Carthage's only pottery manufacturing plant was operated under several owners from the mid-1880s to about 1905. Carthage Pottery and Stoneware originally was started by Misters Coppock and Browne. These owners experienced several financial set backs and the operation was reorganized in 1892 with new local owners C. A. Blair, William McMillan, H. L. Rose and Fred Waters along with former owner J. S. Browne. Another reorganization came in 1899 and the company had a brief closing although it made and shipped twenty-eight railroad cars of pottery that year. (1)
Both companies produced utilitarian household pieces but also specialized in jugs from pint-size to 40 gallon vessels. Most documented pieces known today have a deep brown, almost black glaze with a smooth surface. No catalogs have been found to date and very few images of the manufacturing plant exist. Also unknown is when the pottery structures were destroyed.
Originally a single kiln operation, the pottery grew to three kilns and the property was valued at $13,200 during its peak of operation. Its location at High and Parson Streets covered almost two acres west of the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks. When a private railroad spur was added to the pottery in 1892, the company claimed production would increase to 60,000 gallons of wares per month, or about 12 [rail] car loads (2).Most potteries in Missouri at this time (49 in total) were small companies like Carthage Pottery and Stoneware. According to a review of the Carthage pottery in the Missouri Bureau of Geology & Mines Annual Report 1896, if the company used local clay [before 1896], it must not have been successful since the company used Calhoun clay brought in from elsewhere to make its wares (3).Charles Spring of Joplin, Missouri, who was the manager of the company in its final years, brokered at least two different sales of the property to out-of-state investors in 1903 and 1904 at which time it was noted that the plant would be improved and production would be resumed (4). The sale in 1903 stated production would be done by 45 employees and jardinieres and statuary would be produced (5). The home located today at the northeast corner of Limestone and Parson Streets (the southern edge of the old pottery property) could be the same structure as the small home pictured in the 1891 Bird's-eye print detail above. Located to the south of Limestone Street while the pottery was in operation was a lead and zinc mine whose name is not known. The mining structures also appear in the 1891 Bird's-eye print like the pottery complex (although both were not named in the listing of businesses and industries on the original print). The print was drawn by T. M Fowler of Morrisville PA, and printed by T. M Fowler and James B. Moyer. The Powers Museum holds original and reprint versions. The latter was made in 1989 and were printed in sepia ink to distinguish from the original black and white lithographed print.