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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Now You Know--Louisville Ky Famous Potteries

Owing to the abundance of ancient clay deposits in the region, Louisville has been a center of pottery-making for generations.

John B. Taylor--founded 1815 sold 1970 to Louisville Stoneware

Louisville Pottery which became Louisville Stoneware--founded 1815 still exists

M A Hadley Pottery--inception 1940--storefront 1944 still exists

This and the following photos just show some of the variety that we have available.

I only listed three of the many known potteries established thru the years in the Louisville area because these are the ones I'm asked the most questions about. Many do not realize for example that John B Taylor was bought out by Louisville Stoneware or that Mary Alice Hadley worked for John B Taylor prior to branching out on her own.  Another confusing issue for some is the fact that Louisville Stoneware produced some of the same pattern designs originated by John B Taylor.


 John B Taylor

The JB Taylor Company was founded in 1815 in Louisville, Kentucky. But it was not owned by John B. Taylor until 1938. In 1970 the company was sold and became known as Louisville Stoneware.  Some of the old patterns are still in production as well as many new designs.

Some of the oldest patterns include Harvest and Vintage. In the earlier days, the artists were likely to experiment with different designs and you can occasionally find a unique treasure in antique/consignment shops.  Because Louisville Stoneware still uses the original designs today, to identify the oldest it has to be marked  John B Taylor.  Some collectors prefer only John B Taylor pieces, so you should expect to pay more for the pieces marked/identified as John B Taylor.

John B Taylor pieces

One of the better known potters to work for John B. Taylor was MA Hadley (Mary Alice Hadley), who started a company of her own. MA Hadley is very collectible and highly sought after for their varied and creative hand painted patterns.

M A Hadley
By the late 1930’s Mary Alice Hadley began melding her artistic talent with her knowledge of clay ware. In 1939, Mrs. Hadley made dishes for her houseboat on the Ohio River. The creative result was a set of a custom dishes that caused such a stir among her friends and acquaintances that the idea for a business was born. Supplying those early requests provided wide circulation for her hand-crafted pottery and soon orders began to arrive from across the country. With the help of her husband, George, the Hadley Pottery Company was formed early in 1940.
In 1944, George Hadley purchased a building in the Butchertown area of Louisville as a birthday present for Mary Alice. The building, constructed in 1848, has been home to a wool mill, a candle factory and a cordage mill and for 65 years has served as the production location, factory salesroom and offices of Hadley Pottery Company. Many pieces of original art created by Mary Alice Hadley are still on display at the historic structure on Story Avenue, including several wall murals all hand-painted by Mary Alice herself. She worked at the Pottery until her death in 1965. George Hadley continued to run the business until it was sold in 1979 to Louisville natives, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth W. Moore. In September 2009, new partners joined the Hadley Pottery ownership group, but operations remain largely the same as they were when the company was started. The creative inspiration that Mary Alice Hadley brought to the ware still lives today. 

                                           M A Hadley pieces

Louisville Stoneware

Louisville Stoneware is located in the Highlands section of Louisville.  Founded in 1815 as Louisville Pottery and then becoming Louisville Stoneware, is known for creating fanciful stoneware that is nationally renowned. It specializes in decorating its pottery with  Kentucky Derby  and Christmas themes, but it has other themes as well: Noah's Ark, Primrose, Pear etc being examples. You can also request specialties or go to their location to decorate your own.
Items from Louisville Stoneware are in the Smithsonian Institution and White House.  In addition, Queen Elizabeth II was presented a  music box made by Louisville Stoneware, given by the wife of Kentucky's governor Ernie Fletcher, that played My Old Kentucky Home when the Queen visited Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby in 2007..

Louisville Stoneware pieces


  1. I am really very thankful to you for this blog , because in this blog we can easily get much more info related to property in louisville, so thankful to you. With the help of this blog we can easily get idea about that property, so thankful to you. homes for sale in louisville ky.

  2. You are welcome and nice to know you find the information we share beneficial.

  3. Do you know anything about the green plaid pattern? All are signed by John b Taylor on the back. I have several pieces I would like to find more about

  4. Momty, The most I can tell you is that Jonh B Taylor ended in 1970 when purchased by Louisville Stoneware. Since marked John B Taylor they would of been produced prior to 1970. Louisville Stoneware did continue making this pattern, uncertain of time frame, but those pieces would be marked Lou Stoneware. Any pattern marked John B Taylor has a little more value than a piece of Lou Stoneware in today's market.
    An example is : cereal bowl
    J B Taylor $15.00 M A Hadley $12.50 Lou Stoneware $10.00
    I hope this helps, also realize prices are everchanging according to demand, sometimes up and sometimes down. The bottom line is everything is worth what someone is willing to pay. My advice is always buy what talks to you and you'll be satisfied a very long time. Do not buy for so called current value because it can and does change.

  5. My husband and I were able to purchase a vintage lot of John B. Taylor, Louisville in the blue grape pattern, mostly serving pieces. Can you give me your personal recommendation on how to sell this either on eBay or Etsy or another site. I would prefer to sell individual pieces (the huge tureen with lid) for example. Your site has given me outstanding information, thanks in advance.

  6. I have some salad plates in "Vintage." They're signed John B. Taylor Louisville, KY. If I'm reading the other posts correctly, these plates predate 1970. Is there any way to further identify the time period? Thanks.

  7. Hi, I recently purchased a Tom and Jerry set with man in bow tie/top hat. It's signed jbt

    1. Hi, just curious what you paid as I have this set I am trying to sell.

  8. I have a large heavy stoneware casarole with lid and a pear handle. It has John B. Taylor signature mark on bottom. Design is squiggle green with green pears around both pieces. Can you help me figure out what I have for sure. Thanks Gail

  9. Hi,
    I have 16 place setting as well as several cabinets full of addition bowls, casserole pieces, canisters, etc. I have several different marks on the bottoms that signify time periods the pottery was made. Is there a site I can go to that will show visuals of each mark and when the piece was made? I also have a concern about lead in the pottery before 1970. Could you also give me more information? This pottery was used in my parents house on a daily basis in the 60's and 70's, and I have used it for the last 45 years. That is a total of about 60 years. Somewhat concerned about the lead! Thank you for any information you can give me.

  10. I neglected to mention the pottery I am referring to is the John B. Taylor, Harvest or Pear.

  11. I have a service for 12 and many extra pieces of the harvest pear, I think it's called that, I would like to sell. Can you connect me with someone who might be interested in the Knoxville Tennessee area? I have the large tea urn and casserole covered dish as an example of the extras. Thank you,
    Edie Meador