Tile Kiln

Tile Kiln

Books and Ebooks by the Author

Animals in American Folk Art on Sewer Pipe Folk Art Pottery

Clearly, the end-of-day sewer pipe sculptures made by factory workers from the 19th and 20th centuries in the Midwest are one of the last (and least) recognized and appreciated folk art forms in the US.  While only one major book was produced on the topic (Jack Adamson's Illustrated Handbook of Ohio Sewer Pipe Folk Art in 1973) there are a few sources which brought the objects into light.  A perceptive chapter appears in Wendy Lavitt's Animals in American Folk Art from 1990: 

"Workers created these end of the day pieces for themselves, to give as presents or sell for extra income.  They modeled the leftover moist clay that if not used would have hardened into unusable lumps...As people discovered sewer-tile sculpture, the stoneware potteries themselves began using molds to re-create the most popular items such as the lion on a base.  However, most forms remained to sewer tile plants, with workers teaching their fellow workers, handing down "recipes" from the time that the first lion was made (probably about 1900) until well into the 1940s."  Both books are out of print, but often available from used book sources.

Reclining Dog Chewing on a Shoe. While handmade and signed on base "B.J." this was likely a "well-used" mold.  Lack of detail evident.   Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile Pottery Carved Sculpture of African-American Brown Bomber Joe Louis

Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber was active in the late 1930's to the late 1940's.  Born in Alabama and moved to Detroit at age ten... after being visited by a gang of the Klan. Let's not let that happen again.  Best known for his professional record, but also for standing up for civil rights all his life.  In 1934, Louis won his first professional title (for which he earned $59.00) and went on to win all 12 of his fights in 1934, ten by knockouts.  
Fine brown clay with skilled hands, Titled by hand but note on base is illegible.


Joe Lewis clay sculpture Circa 1940  Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile End of Day Pottery Squirrel incised by hand Folk Art

Sewer Tile End of Day Pottery Squirrel incised by hand Folk Art.  Generally, squirrels are not often seen in folk art works.  They were pests and ate grain!  Still, as this was likely made for a child, it is cute!   Signed on base "JM" likely mid-20th Century. Collection Jim Linderman Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Sewer Pipe Sewer Tile Folk Art Monkey with Original Paint and Stamped Superior Clay Ullrichsville Ohio

There were apparently several dozen Sewer Pipe factories in the area around Ullrichsville Ohio.  J.W. Moore comes to mind.  This piece is incised with the company stamp "Superior Clay Corp. from Ullrichsville.  Interestingly, the company stamp often indicated the maker! This piece appears to have been "Handcrafted by Phillip (Patterson)?.

PAINTED Sewer Pipe Pottery is uncommon, but this piece looks to have been, if you will, an "inventory" item, so there may be more with paint. The paint isn't just "slopped" on, it's well done. The date is unknown but is old.  Mid to early 20th Century.

Sewer Tile Monkey painted by hand.  Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Pipe Folk Art Pottery Plaque of a Woman

Sewer Pipe Folk Art Pottery Plaque of a Woman.  Red clay, salt glazed and embellished by hand.  The border was formed by pressing a thumb into the clay. all the way around.  This piece was made "commercially" in that a mold was used, but there is no way to determine how many were made.  This piece was enhanced by the application of a pebble on the neck to represent necklace bauble.  A similar example, sans pebble, is illustrated in Sewer Pipe Folk Art by Jack Adamson.  There is a small, impressed logo of a seated potter under the woman's chin, but it is very hard to see. 9" x 13" 

Collection Jim Linderman / Dull Tool Dim Bulb