There is an area, one-mile north of Roseville, that was once called Beem City. Beem City was named after John Beem, the owner of the Oval Ware and Brick Co., which was located there. The clay the company used to make bricks contained iron. When the clay was fired in the kiln the iron formed dark spots on the bricks. Around 1905, Beem sold his pottery and all of his assets, so it was decided to change the name of the community. The name chosen was Ironspot – the home of the Robinson-Ransbottom Pottery from 1900 until 2005.
In the early days of stoneware manufacturing, production was measured by the total number of gallons. The number of gallons reported is the total amount of liquid that the pieces would hold.
As reported in the Crooksville Bowl by Larkin Vonalt, historians have established that in 1851, there were 41 potteries within three miles of Crooksville. These early potteries were called “Bluebird” potteries, and they were established to provide farmers with containers and tableware. They were often set up in sheds with one or two kick wheels, and a brick kiln outside. They were called “Bluebird” potteries because the potters relied on the return of the bluebirds from the south as a signal that it was the proper time to mine the clay. The Crooksville Pottery was established in 1902, but by 1959, they had shuttered their doors. They had outlasted Weller (1948), Hull (1952) and Roseville (1954.) McCoy managed to continue through to 1967, when another firm, the first of three, purchased the pottery. Production ceased altogether for them in 1990.
The use of Albany Slip began in 1837. This dark brown glaze is the glaze that many potteries used. It can be seen on the top portion of many Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co. stoneware jugs, crocks, and jars.
In 1885, there were 239 kilns making pottery in the U.S. in competition with British potteries. The U.S. produced only 40 percent of the ware purchased yearly in the country at that time.
In 1921, the Nelson McCoy Sanitary and Stoneware Company was a member of the American Clay Products Company (ACPC). This company was a group of potteries that banded together (a cooperative) that shared orders and shared the profits. All of their products were unmarked. There were eleven potteries in this company, and all of them had the ability to produce the Swastika Pitcher, and there is no way to tell exactly who the makers were.
In 1885, Burley, Winter & Brown, organized and built the first steam-powered pottery. W. H. (Billy) Brown was made superintendent. The design of the existing kiln was soon changed, and was also made larger. In addition, coal took the place of wood. The new departure proved to be a success. The quality of the product was greatly improved, and the cost of production was greatly reduced. This marked the beginning of the end of the “Blue Bird” potteries.
Ralph Porto, the owner of Designer Accents, reported in 2000 that, ‘The McCoy Company (the trade name under which we operated), in addition to marketing under its own name, produced goods for Nabisco, Pillsbury, Keebler, Coca Cola, and other well known companies, and, was one of the largest marketers of pottery in the U. S. during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s”.