Locations: Lincoln Heights
Dates of Operation: 1885 - 1962
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
Popular Lines & Patterns:
Al Fresco, Cal-Art, Contempo, El Chico, GPK, Hi-Fire, La Linda, Matt Carlton, Mission Moderne, Monterey, Monterey Moderne, Moonsong, Plain Ware, Ring Ware, Russel Wright
Relevant Posts and Articles:
2010.08.29 Bauer Brusche Test Plate?
2010.08.06 Bauer Thrift Finds
2010.07.08 Bauer Yellow Finds
2010.06.23 Bauer Mission Moderne Cups
2009.10.11 Bauer Swirl Flowerpot
2009.09.01 Bauer Blue Rose Bowl
2009.09.01 Small Bauer Mixing Bowl
2009.08.18 Bauer Bean Pot
2009.07.01 Moonsong Find
2009.04.15 Spice Jar Find
2009.04.02 Russel Wright Release In April
2009.03.19 La Linda Bowl
2008.12.20 Bauer Showroom Visit
2008.12.08 There’s Still Bauer In Dem Der Woods
2008.11.24 Russel Wright by Bauer
2008.11.15 Fred Johnson Bowl
2008.10.09 More Bauer Bowls
2008.09.06 Bauer Casserole on Mad Men
2008.08.31 Bauer Garden Orbs
2008.07.29 Bauer Vs. Meyers Pottery
2008.06.16 Bauer Featured in LA Times
2008.06.14 Yellow Bauer Flower Pot
2008.06.06 Bauer in Sunset Magazine
2008.05.27 Bauer Speckleware Examples
If you collect any sort of California Pottery, you probably are already familiar with the Bauer name. The J.A. Bauer Pottery is the “big daddy” of California potteries, and in fact people who don’t collect pottery often think that Bauer EQUALS California Pottery. Certainly, it’s the most famous name of all the companies who made the brightly colored pottery and dinnerware that brought California to the attention of the previously East and Midwest - centric pottery world.
Because there is so much better information already out there in the various books on Bauer, I’m not going to delve too far into either the history or lines of the company. For more information, I encourage you to check out either Chipman’s Guide to Bauer, Tuchman and Brenner’s Bauer Book or any of the other various books around (Unfortunately, many of these books are out of print so you might have to resort to Ebaying them). If you’re interested in Matt Carlton’s contributions to Bauer, there is a really great online exhibition with pictures and tet on the Calpots site that I often return to read.
Bauer was actually started up in Kentucky, but was moved by John Andrew Bauer to L.A. shortly after the turn of the century. The pottery that made them famous, and that was imitated endlessly (with varying degrees of success), was their vibrant “ringware”. This is what most collectors associate with Bauer, and it’s also what became extremely popular with collectors starting in the late 70s to mid 80s. Today, it’s extremely difficult to find ANY Bauer sitting at the thrift. Like Jade-ite, most of it has been scooped up in the past decade by speculators who try and sell on Ebay.
Despite that, it’s still possible to find Bauer occasionally for very cheap. One thing collectors sometimes don’t realize are that there are a multitude of different lines, shapes, treatments and colors to collect. Some famous designers for Bauer include: Russel Wright, Fred Johnson, Matt Carlton, Tracy Irwin and Ray Murray. Also - collectors should realize that MANY PIECES OF BAUER ARE UNMARKED. This provides at least a little hope for a beginning collector to find a few pieces for cheaper. In addition, remember there are some great Bauer “lookalikes” that are collectible in their own right - Pacific, Catalina, Cemar, early Gladding McBean, Garden City, Meyer’s California Rainbow, and early Metlox are a few names worth knowing.
Please note that there is a lot of pottery out there marked as “BP” with some other numbers. I haven’t seen any proof that this is Bauer Pottery, but I’ve seen a lot of sellers say that it is. If you can prove it either way, please let me know.
I’ve had the best luck finding speckled Bauer, because the stamp is often very indistinct or it is marked with Herb Brutsche’s name (Brusche). Brutsche worked for a time with the Bauer company (specifically with the Bauer operations in Atlanta, Georgia) before striking out on his own with Brutsche Ceramics. His Al Fresco line (which was actually designed by Tracy Irwin) was a great design, and if not for bad luck causing his company to fold in 1950 he might have made more lines. As it was, his company ended up being folded back into Bauer and the Al Fresco line was repurposed. Brutsche himself came back to the company as GM in 1960.
Interestingly, the Bauer name has been revived recently - there is a ceramics manufacturing company headed by a collector named Janek Boniecki who now has the rights to produce items with the Bauer name. You can actually buy “Bauer 2000″ items which are modeled mostly on the older popular color ringware items of the 30s and 40s. They actually did not use the old molds - they had to reverse engineer many of the designs from actual examples.
There is a website set up for the company - The address of the factory that now produces Bauer’s pottery is out in Highland (around San Bernadino like where the 330 is). They also have a showroom which they open to the public - as of this writing it was open on the first weekend of every month.
They do have retailers who sell the new 2000 line all over California and in other states. The newer pots are (thankfully) marked with the newer Bauer 2000 stamp, so there’s no way to confuse them with the older items. There’s more information in the recent (2008) LA Times article.Note: We've tried to provide as much info as possible on this pottery maker or artist. For further info, you may want to research the items they have on Ebay listed under this name. We've tried to hand tailor the searches below so they will bring up the most accurate results. If there are no results, it will list general California pottery.