Dorothy was an only child, she explains, but she remembers her cousins vividly. Hanging in the trees, some vintage redware, hardly findable under the foliage. I just hung it in a tree and forgot about it. In the greenhouse, some large Bauer pots, early s. In the rose garden, outside, some even larger ones. In boxes in the barn that Hilton has already packed for safekeeping, there are more pieces. But his studio hired innovators who added new shapes and smart ceramic engineers to differentiate his solid-colored earthenware line and its glazes to spectacular effect.
The company, then, led its own life. Perhaps the strongest pottery company in the country during the Depression outside of those that made generic commercial restaurant dishware, Bauer thrived after J. By , Ralph and Dorothy Hilton had two sons and a daughter and were very successful chicken ranchers and orange farmers, owning acres of land and oodles of chicken houses in fertile Orange County.
Sad to say, Boniecki could find none of the original Bauer molds and no member of the Bauer family could help him.
A reverse-mold process was created and, voila, just like old times. Originally produced in small batches in various factories, the manufacturing consolidated in a 40,square-foot factory in Highland in The first year Hilton shopped, every one of her children and her grandchildren got an entire service of dishes for six. Last year, they got batter bowls.
This year, Hilton is drawn to anything Bauer Orange. She picks the six-bowls mixing-bowl set, six of them for the grown women in her clan. She gets 12 syrup servers, five egg cups, 24 beer mugs, four large vases, six bowls and more miscellaneous trays and things that were sort of specific to the individual giftee. The trip takes more than an hour. Hilton had lovingly fondled most everything in the store. When she dies, there is authentic Bauer to pass along, but Dorothy Hilton cares little about what collectors say her pottery is worth. The Bauer tableware and artware is worthy of her lineage, she assures.
She is not fussy about the pedigree. It is her name, the colors, the memories that she wants her family now to claim.
So she is showering them with the family legacies she embraces with her whole heart. Come Thanksgiving Day, Hilton will present the gifts to the family who will have gathered at her home for a kind of potluck-like dinner, though the turkey will likely come from some wonderful caterer.
Thanksgiving is more about the celebration of the lives they all share. The colorful tableware, when unwrapped, will be around long after she is gone. Which is what collections are for. For passing on. Collectors refer to the new pieces as Bauer After dealing with several local ceramics makers, Boniecki became a steady client of a factory housed in a former fruit-packing plant in the small city of Highland. Built in , the factory has foot-high ceilings with skylights, well-worn wood floors, and even a freight elevator driven by an old-fashioned hydraulic system…. All photos from the Bauer Pottery website.
Our dog Harley has a turquoise Bauer dog bowl, and I have about a dozen human sized mixing bowls, a couple of vases, and several assorted other items.
What a hero. You gotta love folks who follow their passion. They look a lot like my favorite, Fiestaware, which are also made in the USA. Thank you for this very wonderful eye candy and informative piece. Loved reading every word.
I have collected vintage pottery for years, but usually in the deep pink tones think Hall restaurant-ware but have some turquoise too. Currently they are on the sun porch which is about 15 degrees Michigan. Love the way your blog is laid out.
So beautiful. Blessings on loving your home. Always nice to find a fellow collector hoarder of pottery. I started with Fiesta, then Russel Wright, now Bauer.. OOOh and Frankoma lately. Whatever I can find a junk stores. We had to update the kitchen so there would be enough room for everything…luckilly, nothing is on our porch right now.
Welcome aboard…. So glad to see the old traditions reborn. If I still lived their I would buy this stuff like crazy. I have some good old Bauer pottery that was my grams. So have a question for you. One piece is a large 13 in hand painted plate. It is not glazed over because some of the pain is damaged. Cannot find anything like it on the internet. Any ideas on how old it is?
No clue Tami.