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The craftsman
Vol. VII, No. 5 (February 1905)

Binns, Charles F.
The future of ceramics in America,   pp. 563-566 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 563


THE FUTURE OF CERAMICS IN AMERICA. BY
CHARLES F. BINNS
SURVEY of the pottery products exhibited at St. Louis,
can not fail to raise a question of the position of Ameri-
can manufacturers of table wares.  While Germany
and France, Denmark and Sweden, Great Britain and
Japan put forth elaborate displays of services, America
w ne r-, r ontP -i      Jli" t ^ *I,    -f h, I ........
That American faience was prominently exhibited is nothing to the
point; these are wares of luxury. But that the production of useful
and indispensable plates and dishes should have been handed over to
the foreigner is almost incredible.
   The reply to this point of view will be twofold. In the first place
it will be said that the native manufacturers were too busy with orders
to take the trouble to exhibit their goods; and secondly, it will be con-
tended that the wares shown by foreigners were of the class of highly
decorated services which are not made in this country. The first of
these objections is only partially true. There is probably no manu-
facturer in the United States who is actually working to the limit. If
a large order were presented with a time condition, it would be ac-
cepted in almost every case, but then there would be "money in it."
The fact is that our manufacturers do not see "money" in an exhibi-
tion, and hence will not take part. Patriotism is not sufficient induce-
ment. Let the French and the Germans outshine us if they will, we
care not to spend our dollars in maintaining the honor of our industry
or our nation I
   In the second case, if the foreigners make decorated services and
there is a demand for them, they ought to be made here. It is hinted
more or less boldly that American manufacturers will not exhibit
their wares beside European services, because they fear the result of
the comparison. If so, why is the case not remedied?
   The question is one which opens the whole matter of the future of
pottery and porcelain in this country. The fact can not be gainsaid
that, broadly speaking, the better grades of ware for the table are not
made in America. There are a few honorable exceptions to this, but
they are only sufficient to emphasize the truth of the general state-
ment. America has fine clays, unlimited fuel, abundant capital and
a protective tariff, and yet she can not compete with Europe.
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