About Us

  Home
  Board and Staff
  Policies

Local History

  UHL Pottery
     UHL History 1
     UHL History 2
     UHL Catalog
  Historic Pictures

Favorite Links

  Inspire
  City of Huntingburg
  Local Schools
  Indiana State Library
  Library of Congress
  Access Indiana

Browse Our Catalog


HISTORY OF UHL POTTERY COMPANY
by O. I. (Mockey) Lett

    AUGUST UHL, WHO HAD BEEN OPERATING A POTTERY IN LISBERG, GERMANY, CAME TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1846, AND AFTER BRIEF PERIOD SPENT IN NEW YORK, PITTSBURGH, AND LOUISVILLE, CONTINUED TO EVANSVILLE, WHERE HE ARRIVED IN THE SPRING OF 1848.

    LOUIS UHL, THE YOUNGEST BROTHER OF AUGUST UHL, ARRIVED IN EVANSVILLE IN 1849 AND BEGAN WORK AS A POTTER AND ULTIMATELY FORMED A PARTNERSHIP WITH HIS BROTHER AUGUST WHICH LASTED FOR 33 YEARS.

    THE FIRST UHL POTTERY COMPANY PLANT WAS ERECTED AT 9TH & MAIN STREETS IN EVANSVILLE, AND THE CLAY USED WAS SECURED IN THE VICINITY OF EVANSVILLE. THAT CLAY WAS SOON FOUND TO BE UNSATISFACTORY AND THE OWNERS STARTED PROSPECTING FOR CLAY IN THE SURROUNDING TERRITORY AND FOUND WHAT THEY WANTED AT HUNTINGBURG, IND. THE CLAY MINED AT HUNTINGBURG WAS HAULED TO GRANDVIEW IN WAGONS AND THERE LOADED ON SCOWS AND SHIPPED TO EVANSVILLE WHERE IT WAS TRANSFERRED TO DRAYS AND HAULED TO THE PLANT.

    WHEN THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY OPENED A BRANCH LINE FROM HUNTINGBURG TO EVANSVILLE, THE PLANT AT 9TH AND MAIN STS. WAS ABANDONED AND A NEW PLANT WAS BUILT ON ILLINOIS AND JOHN STS., ADJOINING THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY TRACKS. IN 1908 THE SITE OF THE EVANSVILLE PLANT WAS SOLD AND THE PLANT MOVED TO HUNTINGBURG, WHERE IT WOULD BE NEAR TO THE CLAY DEPOSITS. AT THE TIME, CHARLES UHL, THE SON OF LOUIS UHL WAS IN CHARGE OF THE PLANT AND THE NEW PLANT WAS PUT IN CHARGE OF HIS SON, LOUIS CHARLES UHL, WHO MOVED TO HUNTINGBURG AND MANAGED THE PLANT UNTIL IT WAS CLOSED BECAUSE OF LABOR TROUBLES.

    THE MAIN OFFICE AND A WAREHOUSE WERE KEPT IN EVANSVILLE UNTIL 1934. AT THAT TIME THE MAIN OFFICE WAS MOVED TO HUNTINGBURG, LEAVING A RETAIL SALESROOM AND WHOLESALE WAREHOUSE IN EVANSVILLE.

    AT THE TIME I STARTED WORKING FOR UHL – MR. CHARLES UHL HAD PASSED AWAY AND THE UHL POTTERY COMPANY CONSISTED OF THE DIRECTORS AND STOCKHOLDERS ---

LOUIS C. UHL - SON OF CHARLES UHL
EDGAR M. UHL - BROTHER OF CHARLES UHL
ROBERT C. UHL - SON OF LOUIS C. UHL
JANE UHL - DAUGHTER OF CHARLES UHL
HELEN UHL FARMER - DAUGHTER OF CHARLES UHL


    AS YOU NO DOUBT KNOW I AM SUBSTITUTING FOR BOB, WHO RECENTLY PASSED AWAY. HE WAS THE FIFTH GENERATION OF UHL POTTERS.

    I STARTED WORKING FOR UHL POTTERY COMPANY IN 1929 AFTER GRADUATING FOR HIGH SCHOOL. MY FIRST JOB WAS TO ASSIST IN SHIPPING AND TO TAKE CARE OF THE PAY ROLL.

    WHEN THE OFFICE WAS MOVED FROM EVANSVILLE TO HUNTINGBURG, I WAS MADE BOOKKEEPER AFTER KERMIT WESSEL QUIT. THIS WAS IN THE 1930’S. I CONTINUE TO TAKE CARE OF THE PAYROLL AND SHIPPING AND TOOK CARE OF THE BOOKS AT NIGHT AND ON SUNDAYS.

    WHEN BOB UHL LEFT TO START SELLING FOR US IN FLORIDA I BECAME MR. LOUIS UHL’S ASSISTANT AND WAS MADE SECRETARY OF THE CORPORATION.

    IN THE 1940’S WE HAD LABOR TROUBLE AND WERE ORGANIZED BY THE UNITED BRICK AND CLAY WORKERS. WHEN NO AGREEMENT COULD BE REACHED IN NEGOTIATIONS AFTER A LONG STRIKE MR. UHL, DECIDED TO CLOSE THE PLANT. THIS WAS DONE AND ALL MERCHANDISE WAS SOLD.

    THE PLANT WAS THEN LEASED TO VOGUE POTTERY COMPANY FOR A PERIOD OF TIME AND LATER TO LOUISVILLE POTTERY COMPANY. I DO NOT KNOW WHEN THE PLANT WAS CLOSED FOR GOOD.


UHL POTTERY COMPANY

(1) MINING CLAY –

WHEN I STARTED WORKING AT UHL’S, THEY WERE MINING THEIR CLAY UNDER WHAT IS HOW HIGHWAY 64 AND STAND PIPE HILL. IT WAS A SLOPE MINE WITH A NARROW GAUGE RAIL LINE. THE LINE STARTED AT THE CLAY BIN AT THE PLANT AND EXTENDED BACK INTO THE MINE TO WHERE THE MINERS WERE WORKING. THE CLAY WAS SHOT DOWN WITH DYNAMITE AND LOADED ON SMALL DUMP CARTS. THE CARTS WERE PULLED FROM THE MINE TO THE CLAY BINS AT THE PLANT BY A MULE, WHICH WE CALLED OUR “MINE MULE”. ONE MINER WOULD DRIVE THE MULE TO THE PLANT AND DUMP THE CLAY WHILE THE OTHER MINER WOULD LOAD ANOTHER CAR. THE COAL WHICH WAS IN APPROXIMATELY A 1” TO 1-1/2” VEIN ABOVE THE CLAY WAS ALSO HAULED TO THE PLANT AND BURNED IN OUR BOILER. IT WAS A FAIR GRADE OF COAL AND HELPED OUT CONSIDERABLE IN KEEPING OUR BOILER GOING. WHEN THE CLAY UNDER STAND-PIPE HILL BEGAN TO RUN OUT IT WAS NECESSARY TO START PROSPECTING FOR ANOTHER SOURCE OF SUPPLY. A SUITABLE VEIN WAS FOUND ON THE MEISSNER FARM – SOUTHWEST OF HUNTINGBURG AND THE FARM WAS PURCHASED BY THE COMPANY. THE VEIN OF CLAY WHICH WAS OPENED WAS APPROXIMATELY 4” THICK AND HAD A 1-1/2” VEIN OF COAL OVER IT. MR. UHL ALWAYS CONTENDED THAT THE BEST CLAY WAS FOUND UNDER A VEIN OF COAL. THIS NEW MINE WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL FROM THE MINE, WHICH WAS OPERATED BY LOUISVILLE POTTERY COMPANY OF LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY. A SLOPE MINE WAS OPENED AND THE PROCESS OF MINING WAS THE SAME AS BEFORE WITH ONE EXCEPTION, THAT WAS – WE COULD NOT PULL THE MINE CARS TO THE PLANT. THEREFORE A TIPPLE WAS BUILT WHERE THE CLAY AND COAL WAS ACCUMULATED AND THEN HAULED TO THE PLANT IN A DUMP TRUCK AND DUMPED INTO THE CLAY BIN TO WEATHER BEFORE USING. OF COURSE, WE STILL USED THE MINE TO PULL THE CARS FROM WHERE THE MINERS WERE WORKING INTO THE TIPPLE. BY THE WAY – I WAS ALWAYS INFORMED THAT THE CLAY WE WERE USING WAS ONE OF THE FEW POTTERY CLAYS IN THE COUNTRY THAT COULD BE USED SIMPLY BY WASHING AND FILTER PRESSING FOR STONEWARE. MOST OF THE OTHER STONEWARE PLANTS HAD TO USE A BLEND OF SEVERAL DIFFERENT CLAYS.

(2) PREPARATION OF CLAY FOR MANUFACTURE

THE CLAY FROM THE MINE HAD TO BE STORED IN AN OPEN BIN TO ALLOW IT TO WEATHER. IN OTHER WORDS – THE CLAY FROM THE MINE WAS IN LARGE AND HARD CHUNKS AND COULD NOT BE USED UNTIL THE WEATHER HAD CAUSED THE CLAY TO SOFTEN AND BREAK DOWN INTO SMALLER, WORKABLE PIECES. I DO NOT RECALL HOW LONG THIS WOULD TAKE BUT I AM CERTAIN THAT IT WAS SEVERAL WEEKS. THE CLAY WAS THEN WHEELED INTO THE PLANT AND ELEVATED INTO TWO LARGE BLUNGER MILLS WHERE IT WAS MIXED WITH STEAM AND WATER UNTIL ABOUT THE CONSISTENCY OF CREAM. THIS WAS THEN FED THROUGH A 60 MESH REVOLVING SCREEN TO REMOVE ALL FOREIGN MATTER SUCH AS SAND, PEBBLES, BITS OF COAL, ETC. THAT WERE COARSER THAN 1/60 OF AN INCH. THE SCREENED LIQUID THEN WENT TO A LARGE CISTERN BELOW THE FLOOR. FROM THE CISTERN IT WAS THEN PUMPED INTO A FILTER PRESS. THIS FILTER PRESS CONSISTED OF SOME 85 CHAMBERS EACH OF WHICH WAS LINED WITH A CANVAS FILTER CLOTH. THE CLAY WAS FORCED THROUGH THE FILTER CLOTH INTO THE CHAMBER AND THE WATER WAS FORCED OUT LEAVING A ROUND CAKE OF CLAY ABOUT 1-1/2 TO 2” THICK AND 3 FT. IN DIAMETER. THESE CAKES WERE THROWN INTO A BIN NEXT TO THE PUG MILLS. FROM THIS BIN THE CLAY WAS FED INTO THE PUG MILLS WHERE WATER WAS ADDED TO MAKE THE CLAY OF THE PROPER CONSISTENCY FOR EITHER THE BIT WARE MACHINE OR FOR THE JIGGER WHEELS. THE CLAY FOR THE BIG WARE MACHINE HAD TO BE STIFFER THAN FOR THE JIGGERS. ALSO, ANY CLAY TO BE USED FOR HAND-TURNING WAS ALSO STIFFER. IN FACT THE CLAY FOR THE JIGGERS WAS ALMOST SEMI-LIQUID AND WOULD OOZE THROUGH YOUR FINGERS.

(3) MOULD ROOM

ONE OF THE LARGEST INVESTMENTS OF ANY STONE WARE PLANT IS IN MOULDS. ALL ITEMS MANUFACTURED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE LARGE JARS FROM 6 GAL., REGARDLESS OF SIZE OR SHAPE MUST HAVE A MOULD. UHL POTTERY HAD THEIR OWN MOULD MAKING DEPARTMENT WHERE ALL MOULDS AND PATTERN WERE MADE. THE FIRST STEP IN MAKING A MOULD WAS THE MAKING OF A MODEL. USUALLY THE MODEL WAS MADE FROM PLASTER OF PARIS. THE PLASTER WAS POURED ONTO A REVOLVING WHEEL IN THE APPROXIMATE DIMENSIONS OF THE MODEL. IT WAS THEN LATHED AND CARVED INTO THE DESIRED SHAPE AND SIZE. THEN A MOULD WAS POURED AROUND THE MODEL AND THIS ORIGINAL MOULD WAS THEN MADE TO FIT ONE OF THE RINGS ON THE JIGGER WHEELS. FROM THIS MOULD WAS MADE THE BLOCK AND CASE FROM WHICH ALL, SUBSEQUENT MOULDS WOULD BE MADE. FOR SOME OF THE MORE POPULAR ITEMS WE HAD SEVERAL BLOCKS AND CASES SO THAT MOULDS COULD BE MADE IN A HURRY. OUR OPERATION REQUIRED OUR HAVING MANY MOULDS AS MOST OF THEM COULD ONLY BE FILLED ONCE PER DAY. THE NUMBER OF MOULDS FOR EACH ITEM DEPENDED UPON THE QUANTITY BEING SOLD. THE MAKING OF MODELS, MOULDS AND BLOCKS AND CASES REQUIRED GREAT SKILL AND WE WERE FORTUNATE TO HAVE TWO GOOD MECHANICS OR MODEL MAKERS IN OUR SUP’T PERRY DAY AND MOULD MAKER CLINT FELTNER. AT TIMES, WHEN WE WANTED SOMETHING DIFFERENT MADE WE WOULD GET HELP FROM NORMAN CLEWLOW WHO WORKED IN THE MOULD ROOM OF CROWN POTTERY COMPANY OF EVANSVILLE, INDIANA. NORMAN MADE THE MODELS FOR OUR ICE WATER JAR WITH POLAR SCENE OUTSIDE, OUR C-9 BIRDBATH AND SEVERAL OTHER GARDEN ITEMS. ONE THING I FAILED TO MENTION WAS THAT OUR CLAY WOULD SHRINK AFTER BEING IN THE MOULDS 1” IN 8”, THIS OF COURSE HAD TO BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION IN MAKING ALL MODELS AND MOULDS. SINCE WE HAD TO HAVE SO MANY MOULDS WE PURCHASED PLASTER OF PARIS IN CARLOADS AND STORED IT ABOVE THE MOULD ROOM. ALSO THE STORING OF MOULDS NOT IN USE WAS QUITE A PROBLEM. WE HAD THE THIRD FLOOR OF THE MAIN PLANT FULL OF MOULDS AS WELL AS SEVERAL ROOMS ON THE WEST SIDE OF OUR WAREHOUSE. WE ALSO HAD ONE ROOM IN THE CORNER OF THE WAREHOUSE FOR STORAGE OF BLOCKS AND CASES.

(4) MANUFACTURING

(a) JIGGERING – JIGGERING WAS THE PROCESS OF FORMING THE PIECE OF WARE IN A REVOLVING PLASTER OF PARIS MOULD. THE MOULD WAS PLACED IN THE REVOLVING WHEEL AND A HANDFUL OF MORE OF THE SOFT CLAY WAS THROWN INTO THE MOULD, THEN A SHOE OR TOOL ON A HINGED ARM WAS PULLED DOWN TO FORM THE INSIDE OF THE PIECE OF WARE. THE OUTSIDE BEING FORMED BY THE MOULD, THE SHOE WAS ADJUSTED TO MISS THE INSIDE OF THE MOULD BY THE THICKNESS REQUIRED. THIS METHOD OF MANUFACTURING WAS USED FOR MAKING ANYTHING ROUND IN SHAPE, SUCH AS JARS FROM ¼ GAL., TO 6 GAL. MILK CROCKS FROM 1 PT., TO 2 GAL., ALL SIZES OF BOWLS, AND JUGS FROM ¼ GAL, TO 10 GALLON IN SIZE. THE JUGS WERE MADE IN 2 MOULDS – ONE THAT FIT ON TOP OF THE OTHER. ALSO REQUIRING 2 MOULDS WERE SUCH ITEMS AS COOKIE JARS, BEAN POTS, ICE WATER KEGS AND FLOWER URNS, ETC. IN FACT ANYTHING THAT WAS JIGGERED THAT HAD A BELLY THAT WAS LARGER THAN THE TOP AND BOTTOM. AFTER THE MOULDS WERE FILLED THEY WERE PLACED ON RACKS IN THE DRY ROOM TO DRY FOR APPROXIMATELY 24 HOURS. THE HEAT CAUSED THE PLASTER OF PARIS MOULD TO ABSORB THE WATER FROM THE CLAY CAUSING THE PIECE OF WARE TO SHRINK AWAY FROM THE MOULD. AFTER THE PIECE WAS DRY, IT WAS REMOVED FROM THE MOULD AND THE MOULD WAS REFILLED. THE PIECE OF WARE WAS THEN FINISHED BY SPONGING AND THE ROUGH SEAMS AND EDGES REMOVED WITH A PARING KNIFE. THEN IF A HANDLE WAS REQUIRED, IT WAS PULLED TO THE CORRECT LENGTH AND SHAPE AND STUCK TO THE JUG OR PITCHER.

(B) BIG WARE MACHINE – THE WEEKS BIG WARE MACHINE WAS USED TO MANUFACTURE JARS FROM 6 GAL. TO 60 GAL. THIS MACHINE REVOLVED AND USED STEEL DIES TO FORM THE OUTSIDE OF THE JAR. WE HAD DIFFERENT SIZED DIES FOR EACH SIZE JAR. THE CLAY USED AS MENTIONED BEFORE WAS STIFFER THAN FOR JIGGERING. A BALL OF CLAY OF THE SIZE NEEDED FOR THE PARTICULAR SIZE OF JAR BEING MADE WAS BATTED OUT ON A BENCH BESIDE THE MACHINE TO ELIMINATE ANY AIR POCKETS. THIS WAS THEN LOWERED INTO THE MACHINE BY AN AIR LIFT. THEN A LARGE ROLLER WAS LOWERED INTO THE DIE WHICH FORMED THE INSIDE OF THE JAR, THE OUTSIDE BEING FORMED BY THE STEEL DIE. THE CLAY WAS ROLLED UP THE SIDE OF THE DIE IN THE REQUIRED THICKNESS. WHEN COMPLETED THE JAR WAS LIFTED OUT BY THE AIR LIFT AND CARRIED INTO THE DRY ROOM. AS I REMEMBER IT TOOK MORE THAT ONE-DAY TO DRY THE LARGE JARS. THEY HAD TO BE PERFECTLY DRY BEFORE GLAZING OR ELSE THEY WOULD BLOW UP IN THE PROCESS OF BURNING, IF ANY MOISTURE WAS PRESENT UNDER THE GLAZE IN THE CLAY.

(C) CASTING – FOR MANY OF OUR NOVELTY ITEMS AND MINIATURES THE PROCESS OF MANUFACTURE WAS KNOWN AS CASTING. THE MOULDS WERE FILLED WITH LIQUID CLAY OF THE CONSISTENCY OF CREAM, WHICH WAS A MIXTURE OF CLAY AND WATER WITH A CATALYST TO KEEP THE CLAY IN SUSPENSION. THE WATER WAS DRAWN FROM THIS SLIP (AS THE MIXTURE WAS CALLED) CAUSING THE CLAY TO ADHERE TO THE INSIDE OF THE MOULD. THE MOULDS WERE KEPT FULL BY ADDING THE SLIP UNTIL THE CLAY WAS THE DESIRED THICKNESS FOR THE PIECE BEING MADE. THEN THE MOULDS WERE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN SO THE EXCESS COULD DRAIN OUT. THE MOULDS WERE THEN ALLOWED TO DRY UNTIL THE PIECE COULD BE REMOVED WITHOUT DAMAGE OR WITHOUT COLLAPSING. WE HAD ONE SEPARATE DEPARTMENT WHERE ALL THE CASTING WAS DONE. IT WAS IN A NEW ADDITION WHICH WAS BUILT OVER OUR CLAY MIXING ROOM WHICH WAS ONLY ONE STORY. AFTER ALL THE PROCESSES OF MANUFACTURE MENTIONED ABOVE, IT WAS THEN NECESSARY THAT THE PIECES BE FINISHED AFTER REMOVAL FROM THE MOULDS. ALL ROUGH EDGES AND MOULD SEAMS WERE REMOVED WITH FINISHING KNIVES AND FLAT SPONGES. ALSO, AS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY, THE HANDLES FOR JUGS AND PITCHERS, ETC. WERE STUCK ON AT THIS TIME. SINCE WATER HAD TO BE USED IN THE FINISHING, THE PIECES WERE THEN RETURNED TO THE DRY ROOM WHERE THEY REMAINED ANOTHER 24 HOURS BEFORE GLAZING.

(5) GLAZING –

THE DRY PIECE OF WARE WAS EITHER DIPPED INTO THE GLAZE, HAD GLAZE POURED ON THE OUTSIDE, OR HAD GLAZE PUMPED INTO IT OR SPRAYED ON THE OUTSIDE. MOST OF THE JARS, JUGS, ETC. HAD THE GLAZE PUMPED INTO THE INSIDE BY A HAND PUMP, WHICH FIT INTO EACH GLAZE TUB. THEN THE GLAZE WAS POURED ONTO THE OUTSIDE OF THE PIECE WITH A METAL PITCHER WITH A WIDE LIP. IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT THAT THE INSIDE WAS COMPLETELY COVERED WITH GLAZE, BECAUSE IF IT WERE NOT COVERED THE CONTENTS WOULD LEAK THROUGH THE BARE CLAY. MOST OF THE SMALL ITEMS WERE DIPPED AFTER THE INSIDE HAD BEEN PUMPED. THE GLAZES WERE MIXED FROM VARIOUS MINERALS; SUCH AS ZINC, OXIDE, FELDSPAR, FLINT, BALL CLAYS, COBALT OXIDE AND COPPER OXIDE. EACH MINERAL HAD A SPECIAL USE IN THE GLAZE FOR COLOR AND TO MAKE THE GLAZE CONFORM WITH THE SHRINKAGE OF THE CLAY. THE COMPOUNDING OF GLAZES WAS AN ART IN ITSELF AND REQUIRED MUCH EXPERIMENTING AND MANY KILN TESTS. THE FORMULAS FOR THE VARIOUS GLAZES WERE GUARDED CAREFULLY BY THE VARIOUS MANUFACTURES. OF COURSE SOME GLAZE STAINS FOR VARIOUS COLORS COULD BE PURCHASED AND ADDED TO A TRANSPARENT BASE. WE PURCHASED SOME OF THESE FROM MEIER AND SWAN AN ENGLISH MANUFACTURER. I REMEMBER ESPECIALLY OUR PINK AND LIGHT GREEN GLAZES WERE FROM THERE. ANOTHER INTERESTING GLAZE WAS OUR SO-CALLED “BRINDLE” GLAZE AS USED ON SOME PITCHERS, MUGS AND BAKING NAPPIES. ADDING SOME PATOKA RIVER “MUD” TO OUR REGULAR BROWN GLAZE MADE THIS GLAZE. THIS WAS DISCOVERED BY PERRY DAY AND WAS A FORM OF BALL CLAY, WHICH WAS THE BASIS OF OUR BROWN GLAZE. AFTER THE PIECE WAS GLAZED IT WAS NECESSARY TO REMOVE THE GLAZE FROM ANY PART OF THE PIECE THAT WAS GOING TO TOUCH ANY OTHER PIECE DURING THE BURNING OF THE KILN, FOR EXAMPLE THE SHOULDERS OF JUGS, MILK CROCKS – THE TOP EDGES OF JARS, MILK CROCKS, ETC. THE BOTTOMS OR BOTTOM EDGES OF MOST ALL PIECES.

(6) SETTING OF KILNS –

AFTER THE WARE WAS GLAZED AND THOROUGHLY DRY IT IS THEN READY TO PLACED IN THE KILNS FOR BURNING. UHL POTTERY HAD (4) PERIODIC KILNS WHICH WERE DOWN DRAFT KILNS AND EACH HELD APPROXIMATELY TWO CARLOADS OF WARE. THE WARE WAS PLACED IN THE KILNS BY KILN-SETTERS WHO WAS WELL VERSED IN FILLING THE KILN TO CAPACITY. THE WARE WAS SET IN RINGS AND THE OUTSIDE RING WAS USUALLY MILK CROCKS WHICH WERE SET IN ROWS WITH THE SHOULDER OF ONE RESTING ON THE ONE BELOW IT. THEY WERE SET SO THAT THE TOP ONE WAS BELOW THE FLASH WALL AND THEREFORE THEY WOULD NOT BE SUBJECTED TO THE DIRECT FLAME FROM FIRE BOXES. JARS WERE SET ONE UPON THE OTHER IN ROWS FROM BOTTOM OF KILN TO ALMOST THE TOP. UNDER EACH JAR WOULD BE NESTED OTHER WARE SO THAT ALMOST ALL SPACE WAS UTILIZED. FOR EXAMPLE – UNDER A 12 GAL. JAR YOU MIGHT HAVE AN ICE WATER JAR OR MAYBE A LARGE MIXING BOWL. IT WAS IMPORTANT NOT TO PUT TOO MUCH WEIGHT ON THE BOTTOM OF THE JAR OR YOU MIGHT CAUSE IT TO CRACK. ALSO JUGS WERE USUALLY SET IN THE KILN WITH A CORRESPONDING SIZE JAR OVER THE TOP AND RESTING ON THE SHOULDER OF THE OF THE JUG. IE 1 GAL. JAR OVER TOP OF 1 GAL JUG – 2 GAL. JAR OVER TOP OF 2 GAL. JUG ETC. ALL OF THE NOVELTY ITEMS WERE SET IN CONTAINERS CALLED SAGGERS OF VARIOUS DIAMETERS AND WEIGHTS. THESE WERE JIGGERED BUT UNFINISHED AND WERE USED OVER AND OVER. THEY WERE MADE VERY HEAVY SO THEY DID NOT BREAK VERY READILY. THEN, TOO, WE USED CRACKED AND BROKEN JARS AS SAGGERS TO COVER PITCHERS, GLAZED FLOWER POTS ETC. THAT COULD NOT BE BURNED ON THE OUTSIDE SINCE THE FLAMES AND ASH WOULD EFFECT SOME OF OUR MORE DELICATE GLAZES, SUCH AS PINKS, LIGHT GREEN, LIGHT BLUE. AFTER THE ENTIRE KILN WAS FILLED WITH WARE, THE DOOR WAS THEN SEALED WITH FIRE BRICK AND FIRE CLAY AND WAS READY TO START BURNING.

(7) BURNING OF KILNS -

AFTER THE KILN WAS SEALED, FIRES WERE STARTED IN THE TEN FIRE BOXES, WHICH WERE EVENLY DISTRIBUTED AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE KILN. WE BURNED COAL IN THE FIRE BOXES, WHICH WAS SHIPPED IN CARLOADS FROM WEST VIRGINIA OR EASTERN KENTUCKY. THIS COAL WAS USED BECAUSE OF ITS LOW SULPHUR CONTENT, AS SULPHUR FUMES WERE VERY DAMAGING TO ALL GLAZES. SOUTHERN INDIANA COAL SIMPLY COULD NOT BE USED BECAUSE IT HAD TOO MUCH SULPHUR. THE HEAT WAS GRADUALLY RAISED UNTIL IT REACHED 2400 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT AT WHICH DEGREE THE STONEWARE WAS RIGHT AND THE STONEWARE GLAZES MATURED AND FLOWED TOGETHER. THE HEAT HAD TO BE RAISED VERY GRADUALLY AND USUALLY REQUIRED APPROXIMATELY 65 HOURS TO REACH THE HIGHEST POINT. THE TEMPERATURE WAS CHECKED CONSTANTLY BY THERMOCOUPLES AND REGISTERED ON A CHART WHICH WAS KEPT FOR EACH KILN. THEN TOO AS AN ADDED PRECAUTION CONES WERE SET N THE BACK AND FRONT OF EACH KILN BEFORE THE DOORS WERE SEALED AND COULD BE SEEN THROUGH A PEEPHOLE. THESE CONES WERE MADE TO MELT AND FALL FORWARD AT DIFFERENT DEGREES OF HEAT. THEREFORE, IF ALL THE CONES WERE DOWN THE KILN WAS FINISHED AND THE FIRES WERE ALLOWED TO BURN DOWN AFTER WHICH THE FIRE BOXES WERE SEALED WITH BRICK AND FIRE CLAY TO PREVENT AIR FROM GETTING INTO THE KILN AND CAUSING THE WARE TO COOL CRACK. ALSO THE DAMPER ON THE TUNNEL TO THE STACK WAS CLOSED FOR THE SAME REASON. THE OPENING AT THE TOP OF THE CROWN WAS THEN OPENED TO ALLOW THE HEAT TO ESCAPE GRADUALLY. IT THEN WOULD TAKE 3 TO 4 DAYS FOR THE KILN TO COOL. HALF OF THE DOORWAY WAS OPENED AFTER ABOUT 2 DAYS AND COMPLETELY OPENED THE 3RD DAY. AFTER THE KILN WAS COOLED, THE WARE WAS REMOVED AND TAKEN TO THE WAREHOUSE. THIS WAS HOT JOB AS THERE WAS STILL A LOT OF HEAT IN THE KILN AND THE WARE HADE TO BE HANDLED WITH GLOVES. IT USUALLY WOULD TAKE 4 TO 5 MEN A FULL DAY TO UNLOAD A KILN.

(8) PACKING AND DELIVERY -

AS ORDERS WERE RECEIVED THEY WERE SELECTED FROM THE WAREHOUSE STOCK AND PACKED FOR SHIPMENT IN CRATES, BARRELS OR CARTONS FOR L.C.L. SHIPMENTS BY COMMON CARRIER, OR IN POOL TRUCKS FOR TRUCK DELIVERY, OR IN CARLOADS FOR RAIL DELIVERY. WHEN I STARTED WORKING AT UHL’S IN 1929 ALMOST EVERYTHING WAS SHIPPED L.C.L. IN CRATES OR BARRELS. THE WARE WAS PACKED IN STRAW OR EXCELSIOR TO PREVENT DAMAGE. THE PACKAGES WERE THEN HAULED TO THE FREIGHT DEPOT FOR SHIPMENT BY RAIL. THEN WHEN UHL PURCHASED THEIR OWN FLEET OF DELIVERY TRUCKS DELIVERIES WERE MADE DIRECTLY TO THE DEALER’S STORE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS AT A CONSIDERABLE SAVINGS IN PACKAGING AND TRANSPORTATION COST WITH A MINIMUM OF DAMAGE. THE WARE WAS PACKED ON THE TRUCK IN STRAW IN REVERSE ORDER OF DELIVERY. THE TRUCK DRIVER WOULD HAVE AS MANY STOPS AS THERE WERE ORDERS TO FILL THE TRUCK. DELIVERIES WERE MADE FOR MICHIGAN TO FLORIDA AND FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER EAST. SOMETIMES IT WOULD TAKE AN ENTIRE WEEK FOR DELIVERIES WHEN THE DISTANCE WAS FAR AND THE STOPS MANY. I HOPE THAT I HAVE GIVEN YOU AN IDEA AS TO OUR OPERATION AND WILL NOW DESCRIBE SOME OF THE MAIN PRODUCTS MADE ON A VOLUME BASIS FOR INVIDUAL CUSTOMERS –

(A) UNDOUBTLY ONE OF OUR BEST ACCOUNTS WAS THE HARPER J. RANSBURG COMPANY IN INDIANAPOLIS WHO HAS SINCE SOLD OUT TO HAMILTON-COSCO. WE FURNISHED THEM WITH HOUSEHOLD ITEMS AND FLOWER POTS THAT WERE GLAZED INSIDE BUT NOT OUTSIDE. THEY THEN DECORATED THE OUTSIDE WITH PAINT AND DIFFERENT FLORAL DESIGNS. (SEE THE GLOVE SHAPED COOKIE JAR,) AS I REMEMBER WE SHIPPED THEM APPROXIMATELY 1 TO 2 TRUCKLOADS PER WEEK.

(B) THEN TOO WE MADE THOUSANDS OF LINERS FOR PICNIC JUGS FOR THE ROYAL MANUFACTURING COMPANY OF BOWLING GREEN, OHIO. THESE WERE ALSO GLAZED WHITE INSIDE AND THE OUTSIDE OF THE NECK. ROYAL PUT A METAL COVERING AROUND THEM WITH INSULATION BETWEEN THE TWO TO KEEP FOOD OR DRINKS - HOT OR COLD.

(C) WE MADE A COMPLETE LINE OF FANCY AND MINIATURE JUGS FOR MEIER’S WINE CELLARS OF SILVERTON, OHIO. THEY USED THESE FOR PACKAGING THEIR VARIOUS WINES AND CORDIALS. In 1938 UHL RECEIVED A CERTIFICATE OF AWARD FROM MODERN PACKAGING FOR THE JUGS FURNISHED TO MEIER’S.

(D) DURING PROHIBITION WE MADE THOUSANDS OF BARREL SHAPED BEER STEINS FOR BLATZ AND STERLING FOR PROMOTING THE SALE OF THEIR MALT EXTRACT WHICH WAS USED IN THE MAKING OF “HOME BREW”. THEY GAVE A MUG WITH EACH PURCHASE. THIS BUSINESS OF COURSE ENDED WITH PROHIBITION, AS DID OUR 1 GAL. JUG BUSINESS WITH THE LOCAL BOOTLEGGERS WHO WOULD COME TO OUR PLANT AND HAUL THEM AWAY BY THE TRUCK LOAD AND CARLOAD. WE NEVER ASKED ANY QUESTIONS, JUST TOOK THEIR MONEY.

(E) ALSO DURING PROHIBITION WE SHIPPED RAIL CARLOADS OF A SPECIAL 5 GAL. JUG TO A DEALER IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA. THE DEALER IN TURN SOLD THESE TO A LOCAL “BOOTLEGGER”. THE “SPECIAL” PART OF THE JUG WAS THAT IT WAS 0NE-QUART SHORT OF BEING 5 GAL.

(F) WE MADE A LINE OF MINIATURE JUGS AND NOVELTIES FOR A PERFUME AND COLOGNE COMPANY IN KANSAS CITY NAMED “BOTAY”. THEY BOTTLED SOME OF THEIR PRODUCTS IN THE JUGS, WHICH WERE HAND DECORATED. WE ALSO MADE THEM A LINE OF PIG BANKS WHICH THEY DECORATED AND SOLD. ONE, WHICH THEY USED DURING THE WAR, IS SHOWN HERE.

(G) WE WERE ABLE TO SELL ALL OUR BROKEN WARE TO NORTHWESTERN TERRA COTTA COMPANY WHO GROUND IT UP AND USED IN TERRA COTTA BUILDING MATERIALS. THE BROKEN WARE WHICH HAD NOT BEEN GLAZED OR BURNED WAS ACCUMULATED AND SOLD TO AMERICAN ART CLAY COMPANY IN INDIANAPOLIS WHO MADE MODELING CLAY FOR SCHOOLS ETC.

(H) OF COURSE, WE ACCUMULATED QUITE A FEW SECONDS WHICH WERE CHIPPED OR OFF COLOR. THESE WERE SOLD TO FELLOWS WHO PEDDLED THEM THROUGHOUT THE RURAL AREAS TO FARMERS AND THEIR WIVES. SOMETIMES THEY WOULD TRADE WARE FOR EGGS, CHICKENS, FRUIT OR VEGETABLES. ONE OF OUR PEDDLERS WAS EZRA PARKER, FATHER OF MAYOR BOB PARKER. WHEN I STARTED AT UHL’S HE WAS USING HORSES AND WAGON AND THEN GRADUATED TO A MODEL T FORD, WHICH WAS DRIVEN, BY ONE OF HIS SONS.