|This article originally appeared in the 1970 Pottery Festival Souvenir Program|
The most important industry of East Liverpool is the manufacture of pottery. It was here that yellow ware was first made in America.
James Bennett, an Englishman, from Derbyshire, where he had been a packer in a yellow ware pottery, while traveling afoot from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh in 1839 stopped awhile en route in East Liverpool, and discovering the presence of clay well adapted to the production of yellow ware, conceived the idea of engaging in the manufacture of that article. With the assistance of Anthony Kearns, Benjamin Harker, George Hollingsworth and George Thomas, he built a small pottery, 20x40 feet, near the river at the foot of Second Street. The first kiln was fired in 1840.
Isaac Knowles purchased two crates of this ware, and took it down the river on a trading boat. Bennett peddled the balance through the country in wagons and cleared $250.00 on his first kiln. Bennett was encouraged and sent to England for his three brothers, Daniel, Edwin and William, who with Edward Tunnicliffe, a dishmaker, joined him that year. They continued to make yellow-ware till 1845, when they removed to Birmingham, Pa. and later to Baltimore, Md., where their successors still manufacture pottery.
Thomas Croxall & Brothers purchased the old Bennett Pottery and operated it until 1853, when it was purchased by I. W. Knowles, who transferred it to the site of the present A. & P. Supermarket. The ground upon which the old Bennett Pottery stood has long since been washed away by the river. In 1870 the Knowles. Taylor & Knowles Company were the first to begin the manufacture of white ware. Since then others went into the same branch of business until today there are five potteries in the tri-state area manufacturing fine pottery ware.