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Edwin M. Knowles ( 1869-1943) was the son of Isaac Watt Knowles (1819-1902), a founder and partner of the firm Knowles, Taylor, and Knowles Co., which by the turn of the century had become the largest pottery in the world. Edwin Knowles' father had helped pioneer many inventions that revolutionized American dinnerware manufacture.
Edwin M. Knowles entered the pottery business after receiving his education at Allegheny College and Harvard University. He took control of the Potters Supply Company of East Liverpool, Ohio in 1890. By 1900, he became founder and president of the Knowles China Company, which soon changed its name to the Edwin M. Knowles China Co.
The Knowles facility, located in Chester, West Virginia, was described as a "model plant of the highest order." Edwin Knowles determined that his firm would manufacture only the finest semi-vitreous ware. One year later, product from the plant was lauded by the Crockery and Glass Journal as the highest grade ware: "weight is light, its finish the finest, its shapes graceful, its decorations artistic, and its body and quality most durable." Knowles' reputation for creating quality product became known throughout the industry. Demand for Knowles product grew. It wasn't long thereafter that plant No. 2 was erected, just two miles south of plant No. 1 along the Ohio River in Chester, West Virginia in Newell, West Virginia.
By November 1930 production had been at its best since the ending of the World War. The number of workers at this time was about 725 and by March 1931, with business still improving, employment was reported at about 600 workers. The firm consolidated its manufacture at the Newell factory, selling its Chester, West Virginia plant to the Harker Pottery in 1931. The company was out of business by 1963.
Your piece was manufactured in 1938 and currently has an estimated retail value of between $35 and $40. Hope this helps! Best, Will
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