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Lorenzo Johnson Pottery

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

The Lorenzo Johnson Pottery was located in Newstead Township in Erie County, New York and operated from 1850 to 1886. The pottery produced earthenware and drain tile. The earthenware consisted of the usual assortment of items needed by the local households and merchants including storage jars, jugs, bowls, milk pans and other utilitarian items. The pottery also produced drain tile for use on the local farms.

During the third quarter of the 19th century Western New York potteries producing redware were experiencing significant business competition from the stoneware manufacturers located along the Erie Canal in Lyons, Rochester and Buffalo. Stoneware was gaining popularity due to its non-porous nature as well as its durability. The Erie Canal facilitated easy movement of wares throughout Western New York State.

Perhaps one the most publicized pieces of redware pottery that was produced at the Johnson Pottery is an ovoid jar marked “L. Johnson”. The ovoid jar has an exterior glaze that is a mottled grey-green and tan color. In addition there is blue slip decoration added to simulate floral decoration. The addition of the blue slip decoration is unique to the Johnson Pottery in terms of Western New York State potteries. The floral decoration is similar to what might be seen on stoneware of the same period and may be interpreted as a means of competing with the local stoneware manufacturers.

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