Category:Willets Mfg. Co.

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The pottery that John W. Hanley chose for the manufacture of his Fortune Telling Tea Cup has been difficult to identify, but i believe that it was the Willets Manufacturing Company of Trenton, New Jersey. I base this theory on the proximity of the Trenton pottery industry to New York City, where Hanley lived, and the fact that the only mark on the cup is an octagon shape with the words "Semi Porcelain" inside and small floral designs at the top and bottom of the octagon.

The only mention of such a mark i can find appears in "Marks of American Potters," by Edwin Atlee Barber, A.M., Ph.D., curator and Secretary of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (Patterson and White Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1904). Writing just a few years after the Hanley cup was manufactured, Barber said:

"In 1879 the Willets Mfg. Co. came into possession of the works formerly operated by Wm. Young & Sons, and still retain them. The plant has since been extended from time to time, until it is now one of the largest in this country. The marks used by the Willets Mfg. Co. are as follows: [...] On their semi-porcelain they have used an octagonal mark."

This is very little evidence to go on, but in lieu of further data or photographs of a verified Willets "octagonal mark," i am assigning Hanley's cup to the Willets Manufacturing Company.

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