Rookwood Pottery was founded in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols and has the unique distinction of being the first manufacturing company in the United States founded by a female. It is also known for having many women artists on staff over its long lifespan. The name Rookwood was Maria’s brainchild after noticing the rooks, or crows, populating her father’s estate and combining that with “wood” for a nod to the fame Wedgwood wares. Maria ran the company for three years. Then in 1883, after she attained much success in earning medals for the company’s work, she turned over the management of and transferred her interest in the company to William W. Taylor. Under Taylors command the business went from a young award-winning pottery company to a thriving entity. It was a very successful operation over the following decades. But in 1941, after the Great Depression took its toll, Taylor closed-up shop. Until a brief few years later a group of investors bought the company and began production once again. The new Rookwood changed hands many times and even moved to a different state but could still never be the pottery it once was. They subsequently closed their doors for good in 1967.

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