|Sebring Ohio Historical Society
126 North 15th Street
Sebring, Ohio 44672
|The officers of Spaulding China were Irving Miller, of Jamaica and Long Island, New York, vice president, Morris Feinberg,
of Mount Vernon New York, president, Daniel Eisenberg, of Plainfield NJ, vice president, David Borowitz, of Chicago, IL,
secretary and George Stanford owned the Spaulding China Company. The main offices were located in the Empire State
Miller and Feinberg were friends from childhood. They attended New York University and then entered the import business.
Sears sold the Miller Kitchen Clock under either Miller or the Harmony House label. The clocks had the word Miller on them
along with a tiny windmill. In the 1930's, Fienberg arrived in Sebring looking for ceramic clock cases to replace those they
bought in Europe. From New York City, they came to the area looking for a pottery.
. With the start of WWII, they were unable to get the metal works and brass for the clocks but continued to operate the pottery.
Feinberg was the genius behind the operations, and stressed the importance of design and quality. Starting out in a garage on
East Ohio Avenue in 1939, it then moved to Alliance, then to the old Sebring Rubber Company site on South 12th street and
Baugh Avenue. Reorganized in 1941, it actually started producing pieces in the new plant in 1942, as clay was not needed as
part of the war effort. As both the war and the depression ended and people began to have money again, homemakers were out
looking for things to brighten their homes. Spaulding employed three full time salesmen, and eight to ten manufacturer's
Spaulding began with a straight tunnel kiln and a decorating kiln that used lower temperatures for decorating and gold work.
After a couple of years, the kiln was replaced with a large continuous circular model, and were able to operate 24 hours a day,
only being closed for two weeks out of the year. The clay used was from Georgia and Florida plus #5 ball clay coming from
England. Temperatures in the plant ranged from 103-130 degrees F in a continuous running 24/7 cycle.
Spaulding had a motto 'gift shop merchandise at chain store prices'. They were famous for their birds. It is estimated that 6,000
birds were created each day. They sold for as little as 25 cents retail. They started with the most modern equipment, a straight
tunnel kiln and a decorating kiln that fired at a lower temperature for decal and gold decorating. These were replaced a few
years later with a continuous circular kiln and operated 24 hours a day. With it they could fire about 1,500 dozen items per day.
At their peak, they employed 50 casters and 35 decorators. As the years passed, less decal work was done, and eventually that
kiln became unused.
The plant was known for its cleanliness and won awards for safety frequently. There was an excellent rapport between the
employees and the administrators. Coupled with strict inventory control, they were able to change production frequently
The Spaulding name was chosen to sound 'aristocratic', with an English air. The Royal names for an even more sophisticated
tone. A unique marketing plan sold boxes of china as assortments that were of a style rather than boxes of the same pieces.
They discovered that it was no more expensive to produce quality, desired pieces than to create junk, so wonderful artists
created unique designs. And, even if designers and artists were expensive, when the cost was spread over thousands of pieces,
it became negligible. A favorite designer was Anthony Priolo.
Royal Copely items sold for a higher price as they were handled by department stores.
Pottery of this sort boomed during and after WWII with the loss of Chinese imports. Royal Copley and Royal Windsor are two
names, in addition to Spaulding China, used by the Spaulding China Co., Inc., Sebring, Ohio, until 1957. About 85% of items
produced at Spaulding was Royal Copley. They produced clock cases, lamps, (sold under the Irving Miller trademark), and
later went into jugs, planters, pots, and vases. Royal Copley is the most recognized name, which was used from 1948 to 1957.
Chinacraft finished the Spaulding's open orders from 1957 until about 1961. Only some items received a paper label, and the
labels were frequently mixed up between the three names. Spaulding became the second largest art ware pottery in the United
States. After being closed, it was purchased by Mr. Shiffman, who was a plumber. He made small sinks for mobile homes, but
was not successful. The plant remained vacant until Holiday Designs, Inc. purchased it.
Spaulding had a difficult time competing with other potteries as they were unionized. Sebring pottery workers make
significantly higher wages than other potteries that competed, making their pieces at the top end price, and the quality of the
work make this possible.