Wheeling’s Renowned Recognized by Collectors

Flow blue is hot in the antiques market today and this piece by Warwick is in perfect shape and features a gold trimmed design.

With the talk of Wheeling’s upcoming 250the anniversary in 2019 and a celebration in the works, I’m returning to a point of pride for our city — Wheeling’s success in the world of pottery.

Ebenezer Zane established the settlement in 1769, which went on to become the first capitol city of the new state of West Virginia in 1865. Actually, Wheeling can brag about many of its past moments in history, including the opening of the historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge in 1849 and the arrival of the National Road in 1818.

But did you know that pottery made in Wheeling from the late 1800s was shipped all over the world? Even today, Wheeling-made pottery remains tops with collectors and antique enthusiasts everywhere.

Shown in today’s column are some antique pottery pieces that illustrate the beauty and variety of pottery produced here in the Friendly City during the late 1800s and into the mid-20th century.

Pottery collectors find Warwick China Company’s products especially lovely to collect. This china was made in a factory located in Center Wheeling, just next to the location of today’s Orrick Company. There’s also a granite monument that recalls the work of Warwick artisans situated along the fitness trail near Heritage Port.

The name Warwick dates back to its beginnings in 1887, and its inspiration was found in the Warwick Castle, located in England. The trademark of its initial pieces was a knight’s helmet with crossed swords — continuing this romantic idea of castles, knights and elegance.

The helmet and crossed-swords mark was the first mark Warwick used. It was registered in 1905 and variations of the mark were still being used in the 1940s, according to Kovels.com. The company also used other marks over the years.

The company fired its last piece in 1951 and over the years was known for semi-porcelain dinner, tea and toilet sets; vitrified clay hotel ware and dinnerware; and beautiful decorative vases and pieces that include the famous Ladies of the Night line and IOGA ware.

Warwick, Ohio Valley China and Wheeling Pottery also include collecting names like Avon, Riverside and La Belle pottery ware. Today’s collectors enjoy learning about and collecting this fine American made pottery that still looks attractive in contemporary homes.

The beautiful Flow Blue ware might be the most famous in the collecting world. It has been sought after for years but continues to be a popular find on the internet and in antiques shops everywhere. Taking its name from the color of the blue on white ware, Flow Blue was first produced in Staffordshire, England in the 19th century and is named after the blurred blue on white look of the cobalt decoration.

Wheeling-made Flow Blue is so renowned that it is often a hot item on the international collecting scene. So display your Wheeling pottery proudly and enjoy the work of artisans from our past.

If you would like to learn more about Wheeling’s potteries, there are several books available, including the Schiffer collectors volume on Warwick written by John Rader and published in 2000. Loaded with color photographs, it’s still available on Amazon or at second-hand bookstores that cater to collectors.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at zambitomaureen@hotmail.com or by writing in care of this newspaper.

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