In 1944, a formerly lucrative pottery factory, Joaquin Pottery, having suffered the effects of WWII, sold their factory to Nancy Ann Abbott, owner of Nancy Ann Dressed Dolls. “Story Book Dolls,” made of bisque pottery, were manufactured at the factory until around 1948, after which Abbott switched to hard plastics to create her dolls. No longer needing the pottery factory, it was sold and renamed Laurel Potteries of California. Laurel Potteries used an electromagnetic process to remove iron from their clay which was then used in flat plate and slip pottery pieces. By 1953, the factory doubled in size and their pottery lines could be found coast-to-coast in high-end department stores like Bloomingdales, Wannamakers, Macy’s and The May Company. During the 40s and 50s, Laurel Potteries produced several successful MCM dinnerware lines. California Life, California Seaside and Cerama-Stone were designed by in-house designer, Ted Scarpino; California Holiday was designed by award-winning potter Edith Heath; and California Living, which won the Museum of Modern Art’s “Good Design Award” in 1951, was designed by Caleb Jackson and Ted Scarpino. After two decades of steady growth, Laurel Potteries suffered a setback that crippled the once thriving business – lead poisoning. After two reports of poisoning connected to the Cerama-Stone line, and subsequent attempts to rework the glazes to prevent lead leakage, Laurel Potteries ceased operations and sold the plant to Sylvan Ceramics. Laurel Potteries pieces are still readily available and collectible.
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