores alone, and the Matson steamship line.

Except for a skeleton staff the plant is closed at present to permit movement of a heavy inventory. Glaab admits that competition from Japan primarily, Germany and Czechoslovakia, has hurt business. These countries enjoy low import duties in the U S.

Clay used in the manufacture of Laurel dinnerware comes from Ione and Knights Ferry. Another interesting fact is that the plant uses about $3,100 worth of gas each month to operate the kilns used for hardening and drying the ware.

Dinnerware products made by Laurel Pottery come in 28 different color shades. The company produces five separate lines or designs in each of which there are over 100 individual items. A new pattern is developed each year at a cost of about $5,000.

From October 1960 to March 1961, articles appeared newspapers across the country about lead poisoning and Laurel Potteries. One such notice ran in The Chico Enterprise-Record of Chico, California on Monday, October 31, 1960:
The Butte County Healt Department has received notice of a Claifornia produced pottery that proudced lead intoxication. "Cerama Stone" dinnerware produced by the Larurel Pottery Manufacturing Company, operated by Laurel Potteries of California, can cause lead intoxication if acid or alkaline foods are repeatedly eaten from them, or when such foods are consumed after being left in the dishes for storage, the department was notified.

Local merchants have been asked to remove any colored Laurel Company "Cerama Stone" ware from their shelves and to notify the health department. The manufacturer has made arrangements to replace all of the potentially hazardous dinnerware.

So far no cases of poisoning from this product have been reported in California, although two cases of adult lead poisoning from "Cerama Stone" ware have been reported elsewhere.

The two cases mentioned in the article above were from Cincinnati, Ohio. Rather than continue, Laurel Potteries closed in December 1960 and in May 1961, the plant was purchased by Sylvan Ceramics, Inc. Sylvan Ceramics had previously operated in Pasadena, California.

According to a May 17, 1961 issue of The Stockton Daily Evening Record, Sylvan Ceramics would produce, "ceramic pottery - ash trays, servers, lazy susans, and dinnerware" and that the company had "pioneered a new type of glaze" which would be non-toxic.

Below are a few of the dinnerware shapes made by Laurel Potteries during its roughly twenty-two year run.



China, Glass & Decorated Accesories, July 1948.

Montgomery Ward's Holiday flyer

China, Glass & Lamps, March 1952.

China, Glass & Lamps, April 1955.

Crockery & Glass Journal, December 1954.


A sampling of Montgomery Ward's catalog advertisements for Laurel Potteries' Holiday dinnerware from the 1950s.

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