Meyer Pottery Kiln (Texas)

"Making Meyer Pottery": The Meyer Pottery Kiln contains information about nineteenth- and twentieth-century ceramics production.

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Jug handles give Meyer pottery its distinctive character. Photo: Jim Walker/The Archaeological Conservancy.
Jug handles give Meyer pottery its distinctive character. Photo: Jim Walker/The Archaeological Conservancy.

After emigrating from Germany to Texas in 1884, William Meyer began working in a pottery workshop in Bexar County. After marrying the daughter of a fellow worker, Meyer and his new father-in-law, Franz Schultz, began searching for the perfect clay source to begin their own workshop. In 1887, Schultz and Meyer began producing pottery on a five-acre lot they bought for $25.

They built two homes and a pottery shop on the property, mining clay by hand from a source located on adjacent land that they leased, and later purchased. When Schultz died in 1898, Meyer continued producing pottery. During the early years of operation, the workshop supplied glazed utilitarian stoneware to much of the surrounding area of southwest Texas, from San Antonio to the Rio Grande.

The Meyer family has agreed to donate the two-acre tract that contained the kiln and associated residences and manufacturing facilities to the Conservancy. The lot is covered with glazed bricks and building blocks that formed the foundations and walls of the buildings. The tallest standing structure is the kiln’s chimney stack. Many of the bricks for the buildings were made on the property. There is also a large debris field containing the fragments of thousands of misfired and broken pieces of Meyer stoneware. Future research at the site can tell us more about early American manufacturing and crafts development as well as what life was like in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in south Texas.

Summary. Read More in our Winter 2016  Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 19 No. 3. Browse the article summaries in our Fall 2016 Issue.

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