William and Samuel Cartwright Pottery

In 1864, William Cartwright and Holland Manley acquired the Stoneware manufacture of Elijah Webster in East Liverpool to make Rockingham and Yellow Ware when the name of The Industrial Pottery Works was adopted. The name was changed to Manley Cartwright & Co in 1872.

When Manley retired from the firm in 1880, the name became The Cartwright Brothers Company. They continued to make Rockingham and Yellow Ware until 1887, when the firm changed over to cream color and semi-porcelain. (The Evening Review, Oct 6, 1934).

It appears that William Cartwright sr (their father), who died in 1876, was an early potter at the firm and did all the color  mixing at the firm. The plant was subsequently controlled by Ambrose, Harry and Frederick Cartwright. It suspended business around 1924. The year 1887 marked a turning point with the shift to whiteware production and enlargement of the manufacture. See clip from The Saturday Review,  Apr 30, 1887. 

 Cartwright Bros. reedited the Windsor and Westminster kettles in whiteware soon after completion of the 1887 enlargement of the factory.  Both Elizabeth Jeffords and Rae Meyers have such kettles (unmarked)  and  the Museum  of Ceramics, East Liverpool, has an example marked Cartwright Bros. 

Who is Nathaniel Plympton?

Nathaniel Plympton is not a potter, he is a merchant from Boston, having a store of imported wares for many years.  The earliest reference to Plympton found is for 1867: the firm Nathaniel Plympton & Co, 143 Milk Street, Boston as he is selling Putnam’s patent bottles (Boston Daily Evening Transcript, Dec 6, 1867).  He then worked in association with Clark, under the name Clark, Plympton & Co, located at 12 Summer Street, in Boston. A few clips from the Boston Daily Evening Transcript for 1870-72 advertise the imports of French Porcelain, and of Parian Statuary including Charles Dickens busts.

By the end of 1872, the association Clark Plympton & Co is severed. Nathaniel Plympton has a crockery store located at 10 Milk Street, Boston. Clip from The Boston Globe Dec 5 1872.

Cartwright Plympton Jeffords

The mystery of the June 3, 1884 patent for a kettle attributed to Cartwright is solved!

Jean-Pierre Dion                                                                                                                       March 4,  2023


In a recent post on the FB group Antique Rockingham & Bennington Pottery, I discussed this kettle from our collection, connecting it to an ad of April 1886 by the Cartwright Bros. Pottery, East Liverpool, O. , advertizing the Windsor Kettle patented on June 3, 1884. I added a clip from a newspaper of Jan 27, 1883  ( The Saturday Review) which mentions this Windsor Kettle and a few others. However, I could not find this mysterious June 3, 1884 patent presumably obtained by Cartwright. I finally solved the mystery through the implication of Nathaniel Plympton and discovered some links between Plympton and Jeffords as well. Results of this research are given here.

Photo Jacqueline Beaudry Dion

No Cartwright patent for June 3, 1884

A careful search in the US patents database revealed that there is no patent granted to Cartwright Bros. on June 3, 1884. Furthermore, the list of patents  granted for the week ending June 3, 1884, published in the Boston Globe, June 5, 1884 does not contain Cartwright’s name.

A Plympton patent for June 3, 1884

However, the same list specifies that a patent was obtained on that day by Nathaniel Plympton of Boston, Mass. for a teapot. Here is the patent in question. There is no doubt in my mind that it describes the kettle on a stand, a tilting kettle that the Cartwright called The Westminster, and without the stand, the Windsor kettle. There must have been a financial arrangement between Plympton and Cartwright for the use of the patent.

Plympton declared bankruptcy in 1875 (Boston Post, June 24, 1875)

Apart from his Crockery Store, Plympton will be granted several Patents in the 1870’s and 1880’s, having to do with improvements in Earthenware Teapots, Kettles and Coffee Pots.  Here again some of his patents seem to have been used by others.

Plympton and Jeffords

In at least one instance, there is a clear collaboration between Nathaniel Plympton and J. E. Jeffords of Philadelphia, PA, concerning a patent for a coffee pot. In this patent of Feb 25, 1879, Plympton, assignor to himself and J. E. Jeffords of Philadelphia, is the inventor of an improvement in cover attachments for earthenware pots and vessels.

What is extraordinary is not only this collaboration but the specific shape and cover of the coffee pot illustrated in the patent.  It is easy to recognize the Jeffords coffee pot pictured in Barber (Pottery and Porcelain of the United States, 1893, p. 251). This a further confirmation, if needed, that it was indeed produced by Jeffords, and the period is c. 1879. The Barber’s Jeffords pitcher is the one in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I am told.

Coffee Pot by Jeffords, photo reproduced from Barber's book, p. 251

Plympton did obtain other patents, notably on June 28,1870; June 9, 1877; July 2, 1878, Feb 25, 1879. The one for 1870 was probably sold to J. E. Jeffords since it appears impressed on the bottom of teapots (one with a medallion pattern, one with the basket weave a pattern)  and serving bowls. The mark reads:’’ Fire Proof / J. E. Jeffords & Co. / Phila. / Patented June 28 1870’’. Of course the patent is not about the patterns but about grooves underneath the piece to prevent it from cracking under the heat of the fire in the stove.

I am indebted to Elizabeth Jeffords and Rae Meyers for discussions about the Jeffords Patents which induced me to look for this specific 1879 one. I should add that Rae Meyers independently found this 1879 patent. Elizabeth Jeffords has  copies of most of the J. E. Jeffords patents. Thanks to Louise Chamard for pointing out the existence of a marked example of the Cartwright Bros kettle in white ware, at the Museum of Ceramics, East Liverpool.