Our museum feature, a cruet set with metal stand, a 4-quart covered casserole with metal stand, and a samovar were produced in the Round-Up dinnerware pattern by Red Wing Potteries.
Nestled by the Mississippi River in the shadow of a river promontory, the Red Wing Stoneware Company by the late 19th century was part of the commercial structure of a city that had become an industrial powerhouse in the upper Midwest. Author Ray Reiss in his book, “Red Wing Art Pottery,” notes that the city was incorporated in 1864, just 6 years after Minnesota had been admitted as a state into the Union. Red Wing bustled with manufacturing plants, grain elevators, and extensive docks as a port on the Mississippi. After deposits of clay were discovered nearby, the city ultimately became the largest single producer of utilitarian stoneware in the nation, writes Ray Pahnke in an article, “The Largest Pottery,” in the “Red Wing Collectors Society Newsletter.”
A potter, German immigrant John Paul, is credited with discovering the clay deposits near Red Wing in 1861, writes Ray Reiss. Paul sold his handmade wares to friends and neighbors, and small potteries sprang up in the area. Red Wing Potteries, Inc., founded in 1936, emerged from a series of different companies (no less than five!), commencing with the Red Wing Stoneware Company in 1878. These corporate changes make for interesting challenges for collectors of Red Wing pottery, which, of course, is part of the attraction!
The handmade tradition of immigrant Paul’s wares was carried forward in the products of Red Wing Potteries. With the development of modern mechanical refrigeration, along with the passage of the Volstead Act and the era of Prohibition, commercial demand for stoneware jugs and crocks declined dramatically. Responding to these marketing changes in the late 1920s, Red Wing Potteries introduced its Art Pottery line, crafting decorative flower pots and kitchenware. In 1932 the company began producing Art Pottery for legendary marketing agent George Rumrill. Produced until 1937 and marked with Rumrill’s last name, these pieces are highly sought after by collectors today. Pieces from the decorative flower pot, kitchenwares, and Rumrill collections represent important contributions to the history of the Arts and Crafts movement in the U.S.
At about the same time that the company changed its name to Red Wing Potteries in 1936, it began to produce dinnerware. Round-Up, which shows the strong influence of the American West, with cowboys, corrals, steers, and chuck wagons in its whimsical designs, was produced in 1958. The hand-painted pieces are playful, as can be seen in the different finials on the casserole and samovar (referred to as a “two-gallon water cooler” in Red Wing marketing literature, the piece sometimes included a ceramic stand). Round-Up was one of the patterns in the company’s “Casual” line, introduced in 1955 in response to the changing American lifestyle following the end of World War II.
While the Red Wing Round-Up cruet set, casserole, and samovar in our museum are not for sale, Replacements, Ltd. carries a great selection of Red Wing patterns that are available for purchase. Be sure to browse our web site. And remember that we always invite you to visit our facilities – here you’ll see a stunning variety of silver, china, crystal, and collectibles! Our warehouse facilities (the size of 7 football fields) hold more than 13,000,000 individual pieces in more than 425,000 patterns! Our Showroom and Museum are open from 9:00am to 7:00pm ET, 7 days a week (except holidays); free tours are available from 10:00am to 6:00pm ET, 7 days a week. The Showroom and Museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you!