Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

March 5, 2013

What’s in the Attic? UHL pottery

Greensburg — Business was booming for the Uhl family, of Lisberg Germany, in the 1840s.

But August Uhl had dreams of going to America, the land of opportunity. So in 1848 he left his home and his father’s business in pursuit of that dream.

After months of travel by river boat, testing clay samples along the Ohio River, he settled in Evansville. Within the year, he was joined by his younger brother Louis, and “A & L UHL” of Evansville was formed.

It seemed like a winning combination with August managing the business and Louis making jugs, jars, garden vases and stone pumps. But success was not immediately at hand, for the clay of Evansville turned out to be a lesser quality than August had originally thought. The product was substandard, and the company suffered substantial losses.

Hearing rumor of the rich clay deposit of nearby Huntingburg, he once again set out to test soil samples.

This time he found the high quality clay the company needed and  “A & L UHL” began transporting the rich clay to their Evansville location by boat and mule-pulled drays. While this raised the quality of their products, transport was timely and expensive. So, in 1897 Louis Uhl bought out his brother’s interest in the company and with his son, George, relocated to Huntingburg reopening the pottery under the name “UHL & Son.”

In 1908, the ownership of the company underwent yet another change when George Uhl sold his interest to his brother Charles and the factory was renamed, “The UHL Pottery Company.” For the better part of the next four decades they experienced great success with their famous “Acorn Wares” that were sold to stores, resorts and wineries through out the US and Canada. The company, which survived World War I, The Great Depression and the majority of World War II, closed in the mid-1940’s due to a labor dispute.

Crocks, jugs and garden/utilitarian ware are the most common UHL pieces. Christmas jugs, hand-turned pieces, miniatures and novelty items are harder to find and will demand a higher price. The color of glaze is also a determinate to price with teal, purple, blue and mauve selling for more than yellow, pumpkin, white, black, and brown/tan.

Pieces made before 1920 were painstakingly hand-turned by kick wheel. This process required the potter to continually pump a lever while forming a flat disc of clay into the desired shape. Each piece was completely formed by the potters hands, a sponge and a flat piece of wood called a “rib.”

A unique feature of UHL pottery from this era was the slip glaze used to line each piece. Made from mineral deposits that are only found in Albany, N.Y., the result was an acid proof mahogany colored lining that was both aesthetically appealing and practical. These early pieces are of particular interest to collectors.

Identification can require some study as several marks were used through the years and 70 percent of all older UHL items are unmarked. Newer pieces, made by the Uhl family, have been dated since 1991 to avoid confusion with the highly collectible pieces from the original factory.

For a rare chance to view the works of the UHL Pottery Company mark your calendars for Sunday, March 10 when the Cuskaden Auction Service in St. Paul will be offering more than 70 pieces from a private collection for sale. For pictures and full details go to www.cuskadenauctions.com. Hope to see you there.

Linda Hamer Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at 317-429-7887 or lkennett@indy.rr.com.

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • nei-gb082014-linda kennett column pic A collecting bonus? It's in the cards Remember the packs of sports trading cards from the 1970s and 80s? I recently stumbled across several boxes of them that I thought my son had taken when he bought his first home 15 years ago. But there they were, still in the closet and mixed among t

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • nei-gb082014-homemakers column file photo Summer has flown by It seems summer is nearly gone. The State Fair is over, the Power of the Past is gone for another year, and the children are back in school. It may be time to think about getting involved in making and donating some items for Riley Hospital. We alw

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pat Smith: Goofy golf raises breast cancer awareness Last week I stopped in to ask Susan Doerflinger Burkhart to please interpret a letter I received from an insurance company I had two or more years ago. As usual, she was able to ease my mind. While there she asked if I was going to play in the all-fe

    August 20, 2014

  • Craft brewers, vintners bring spirits to State Fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week.When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putti

    August 19, 2014

  • Back to the classroom These days, it seems like the summers are going by even faster than they did when I was a student! Just yesterday, the temperatures were beginning to warm up and children were hanging up their backpacks. Now, many of them are already back in the clas

    August 19, 2014

  • Our children and their children Let’s ponder “our children” and “their children.”First, Gov. Mike Pence made a wise call this past week when he ordered the Department of Child Services to begin reimbursing families who had adopted special needs children.A class action lawsuit filed

    August 19, 2014

  • Remember the joy Williams gave Ball State’s Wes Gehring, the author of dozens of books on Hollywood stars, says the apparent suicide of Robin Williams will not tarnish the comedian’s legendary achievements.Williams was found dead Monday in his California home. He was 63.“As the li

    August 16, 2014

  • Why government fails Whatever our political stripe, we all want government to fail less often. Citizens and the media need to pressure elected officials to spend more time digging into the nitty-gritty of fixing bureaucracies.As election season approaches, I’ve been pond

    August 14, 2014

  • Giving young people a second chance How many of you know what the Hoosier Youth ChalleNGe Academy is? More basically, how many of you know where it is? I had a vague notion of where it is, but I would have been hard-pressed to tell you much about what it is.The Hoosier Youth ChalleNGe

    August 14, 2014

  • Camping for kicks and giggles (The chances of pitching your tent on a hill of fire ants are directly proportional to the distance from the nearest hospital.)Camping, most notably primitive style, can be a rewarding and fun experience, especially if the site is on the bank of a ho

    August 14, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.