Learn about Hull Pottery and how to collect it. Get tips on popular lines.
What is the history of Hull Pottery?
The A. E. Hull Pottery Company was established in Crooksville, Ohio, in 1905. The pottery produced stoneware and stoneware specialties. By the 1920’s, A. E. Hull Pottery was considered to be quite successful. Along with its facilities in Crooksville, Hull had a warehouse in New Jersey, and had offices in New York, Chicago and Detroit. Hull Pottery weathered the Depression by closing down the New Jersey warehouse and by discontinuing their practice of importing and carrying European pottery lines. During the 1930’s, Hull Pottery moved more into the production of art pottery. This began the period that produced much of the pottery that Hull is famous for today. Hull Pottery went on to produce almost thirty years of fine American art pottery. However, by the 1960’s, Hull, at least according to current viewpoints, started to decline. They moved away from artware while introducing florist, kitchen, and tableware lines. Hull Pottery Company closed in 1986, a victim of overseas competition and company infighting.
What is the best way to start a collection of Hull Pottery?
Buy a book, educate yourself, join a local art pottery club. If you are serious about collecting ANY pottery, you should be able to recognize a piece without checking for a manufacturers mark. Also, pottery reference books will give you an idea about how much a piece is worth. That being said, use the prices listed in the reference books with a grain of salt as prices vary across the country and according to the individual piece. Some collectors will pay a premium to have a vase or teapot that is missing from their collection, particularly if that piece is rare.
Many people start their collections with later pieces. Most later pieces are less expensive and they tend to be easier to find. For instance, the Imperial line, a line of planters and vases for florist shops, along with the House and Garden Serving-Ware lines (both from the 1960’s-1970’s) can still be found from time to time at garage sales.
The most popular lines were run from the late 1930’s through the late 1940’s. These lines, including Open Rose, Iris, Thistle and Pinecone, Sueno Tulip, and Calla Lily, all come in soft appetizing pastels with a matte finish. After a flood and subsequent fire in 1950, Hull finished most of its pottery in gloss. These are currently less popular. Another very collectible line, produced from 1943-1957, was based on the Little Red Riding Hood story. This series included cookie jars, wall pockets, salt and pepper shakers, pitchers, and coin banks.
This brings us to the next subject. Where can you buy Hull Pottery?
The most obvious place to start is at your local antique store. While you are in the antique store, see if they have any trade newspapers or magazines. These papers are generally free and will lead you to your next two options: Antique flea markets and antique show events. The trade magazines should list local events, dates and times, and admission costs, if any. Next, try using an on-line auction house, but make sure you read all the fine print in the descriptions and that you remember that you will have to add in shipping and insurance! Finally, check your local papers for garage sale listings and estate sale listings. Sometimes, sales, particularly estate sales, will list Hull Pottery as part of their advertisement if they are selling off a particularly large collection.
Enjoy your search for Hull Pottery. The hunt is a big part of the fun!
P.S. Two very difficult pieces to come by are the Tropicana Basket and Tropicana Vase, from 1959. These two pieces tend to go for list price, even on on-line auction houses. If you find either one, BUY IT! Better yet, find them both!