Discover Vintage America - JANUARY 2016

Vase traced to the Burley-Winter Pottery Co.

Q: I have owned this pottery vase for quite a few years and have not been able to find information on it. I have seen the same vase on several Internet websites but they don't seem to know who made it. The bottom is marked with 3F, it is about six inches tall with a mottled glaze on the outside. It is pretty heavy for the size. If you can provide me with information I would sure appreciate it as not knowing is driving me nuts. Thank you.

A: Your beautiful handled pottery vase was made by a company that is just now garnering attention, the Burley-Winter Pottery Co. of Crooksville, Ohio.

Like many American pottery companies, Burley-Winter early wares were utilitarian everyday use items, such as chamber pots, tankards, cuspidors, chick feeders, pitchers, bowls, jugs, and crocks. As the times changed so did their product line and this is where we see the introduction of decorative items such as vases and beautiful items for the garden.

According to my go-to book on pottery marks, Lehner's Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay (Collector Books: 1988), the lineage of Burley-Winter is as follows: John Burley purchased a pottery from a man named Castete as early as 1825 which burned down in 1828 and was rebuilt by John Burley in 1831 and operated until 1885.

Lazalier Burley was the next Burley from 1846 to the 1860s, he was a Bluebird Pottery*. In 1872, William Newton Burley and Wilson Winter started as Burley and Winter which became Burley Winter and Brown in 1885. Burley and Winter operated a general store from 1876 to 1901.
"They were makers of 'Heart Brand' stoneware (most products from this time are marked with the name encircling a heart), and in later years, the 'Bur-win' garden ware. They made both highly glazed stoneware, bisque fired ware and painted ware. Brown left the plant in 1892 and the plant became known as the Burley and Winter Pottery.

Between 1900 and 1904, Z.W. Burley and S.V. Burley, two brothers, started the Keystone Pottery, not to be confused with Keystone Pottery of Trenton, NJ. In December 1909, the John G. Burley Pottery Company was incorporated by John G. Burley and two of Wilson Winter's sons. Around 1912 the Keystone Pottery, the J.G. Burley Pottery and Burley and Winter all merged. The plant continued operating until 1932."

Not all Burley-Winter items are marked with the name you find most marked with the model or style number such as the one you have, 3F.

Prices are still very affordable with more highly decorated pieces selling in the $70 range and more simple wares in the $35 range.

* In the later part of the 1800s many farmers built sheds in which to make stoneware for their personal use. These were called a "Bluebird Pottery." They did not have all the bells and whistles that the manufacturing houses had with most kilns being handcrafted and crude and most of the wares being pretty crude as well. Yet there were a few of the potters with great talent and the wares they produced were fabulous. They sold their products to the large potteries to be sold to the public.


Note: All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawnshop prices are about half or less of resale value.

Michelle Staley is a Lenexa, KS-based dealer and researcher with 35 years of experience in the antique trade. Send questions with photos to Michelle to publisher@discoverypub.com. Please keep queries to one question; questions without photos of the item may not be answered. Michelle is also available for consulting and extensive research work beyond this column. If you would like an appraisal on an antique or collectible please go to www.michelleknowsantiques.com for a one-on-one appraisal.