- Published: May 4, 2014
- Written by Royal Copley
What is Royal Copley? There is no simple answer. Royal Copley is the name of one line of merchandise produced by the Spaulding China Company of Sebring, Ohio. Spaulding operated from 1942 to 1957, a very short time when compared against the decades-long operational life of other potteries.
Morris Feinberg and Irving Miller of New York created the company in response to changes in the marketplace because of World War II. Operating for only 15 years, the company produced a wide variety of pottery items. Birds were prolific, planters of every kind and style. The designs were sophisticated for the time and the planters gave the appearance of art pottery rather than looking utilitarian. They produced animal figural pieces, lamps, urns vases, and oriental themed human figural pieces so popular at the time. Baby planters for new parents, congratulatory vases, planters and pots of various kinds.
Of course they were well known for their line of chickens and roosters, dogs, cats, bears and banks. There was even a line of ashtrays and coasters. Spaulding was the second largest pottery in the United States at the time. It operated around the clock producing as many as 6,000 items in a single day. Although this level of mass production lacked the extremely fine detail of other producers, the focus on quality control, the cherished designs and above all the affordability created a powerhouse in the art pottery industry.
The name Spaulding however is little known. Three merchandise lines existed, strictly for marketing purposes. it is interesting to note that there was NO quality difference in the lines. They were identical, and produced identically. The names and foil labels affixed to every item were a marketing device only. The Royal Copley line was marketed to middle class "five and dime" stores or "everyday" chain stores and was priced more affordably to reach a far larger market. The Royal Copley line comprised 85% of the company's production and was targeted to the homemaker of the day who desired sophisticated looking items for the home. The Royal Windsor and Spaulding names were chosen with a purpose. There was a fascination at the time with so called "royalty" and upper class British society. Remember this was WWII, and a young beautiful princess had joined her army To fight for her country. The expensive foil labels and the names Royal Windsor and Spaulding (note the use of the spelling) lent the air of dignity. These two lines of merchandise represented the remainder of production and was marketed to and sold exclusively to more upscale department stores and gift shops.
Thus, far more Royal Copley was produced, sold and therefore survives. This is how the name Royal Copley has come to represent not only the company and all its wares, but an entire class of art pottery. It seems now that any unmarked, quality, attractive, well designed and well made pottery item is immediately attributed the name "Royal Copley". Although the kilns went cold some 70 years ago, the Royal Copley story continues.