Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Watt Chips Bowl

Don’t know, but I may just have gotten myself into one more collecting hobby with a visit to the flea market last Saturday. It has been said that every day a new door opens, and that certainly was the case for me with the discovery of something called the Watt Pottery Company that operated between 1922 and 1965 in Crooksville, Ohio and was active in producing stoneware crocks and kitchen ovenware until a fire destroyed their plant.

Through the early 30s, Watt focused their manufacture on stoneware crocks, butter churns, storage jars, preserve jars and jugs, but in the mid-thirties switched from stoneware to modern oven ware. In the early years of producing oven ware their products were solid color kitchenware in patterns called Moon and Stars, Arcs, Loops, Diamond and Grooves. Today these pieces are popular among collectors. By 1949 the company was producing hand-painted ware and expediting their production at lower production costs. The designs were basic, in bright colors on an ivory-colored background, a look that exemplified country life and appealed to housewives. From 1949 to 1953 Watt produced their classic patterns: Rio Rose, Moonflower, Dogwood, White Daisy, and Cross-Hatch. A second set beginning in the early 1950s included: Starflower (1951), Apple (1952), Cherry (1952), Silhouette (1953), Rooster (1955), Dutch Tulip (1956), American Red Bud (1957), Morning Glory (1958), Autumn Foliage (1959), Double Apple (1959), and Tulip (1961). The perennial favorite among collectors has always been the Apple.

At Saturday’s flea market I came across a bowl that immediately appealed to my sense of ‘old’ kitchenware. At first, looking closely at the bowl didn’t push any buttons and checking the name on the bottom didn’t help either. I saw concentric rings with ‘oven ware U.S.A.’ in the outer, and ‘7 watt’ in the inner ring. No question the bowl was old, but other than that I couldn’t say. Then the man behind the table spoke up, saying it was Watt pottery. To the right of the bowl was a book about Watt pottery, so I looked through it getting an idea of what the name Watt means. The bowl for sale is one manufactured as part of a snack set, probably in the late 40s, these days selling (as a set) for about $400. The one I was looking at, with the word ‘chips’ painted on its side was marked $12.00. I didn’t need to ask because the man spoke up to say that the low price was because of a small crack. I suppose for the ‘real Watt collector’ this tiny defect would be enough turn him away. Can’t say I wouldn’t also prefer the bowl to be perfect, but it’s a small crack on a handsome old bowl, and I'm not a real collector. I brought it home.

Problem is, the more I look at it the more I think I’ve found something that will have me looking for companion pieces in the future. There are already enough old bowls and dishes in my kitchen cabinets—most of them Japanese— but it’s the kind of thing that catches my eye on junk shop shelves and flea market tables.


  1. I LOVE it!!! All of the "odds and ends" of your collection make life interesting and that's the beauty of collecting. Happy to know about Watt Pottery

  2. Nice, basic, beautifully simple, and the kind of thing that adds so much to a kitchen with its character.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America