Typical of the marbles of the late 19th century these were called Benningtons because they imitated the glaze made famous by the Bennington potters of Vermont. These however were most probably made in Oakland at the Oakland Pottery Works which distributed marbles all over the west. The glaze is variegated brown with touches of green which actually is blue glaze that has mixed with the brown from a neighboring marble while they were still wet.The brown marbles which had quite a lot of green were called fancies. They were acquired by the donor's father Alvin as a child for use in marble games. He was born in San Francisco in 1879. George H. Horton, the donor was born in 1919 in Oakland. He played with the marbles acquired by his father as well as accumulating marbles of his own. These marbles were commonly refered to by their nickname "crockies". (D. Cooper, 6/2002) There is no "Oakland Pottery Works" in the Oakland Directories for the 1880s and 1890s. As a guess, these marbles may have been made by the Oakland Art Pottery and Terra Cotta Works at 1125 East 12th Street near 23rd Avenue.

From the WPA history of Oakland, pg. 840-841About 1874, another entrepreneur name Serrill Windsor erected at Twelfth St. and Twenty-thrid Ave., East Oakland, the California Pottery and Terra Cotta Works, specializing in sewer and chimney pipes, and using annually 1000 tons of clay from Ione, Amador County. The undertaking met with great success from the beginning, and by 1885 was producing among other articles 700 three inch and 300 eight-inch pipes every ten hours.After the basic clay, mixed with common loam in the proportion of five to one was put through a pug mill, and had been shaped and dried, the sewer pipes thus fabricated were burnt in a kiln twenty-one feet in diameter and the chinney pipes in a kiln eighteen feet in diameter. Almost level with the tons of these kilns was an eighty by hundred foot chamger with perforated flooring, where as a rule abour 25,000 feet of sewer and chimney piping were constantly undergoing a drying process in preparation for firing. In a finishing room the final touches were added to prepare the two products for market. This part of the establishment also boasted a special workship, fifty by 100 foot, for stove pipes and a separate department for turning out T and Y pieces and branches.In the terra cotta section of the factory the clay was first ground and sifted, and the loam was washed and screened. Here the kiln measured fourteen feet in diameter and burnt at one loading bean pots, filters, cane and umbrella stands, figures and all sorts of architectural pieces. In this division moreover, there was a mold room in which two stoves burnt all the year round, a presser chamber, a joggering room for finishing, and a glaze mill which ground for three days on one charge.In the 90s, the California Pottery and Terra Cotta Works were reported to be still actively competing wiht other Pacific Coast companies. The personnel during that period numbered twenty skilled operatives, with only a few Chinese who had not yet been replaced by white labor. The superintendent was Joseph Thomaseck who came from a family of expert potters.While Daniel Brannan (see San Antonio Pioneer Pottery) and Serrill Windsor had ample funds to launch their enterprises, a third master potter, James Miller, lacked adequate facilities in the inditail stages and yet in course of time managed to develop from an extremely humble beginning into one of the largest establishments of it kind on the Pacific Coast. In 1875, in a room measuring only twelve by twelve feet, this man began on a very modest scale to model and mold clay into object d'art which he peddled from door to door. His work was so good that in a few months he had more orders than he could fill...hire assistants, moved to larger quarters. Eventually, in the early '80s. Miller erected the Oakland Art Pottery... at the corner of Twelfth Street and Nineteenth Ave....A description of the factory follows giving dimensions, workrooms, number of kilns. The following articles are manufactured: sewer pipe and fittings, ornaments and trimmings for buildings, chimney tops, garden vases, "antique' urns, flower pots, etc.... Material used comes from Michigan Bar and about 50 men are employed....In 1888, the pottery moved to large quarters...In 1893, the plant also turned out plaques and tiles and used a special kiln for firing hand-painted china.

Used: Alvin Horton | San Francisco | George H. Horton | Oakland

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