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The Salem China Company Collection

Creator:
Salem China Company  Search this
American Limoges China Co.  Search this
Sebring Pottery Company  Search this
Crescent China Company  Search this
Leigh Potters, Inc.  Search this
Names:
James Sadler Company  Search this
Extent:
10.15 Cubic feet (26 boxes, 9 map-folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Bulletins
Records
Drawings
Clippings
Blueprints
Place:
Ohio
Date:
1930s-1981
Summary:
Includes records of the Salem China Company relating to the administration of the company, its sales and art department, and other material relating to plant operations prior to 1960, when the company ceased manufacturing and became a distributor only. Includes photographs of various promotions, Salem China patterns, factory buildings, sales staff, show rooms, etc. as well as extensive advertising material of the Salem China Co. and its competitors. Another series contains blueprints and drawings of the Salem China Company's plant and equipment. Another series contains bulletins issued by the Associated Industries of Cleveland from 1977 to 1981.
Scope and Contents:
The collection includes records of the Salem China Company relating to administration of the company, its sales and art department and other material relating to plant operations prior to 1960 when the company ceased manufacturing and became a distributor only. There are a number of photographs of various promotions, Salem China patterns, factory buildings, sales staff, show rooms, etc. There is extensive advertising material of both the Salem China Co. and of its competitors. Another series consists of blueprints and drawings of the Salem China Company's plant and equipment. There is also a series of bulletins issued by the Associated Industries of Cleveland from 1977 to 1981.

Series 1: General Administration, includes a history of Salem, Ohio as well as a history of the United States pottery industry written by Floyd W. McKee, long time manager of the Salem China Company, after he retired. Issues of the Stylon News from 1954 to 1957 indicate the company's interest in tile. Union materials relate to the several craft unions concerned with organizing pottery plants. There is some generalized anti union material.

Series 2 contains bulletins of the Associated Industries of Cleveland (AIC). These bulletins include material of general interest to members, bulletins from the legal counsel, a newsletter for executives, bulletins relating to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and surveys of management employee relations, salaries and benefits and wage settlements.

The third series consists of the Sales Department's records, including advertising brochures, pamphlets and photographs relating to various promotions supermarket, bank, movie, department store as well as those for general advertising of Salem products, the records of a factory outlet store operated by the Salem China Company, bulletins, a notebook and other materials directed to the sales staff.

Art Department records incorporate mats, photographs, some drawings and occasional negatives of nearly 40 patterns of china as well as service plates and souvenir plates. The notebooks relate to premiums, specialized ware such as children's ware, proofs, photos, half tones and ads.

Over 65 companies are represented in the competitors' advertising material, most of which relates to china although there are a few tile and other manufacturers included.

With the exception of the art department notebooks, and the drawings and blueprints, most of the collection is in good condition.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into ten series.

Series 1: Executive and Administrative Records

Series 2: Labor Relations

Series 3: Sales Department Records

Series 4: Promotional Photographs

Series 5: Art Department Records

Series 6: Plant Operating Records

Series 7: Competitors' Advertising

Series 8: US Potters Association

Series 9: Tile Industry

Series 10: Associated Industries of Cleveland
Biographical / Historical:
The Salem China Company of Salem, Ohio was founded in 1898 by Pat and John McNichol, Dan Cronin and William Smith, all from East Liverpool, Ohio. It was sold to the F.A. Sebrings of Sebring, Ohio in 1918. Until retirement in 1950, Floyd W. McKee, who had been with the company since 1918, was the general manager. When he retired in 1950 J. Harrison Keller, the husband of F.A. Sebring's granddaughter, Gretchen, took over the management of the company. Harrison Keller was also president of the United States Potters Association, the principal function of which was labor negotiations. From 1898 until 1960 the company was engaged in both manufacturing and distribution. Since 1960, its function has been distribution only.

In addition to the manufacture and distribution of dinnerware, novelty and souvenirware, the Salem China Co. distributed flatware, crystal and Corningware and was the American distributor for the James Sadler Company, English manufacturers of teapots. The company supplemented its sales to retail outlets by heavy reliance on bank, movie, drugstore and supermarket promotions. For example, Peoples Drug Co. used over 150,000 thirty two piece sets of dishes from the Salem China Co. in the 1930's with the buyer paying $2.98 for a set costing $2.72 at the factory. During the 30's also, about 130 carloads of Salem dinnerware were used by American Stores in Philadelphia in promotions. In 1993, the president of the Salem China Co. was Gary Keller.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Salem China Company, February 22, 1989.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Porcelain  Search this
Potters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Bulletins
Records
Drawings -- 20th century
Clippings
Blueprints -- 20th century
Citation:
The Salem China China Company Collection, 1930s-1981, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0325
See more items in:
The Salem China Company Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0325
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