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History of Uhl Pottery Company

by O. I. (Mockey) Lett

AUGUST UHL, WHO HAD BEEN OPERATING A POTTERY IN LISBERG, GERMANY, CAME TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1846, AND AFTER BRIEF PERIOD SPENT IN NEW YORK, PITTSBURGH, AND LOUISVILLE, CONTINUED TO EVANSVILLE, WHERE HE ARRIVED IN THE SPRING OF 1848.

LOUIS UHL, THE YOUNGEST BROTHER OF AUGUST UHL, ARRIVED IN EVANSVILLE IN 1849 AND BEGAN WORK AS A POTTER AND ULTIMATELY FORMED A PARTNERSHIP WITH HIS BROTHER AUGUST WHICH LASTED FOR 33 YEARS.

THE FIRST UHL POTTERY COMPANY PLANT WAS ERECTED AT 9TH & MAIN STREETS IN EVANSVILLE, AND THE CLAY USED WAS SECURED IN THE VICINITY OF EVANSVILLE. THAT CLAY WAS SOON FOUND TO BE UNSATISFACTORY AND THE OWNERS STARTED PROSPECTING FOR CLAY IN THE SURROUNDING TERRITORY AND FOUND WHAT THEY WANTED AT HUNTINGBURG, IND. THE CLAY MINED AT HUNTINGBURG WAS HAULED TO GRANDVIEW IN WAGONS AND THERE LOADED ON SCOWS AND SHIPPED TO EVANSVILLE WHERE IT WAS TRANSFERRED TO DRAYS AND HAULED TO THE PLANT.

WHEN THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY OPENED A BRANCH LINE FROM HUNTINGBURG TO EVANSVILLE, THE PLANT AT 9TH AND MAIN STS. WAS ABANDONED AND A NEW PLANT WAS BUILT ON ILLINOIS AND JOHN STS., ADJOINING THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY TRACKS. IN 1908 THE SITE OF THE EVANSVILLE PLANT WAS SOLD AND THE PLANT MOVED TO HUNTINGBURG, WHERE IT WOULD BE NEAR TO THE CLAY DEPOSITS. AT THE TIME, CHARLES UHL, THE SON OF LOUIS UHL WAS IN CHARGE OF THE PLANT AND THE NEW PLANT WAS PUT IN CHARGE OF HIS SON, LOUIS CHARLES UHL, WHO MOVED TO HUNTINGBURG AND MANAGED THE PLANT UNTIL IT WAS CLOSED BECAUSE OF LABOR TROUBLES.

THE MAIN OFFICE AND A WAREHOUSE WERE KEPT IN EVANSVILLE UNTIL 1934. AT THAT TIME THE MAIN OFFICE WAS MOVED TO HUNTINGBURG, LEAVING A RETAIL SALESROOM AND WHOLESALE WAREHOUSE IN EVANSVILLE.

AT THE TIME I STARTED WORKING FOR UHL – MR. CHARLES UHL HAD PASSED AWAY AND THE UHL POTTERY COMPANY CONSISTED OF THE DIRECTORS AND STOCKHOLDERS ---

  • LOUIS C. UHL - SON OF CHARLES UHL
  • EDGAR M. UHL - BROTHER OF CHARLES UHL
  • ROBERT C. UHL - SON OF LOUIS C. UHL
  • JANE UHL - DAUGHTER OF CHARLES UHL
  • HELEN UHL FARMER - DAUGHTER OF CHARLES UHL

AS YOU NO DOUBT KNOW I AM SUBSTITUTING FOR BOB, WHO RECENTLY PASSED AWAY. HE WAS THE FIFTH GENERATION OF UHL POTTERS.

I STARTED WORKING FOR UHL POTTERY COMPANY IN 1929 AFTER GRADUATING FOR HIGH SCHOOL. MY FIRST JOB WAS TO ASSIST IN SHIPPING AND TO TAKE CARE OF THE PAY ROLL.

WHEN THE OFFICE WAS MOVED FROM EVANSVILLE TO HUNTINGBURG, I WAS MADE BOOKKEEPER AFTER KERMIT WESSEL QUIT. THIS WAS IN THE 1930’S. I CONTINUE TO TAKE CARE OF THE PAYROLL AND SHIPPING AND TOOK CARE OF THE BOOKS AT NIGHT AND ON SUNDAYS.

WHEN BOB UHL LEFT TO START SELLING FOR US IN FLORIDA I BECAME MR. LOUIS UHL’S ASSISTANT AND WAS MADE SECRETARY OF THE CORPORATION.

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