Our History

Since 1880

1880
Maria Longworth Nichols founded Rookwood Pottery after attending the Centennial Expo in Philadelphia. The first kiln was drawn on Thanksgiving Day, 1880. The “Aladdin Vase,” designed by Maria was one of the first and most famous pieces pulled from the kiln.
1885
Rookwood was the first company of its kind to hire a “ceramic chemist,” named Karl Langenbeck. Rookwood became one of the first to adopt a system of “air-brush” glaze application, and introduced some of the most iconic glazes from the era.
1887
Kataro Shirayamadani starts at Rookwood. During his time at the company, he becomes one of the most respected decorators in the company’s history.
1889
Rookwood received the gold medal for ceramics at the Expo Universelle in Paris, which established America’s art pottery reputation on the world stage.
1900
Rookwood received the Grand Prix for ceramics at the Paris Expo. The Mat and Vellum glazes were developed and released.
1902
Rookwood officially introduced its architectural faience line in anticipation of developing a niche market of production.
1906
Rookwood received its first of several orders for tile for the New York City subway system. In addition, several prominent architectural installations began including the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, KY, and the fireplace at West Baden Springs Hotel in Indiana.
1934
John D. Wareham, who started as a decorator 41 years prior became president of Rookwood Pottery. Louise Abel, a prominent decorator, designed the Abel bear, which was reissued in 2014 with great popularity.
1982
After changing hands multiple times, Arthur Townley purchased all Rookwood assets.
2006
After decades of small production, Rookwood Pottery was brought back to Cincinnati, Ohio by local investors.
2009
Rookwood received a commission as a part of a massive restoration of the Monroe Building in Chicago. Originally built in 1912, the building contained historic tile works from Rookwood Pottery. The pottery also moved from its Glendora Avenue location to a larger facility on Race Street in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati.
Today
Rookwood Pottery returns to full production and offers popular designs of the past and contemporary shapes of today.