Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Anna Pottery

Near a good source of clay in Anna, Illinois, the Kirkpatricks established Anna Pottery in 1859. Near Anna were beds of the brown clay the Kirkpatricks used for their stoneware. There was also a large quarry of kaolin clay, which the company sold to potteries that used this white clay.

In 1860 Anna Pottery employed eleven men and produced "800,000 gallons per year" of pottery (each container was stamped on the side with the number of gallons it could hold). The Anna Pottery was a two-story wood-frame building. The basement contained the clay-grinding equipment powered by horses, a drying room with a hot-air furnace, and two kilns that held up to 2,000 gallons each of stoneware. The upper stories contained storage space and workrooms where pottery was hand formed.

Some of the products made in the pottery were jugs, plates, crocks, pitchers, milk pans, fruit jars, funnels, flower urns, cemetery urns, buckets, fire brick, chimney pots, window sills, arches, roof tiles, stems of tobacco pipes, and drainage pipe. The pottery was also known for its unusual one-of-a-kind pieces of stoneware(snake jugs, cemetery urns). These art pieces reflected ideas and themes of the rural past, temperance, history, and love of nature. 

Cornwall & Wallace owned Anna Pottery from 1860-1896. It remained in the Kirkpatrick family till 1900. It closed in 1910, when consumers preferred more modern and convenient containers of tin and glass. Many Anna Pottery pieces have broken auction records, especially jugs, snake jugs and pigs decorated with maps of the day. The Illinois Fair Jug above from 1864 sold for $86,250 at auction in 2011. (Portions reprinted from the Illinois State Museum site). Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Interesting post, Linda. I enjoyed it.

  2. Hi Rian, thanks, can you imagine a piece of pottery selling for $86,250 ? amazing.

  3. Whow, what a price for a jug. Just think what someone can someday make off our stuff once we're gone...

  4. Hi Barbara, thanks, hopefully they will be able to.

  5. Thanks for a terrific history walk. Now I want to explore further, 😊

  6. Hi Suzi, thanks, inspiring isn't it. Pigs seem to be a popular pottery subject then and now. and the snakes were for scaring folks away from drinking on the jugs. Ha.


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