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Chicago Crucible Pottery

September 16, 2010


Around 1917, Chicago Crucible Pottery was acquired by Northwestern Terra Cotta and began producing its art pottery line. Northwestern Terra Cotta had long since been established in the construction industry, since around 1878, and its acquisition of Chicago Crucible allowed it to continue with its expansion efforts, while also bringing a certain creativity to the collective effort, eventually producing Norweta Pottery.   
The company, prior to acquiring Chicago Crucible Pottery, had already employed closed to 500 people and reported annual sales of around $600,000, which of course, was quite impressive for the time. Eventually, by 1910, the company employed just in its Clybourn and Wrightwood locations around 1,000 people. There’s no doubt the inclusion of Chicago Crucible added even more to the Northwestern Terra Cotta name and reputation by 1917. This, coupled with hiring such impressive artistic-minded folks as Frank Lloyd Wright, the company went on to provide the decorative moldings and artistic aspects as the Civic Opera House, the Chicago Theater, the Wrigley Building and the Randolph Tower. 
As with most businesses during the Great Depression, it suffered greatly and historians say it never returned to its pre-Depression levels. By 1965, the last plant, located in Denver, CO, closed its doors for good. Still, we’re left with impressive pieces from these efforts and it remains a popular art pottery collection for those who appreciate its beauty. You’ll typically find a stamped Chicago Crucible mark on this line of pottery; however, there have been an impressive number of unmarked examples found. Chicago Crucible Pottery remains a favorite among collectors and historians alike. 


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