History of :

Love Field Potteries

by: Craig Fyock

 

Courtesy Florence Jackson Collection

Click on image for larger view

 

Undated photo of Love Field Potteries and its employees. Note: 1) Back Row center( white shirt) Lionell McKamy. 2). All the flower pots along front row. The only piece of utilitarian pottery is a jug along the front row. 3) Flower pot below mans hat is identical to an Ideal Pottery design. 4) Front row seated, left to right - man #1, 2 and woman #8 are all holding a figurine of a cat. Man #9 is holding an unidentified figurine (possibly a dog or a lion). 5) Front row seated, left to right - Woman #10 is holding an embossed pitcher that is similar to the grape embossed pitcher on the unusual page. 6) Front row seated, left to right - Man #10 is holding a vase that is very similar to the blue vase on the Art Pottery page

 

Just received a lot of new info. Check back soon for more updated and conclusive info.

       From 1918  to the1940's Dallas, Texas was the hub of an unique experiment in the history of pottery manufacturing. From the time that ancient man took clay and made the first container potters located and made their wares close to the source of the clay and transported their products to the market. While one of the first potteries located in Dallas, Texas (Dallas Potteries) did experiment with local clays it was soon discovered that the local clays were unsuitable to produce quality products. One would have thought that without a suitable clay source in the area that the pottery industry in Dallas was doomed. In fact, it was about to explode. Over the next six (6) years Dallas was to become the home of no less than 4 other pottery manufacturers.** The potteries in Dallas decided to locate close to the market and ship in their raw materials rather than the time honored tradition of locating close to the raw material and shipping the product to the market. Since the advent of cheap transportation and high demand for their products this decision made sense when the potteries were founded but this decision would have major consequences in the years to come.

     The idea that Love Filed Potteries was a small local pottery only making utilitarian goods, such as crocks, churns and jugs, is as erroneous as the company is defunct. The newly discovered pictures of the pottery prove that the pottery was anything but small and in fact was a large pottery for its time. Secondly, Love Field's sales not only included those to dealers in Texas and Oklahoma but as well as delivery by rail to any place in the United States as long as the purchaser was will to pay the freight. Finally, crocks, churns, and jugs were just the beginning of the items offered for sale by Love Field. Various pitchers, cups, mugs, bean pots, beater jars, refrigerator jars, salt jars, flat jars, butter jars, steam table jars, milk crocks, ant cups, cuspidors, mixing bowls, various feeders and waters, various flower pots, hanging baskets, urns, jardinières, bird baths, oil jars, sundials, chimney pots, sand jars and various art pottery filled out their line.

 

    Love Field Potteries began its life as a legal Texas Corporation on the 8th day of August 1923. Seven hundred and fifty (750) shares of common stock with a par value of $100.00 per share were issued. According to the Affidavit of Incorporators of "Love Field Potteries"  filed with the Office of Secretary of State the 8th day of August 1923 the stockholders are described as:

L. S. McKamy                    Dallas, Texas        400 Shares        $7500 in cash and $32,000 in land and buildings*

E. B. Doggett                     Dallas, Texas        150 Shares        $7,500 in cash

F. W. Jackson                    Renner, Texas        50 shares          $2,500 in cash

Dr. O. T.  Mitchell           Renner, Texas        50 Shares           $2,500 in cash

Taylor Jackson                 Dallas, Texas          50 Shares           $2,500 in cash

George L. McLendon     Dallas, Texas          50 Shares            $2,500 in cash

    The property, and future home of Love Field Potteries, that Mr. McKamy contributed to the corporation was described as:

Situated in Dallas County Texas, a part of thee Dickerson Parker Survey, and out of the Northern part of the Love Field Industrial District property, located about five miles N.W. from the Court house, in the city of Dallas, Texas, between Maple Avenue and Lemon Avenue roads, both of which are paved highways. There are paved streets on three sides of the aforesaid tract of land, to-wit; the South, East and West, and one paved street running through said property, near the center thereof.

Property is supplied with Railway facilities, by a double spur tract of the M. K. & T. Ry (railway) of Texas, running across the property, from East to West, near the center thereof, and which serves the industries in the Love Field Industrial District.

    The property and plant were located between Love Field Drive (South), Addis Street (West) and Weiss (East) with the then Dallas Aviation and Air School (later Air Associates) bordering its Eastern side. The property had all the necessary utilities, including water, gas, electricity, and sanitary sewer, required to operate a modern manufacturing facility. While it is pure speculation one has to wonder if the railroad spur with loading/off loading facilities on this piece of property was not one of the deciding factors in choosing this piece of property as the future home of Love Field Potteries. Having access to the railroad would be imperative to Love Field potteries since all its raw materials had to be shipped into the plant.  Additionally, there were  six frame buildings located on the property. The U.S. government built the buildings during WWI when it constructed Love Field as an Army Signal Corps training facility for military pilots. The Army Signal Corps officially announced naming the training center after deceased army pilot Moss Lee Love on October 18, 1917. The  buildings and additional improvements on the grounds were described in the Affidavit of Incorporators of "Love Field Potteries"  as:

1. Building used as garage, 203 ft. 3 in by 66 1/2 feet, concrete foundation, concrete floor; fourteen foot walls; suspension roof; outside walls of drop siding; composition roofing.

2.  Building constructed and used for Machine shop, 125 ft. 4 in by 66 feet 4 in, concrete foundation, and floor, 14 foot walls; Lights, gas, and water connections.

3.  Building constructed and used for Motor testing shop, being a room 65 ft. 3 in by 25 feet 3 in, with sky lights, concrete foundation and floors. Extending out from this room is a shed,  38 ft. 4 in by 18 feet, and on each side are open concrete floors, used for washing automobiles; the entire concrete flooring of this structure being 65 ft 3 in by 63 ft 7 in.

4.  Building 60 x 40 feet, used for Post Exchange. , suspension ceiling, concrete foundation and floors,  Water  gas, and light connections.

5. Building 60 ft 3 in by 28 ft 3 in,  constructed and used for Black Smith Shop.  Concrete foundation and floors,  etc.

6. Building 36 ft 4 in by 14 ft 3 in,  used for toilet."

7. One concrete reservoir, about 20 x 30 feet used by the Government as a filtration plant.

     Construction of a plant for the manufacture of pottery which will be called Love Field Potteries began in July according to an August 1923 article entitled "93 New Concerns for the Month." The article recaps 93 businesses which began operations and or construction during the month of July 1823. Love Field Potteries is listed and its officers were given as L. S. McKamy , president: E. B. Doggett, vice president:  E. T. Jackson (Taylor) secretary-treasurer: George L. McLendon, Sales Manager.

      George L. McLendon relationship with Love Field Potteries and its other shareholders is unclear between 1926 to 1928. In early 1926 George L. McLendon is listed as one of the major shareholders in the newly formed Southern Potteries Corporation, Dallas , Texas. Also during 1926 James Andrew Green came to work at the pottery filling the position of Kiln Burner and Acting Plant Manager, according to a Green family member. While these two events are only circumstantial one has to wonder if Mr. McLendon affiliation with Love Field Potteries had not ceased by 1926. While there is no solid evidence to support this by 1929 there is evidence that his official status as a shareholder in Love Field Potteries had changed. In the "Charter of Love Field Potteries; Proof of Final Payment" dated the 3rd day of July 1929 George L. McLendon is no longer listed as a stockholder. The stockholders are described as L. S. McKamy, E. B. Doggett, F. W. Jackson,   Dr. O. T.  Mitchell and Taylor Jackson.

    Finding primary source material on Love Field Potteries is often more difficult than locating examples of their products. Yet, in February, 1925 the Dallas Times Herald ran an article entitled   "Little Romance Left in Pottery Manufacturing: Modern and Ancient Pottery Making Methods in Use at Love Field Plant."  describing how Love Field was harnessing modernization and mechanization techniques to change the time honored methods of  pottery manufacturing. No longer were hand turners, master potters utilizing the turning wheel, the norm: rather, unskilled production personal had had replaced them. The pottery wheel no longer held its monopolistic place on the potters list of tools.  Moulds, jigs and dies now were replacing the potters wheel. "Two boys, with the aid of a huge punch and die, can produce 250 flower pots a minute. A hand potter of the old school would have to force production to make that many in a day."

    To be an economically viable entity early 20th century manufacturers were as concerned with increasing production and cutting overhead just as today's companies struggle to do the same. Love Field Potteries by harnessing and embracing modern equipment, machinery and manufacturing techniques , as well as utilizing unskilled labor rather than skilled labor made, it a shinning example of a then thoroughly modern manufacturing company .  "Little Romance Left in Pottery Manufacturing: provides us with a rare glimpse inside the workings of a then  modern mass production company.  The mechanized production process used at Love Field was described as:

A mammoth punch presses the shape, automatic conveyers carry it to the driers, rubber tired wagons remove shapes to the kiln and after baking process is completed, carry them to the painters and the glazers. it takes a machine but a fraction of a moment to complete the design. Machines now dip the shapes into huge baths of glaze....Automatic racks carry the wet glazed pots into the kiln

This article goes on to say that the clay came from an East Texas digging. A relative of Taylor Jackson has told me that according to a Journal in her possession relating to the potter stated that the clay came from Wood County Texas. All of the items made by Love Field Potteries were made of white clay with the exception of an unglazed one inch (1") an four (4") inch red clay flower pot. Whether both the red clay and white clay came from the same clay pit is unknown at the time of this writing.

Still In Progress...

* The property as valued at $35,400 but was encumbered by two notes totaling $3,400 which the corporation assumed. $35,400 - $3,400 = $32,000 thus the land total credit to L.S. McKamy.

A.   Crocks placed in round Kiln to be  fired for 48 hours

B. Child in a 20 gallon Crock (Virginia Laprelle daughter of George McLendon)

C. Master potter finishing hand turned pedestal

D. Steel die used to manufacture flower pots.

E. Round Brick Kiln

 

Click to view larger image

Dallas Times Herald, Feb. 8, 1925, "Little Romance Left in Pottery Manufacturing: Modern and Ancient Pottery Making Methods in Use at Love Field Plant."

 

 

 

        James Andrew Green and his family, including Henry Green who was two (2) at the time arrived, at the Love Field Potteries in 1926. James Green was the Kiln Burner and Acting Plant Manager.  Young Henry began working in the plant as soon as he was old enough to and continued uninterrupted except for his years of military service 1943-1946.  James Green worked and apprenticed at a pottery in Winfield Texas, owned by a Jim Houge, prior to his arrival in Dallas. 

        Henry Greens' memories of this long defunct company are as vivid today as they were over a half a century ago. In describing life at the pottery his conversations were colored with many sentimental and familial type stories and antidotes for one lived and worked at the pottery. Mr. Green recounts that there were 10 or so "company houses" on the property were the employees lived. Turn over was almost non-existent. " I came here when I was two and when I returned from the war in 1946 there were mostly the same people there."  The Pottery also offered its employees and near by neighbors protection from tornados. The kiln walls were eight bricks thick and extremely large (“...large enough for three delivery trucks to fit inside at the same time.”); thus, providing an ideal tornado shelter when not in operation. 

     Around 1946 Love Field Potteries was sold to K. Burge who was forced to discontinue operations in March of 1948.  The closure was due to tremendous increases in the cost of production.  Mr. Burge attributed these increased costs to the lack of locally suitable clay and the transportation cost involved in shipping clay to the facility in Dallas. Prior to the sale of the plant to Mr. Burge Love Field Potteries already had problems. Foremost was getting the raw material (clay) to the plant. The lack of boxcars available for "non-essential" usage during the war was extremely limited. With raw material shortages and the advent of newer lighter, cheaper materials to manufacture containers (Glass, Aluminum, Plastics, Stainless Steel, etc.) the plant was in trouble. When Mr. Burge purchased the plant it was to be an up hill struggle at best. 

        Americas change from a predominantly Agrarian society to a Modern Industrialized society also affected the demand for utilitarian pottery and Love Fields ability to function profitably. As cities grew the demand for churns, jugs and crocks diminished. Furthermore, as technology advanced there were newer, cheaper less bulky materials to package items in to get them to market. Glass jars and bottles, Tin and Aluminum cans and containers, soon replaced jugs, straight walled crocks and smaller storage crocks as receptacles for every day food items. By the late 1940's early 1950's churning ones own butter was had become like the stage coach; nothing more than a nostalgic memory, for city dwellers and towns folk. Unfortunately, Texas utilitarian pottery companies were to face the same fate as the churn. Today the only utilitarian company still in business is Marshall pottery located in Marshall Texas. The bulk of their sales, income and production is in terra cotta flowerpots. 

        According to a Dallas Times Herald story dated March 14, 1948 the land and buildings were put up for long-term lease. The first building leased contained over 30,000 square feet of floor space and was let to Pines Engineering and Pines Manufacturing Co. that same month. 

    Love Fields was predominantly a Regional pottery with most of their sales being within Texas. The plant owned three deliver trucks that crisscrossed the state selling and delivering their goods to hardware stores, nurseries and other vendors. Ed Morrison and a Mr. Beasely were two of the three drivers. Not only were the drivers responsible for delivery of the products they were also responsible for packing, unloading and taking orders for the next delivery. Today's truck drivers would revolt if asked to pack truckloads of pottery into wooden barrels (protected with straw) and then drive them to the buyer and uncrate the order, take a new order and then do this over and over until the truck is empty. There were no electric pallet jacks or pallets even for that matter. 

 

Be sure and visit the History continued page for more great pictures of the potter as well as manufacturing trends and history of the logos used.

Home History - Continued

 

    Many, Many Thanks to both Mr. J.C. Joiner and Mrs. Pamela Joiner for sharing their invaluable research and collaborating and allowing me to discuss, question and theorize on the happenings at Love Field Potteries!!!

    Many Thanks to  (Laurie Green) who put me in contact with her Father-in-law Mr. Henry Green. 

and

The Relatives of the Jackson, McKamy, Dogget, and McLendon families. Including  Julia Jackson -Gray (daughter of Taylor Jackson), Mrs Frank Caldwell, and Mrs. Fred Skelton (daughters of Lionel McKamy), Mrs. Virginia Laprell (Daughter of George McLendon), and Johnetta Burke. Whos help and informationwas invaluable.

 

 

I am always looking to add new items to this web site and or my collection. Please forward pictures and correspondence through the links below.

 

For bibliography on this page go to Bio & Credits page-(still up dating this info)

** I have only included what can be described as predominantly utilitarian potteries. I did not include predominantly art potteries.

 

              For those interested in submitting pictures or information to be included on this web site please email them to: Lovefieldpottery@aol.com

or 

histmjr4@aol.com

(I check this one daily or there abouts)

 

 

 

 
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Craig Fyock
Copyright © 2001 by [Love Field Potteries Collectors]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Aug 2007 08:52:01 -0400 .