Tile Kiln

Tile Kiln

Books and Ebooks by the Author

Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe Folk Art Sculpture Spartan for Michigan State University?

The Spartan became mascot of the Michigan State University Football team in, I believe, not long after 1925.  There is no indication this sewer pipe spartan figure was made in Michigan, but the Grand Ledge Pottery mentioned elsewhere on this blog was located a dozen miles from East Lansing, home of the spartans.  Signed on the base "EJE" by the maker, and 4.5 inches tall.  
Collection Jim Linderman

Miniature Clay Boot c. 1900 Akron Ohio American Marble and Toy Company

Miniature clay stoneware boot created circa 1900 by the American Marble and Toy Company in Akron, Ohio. Little more than one inch tall, and produced by the thousands.  My understanding has always been that the factory burned down at some time and boxes of the tiny toys of clay were dug from the ruins.  Sure enough, according to the website American Toy Marble Museum  "...on one unlucky day in 1904, thirteen years after it had been incorporated, The American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company burnt to the ground. This unfortunate event appeared, to some young pilferers, to be a great day for marble collectors: the next morning, every little boy in Akron came down to scavenge and fill his pockets with marbles. This was no play ground, far from being a safe place for such innocent children to be hanging (and looting) about. The police were called in to keep these treasure hunters from unlawfully appropriating the marbles, and soon after, the city ordered the charred remains of the factory to be buried."

Interestingly, the factory was also responsible for the very first SANTA CLAUS toy!  The little fella, known as "Blue Santa" was dug up in 2009...you can hear the story on NPR HERE, and the picture is taken from the BLUE SANTA & FRIENDS SITE which provides the full story.

Tiny Stoneware Boot circa 1900 Collection Jim Linderman
Courtesy Natalie Curley Antiques.

Cannelton Sewer Pipe Company Decorative Ashtray from Frankoma

Cannelton Sewer Pipe Company was founded in 1906 by Henry Clemens in Cannelton Indiana.  They mined clay "from the hill east of Eighth Street" according to company history.  The company lasted some 50 years, until being purchased by an industrial conglomerate called Harsco.  They ran the operation for another few decades, but sold the operation when there were only 20 employees left in 1982.  It is now known as Can Clay and still producing some clay products.  They were known to make some "end of the day" pieces, including a drinking cup with an incised Indian Chief on the piece.

Interestingly, for promotional purposes, the company turned to Frankoma pottery for the decorative ashtray in "prairie green" above.  Likely from the late 1950s, it was created in the "Frankoma 458 series.  

Frankoma Cannelton Sewer Pipe Ashtray with Sewer Pipe raised portion.  Circa 1950 - 1960 Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe Folk Art Pottery Incised Man

Incised Man on a length of sewer pipe. (Detail)  Turn of the Century
Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe (of related interest) Antique Folk Art Brick incised with figural form

Sewer Tile clay and brick makers were two different things, but there is an active community collecting antique bricks.  When bricks are incised with figures such as this little man (the boss?) both forms exhibit the "end of day" whimsical esthetic.

Antique Brick with Incised Man Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe Folk Art Sculpture Baby on the Pot Signed MACK

Well, does this piece depict Mack, or was Mack the maker?  Either way, signed sewer pipe folk art is the most desirable, and this boy on a pot has a prominent signature on the bowl.  
Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile Pottery Folk Art sculpture Kangaroo End of the Day Folk Art

Sewer Pipe  Folk Art sculpture of a  Kangaroo.  An unusual form certainly, but the mostly anonymous fellow who worked the clay had imagination.

Sewer Tile Folk Art Pottery Kangaroo Collection Jim Linderman

A Folk Art Pottery Sewer Tile Study Piece Presentation Box or Whimsy Antique Sewer Pipe Clay

A  sewer tile study piece and small mystery.  Described as a "presentation box" and if so, a highly personal item. It is sweet to consider a hard-working sewer tile worker filling this with gifts for a betrothed, perhaps even containing a ring. 

On the other hand, could this be a doorstop?  The common lion forms have long been considered doorstops. This piece has the weight which would work…and a handle to lift it out of the way. The piece measures six inches long, 3 inches wide and 7 inches tall, with handle. 

The piece is clearly hollow and appears to have been made as a box. The two portions do have a rather elegant and modern curve where they meet.  It also has decorative "feet" which consist of 5 circular sculpted forms. The handle is obviously broken (with several repairs.)  Might it be possible the piece broke through a fall?  Did the same incident which broke the handle create the two halves in such a unusual curved form?

Close inspection shows glaze having seeped into the inside edges  where the pieces meet.  I believe this WAS made as a box for that reason.  It is signed twice.  Once inside the cover "WHIT" and inside the lower piece the same.  Whit is a name, though not the most common.  This also supports the box with handle theory. Still, one would also think a presentation box would be inscribed with incision and decorative work.  A simple and common matter for an "end of day" sculptor.

Finally, this might just be an experiment!  A whimsical attempt at a utilitarian object. 

The piece could be restored to make the handle far less obviously broken, but I love it exactly as it is.  When a piece is restored, all I see when I look at it from then on is the repair!

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Antique Sewer Time Sewer Pipe Pottery Presentation Box late 19th / Early 20th century. Collection Jim Linderman

Large Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe Folk Art Sculpture Man with Sideburns Pottery

Large Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe Folk Art Sculpture Man with a Smile and Sideburns Pottery.  Stable "cracks" came about as this solid chunk of clay was fired.  Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe end of day Match Holder Uhrichsville Ohio and RPPC

Match Holder with striker?  Tree bark surface with monolith (match striker?) 
Circa 1920 Collection Jim Linderman

A similar piece shown in Illustrated Handbook of Ohio Sewer Pipe Folk Art (1973) by Jack Adamson.  His book is the most comprehensive source for Sewer Pipe sculpture.

J. W. Moore was in charge of the dig apparently. Diamond Clay was the name of the company, and related to American Sewer Pipe Company.  Several dozen plants operated in the area. Mr. Moore was also involved with the Triangle Clay Company.

Here, a Real Photo Postcard shows clay miners of the area (organized into the Federal Union of Clay Miners Chapter 9985 marching on Labor Day Collection Jim Linderman

Brick Clay or Sewer Tile Pottery Folk Art of a Woman on Shards?

Sewer tile or Brick Clay Head of a Woman End of Day Folk Art Pottery Sculpture.  Likely early 20th Century.  The figure appears to have been built up over shards and leftover materials.  Applied curls?  Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe Folk Art Man with a Cap Wall Pocket End of the Day

Sewer Pipe tile Folk Art Man with a Cap Wall Pocket End of the Day Pottery sculpture. No date.  Collection Jim Linderman

Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe Reclining Dog Signed B.J. Folk Art Pottery End of Day

Sewer Tile Sewer Pipe Reclining Dog Signed B.J. Folk Art Pottery End of Day
Collection Jim Linderman