Locations: El Monte, San Marcos
Dates of Operation: 1927 - 1980
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of most of the Freeman McFarlin Potteries pieces. Many of their items, which often focus on animal and human figurines, just seem so tacky, over the top and garish to me. However, I think that’s the point for many people who collect it. I know that their gold leaf items are also sought after. I like some of their more midcentury modern looking items plus some of the vases, but I have to admit that I bought the candlesticks shown above primarily for the backstamp and to have an example for the site.
One thing to note about this company is the discrepancies in how people label the company. I’ve seen many different spellings, especially of McFarlin as “MacFarlane”, “MacFarlin”, “McFarlane”, “McFarlan”, or “MacFarlen”. I believe the actual name (from the stamp on the pieces I have) was Freeman & McFarlin Potteries, but we’ve omitted the ampersand and the word “potteries” for convenience.
The pottery came together fully in the 1940s, after Maynard Anthony Freeman joined Gerald H. McFarlin’s pottery business; the latter had been the head of several art-related businesses previously, while Freeman became the designer side of the business. The plant was located in El Monte. As mentioned, the earlier business focused on animals (Chipman lists a whole host of animals and gives detailed pictures of many models in his book).
The company used a number of different designers freelance and inhouse, most notably Kay Finch. After Finch’s factory closed in the 60s, Freeman-McFarlin bought out several of the mold designs and continued producing them in various treatments. Finch also did original designs for them in the 60s-70s on a freelance basis. One of the things that the company was very good at was repurposing or “imitating” successful lines from other California potteries (such as Jaru or Monterey’s Monterey Jade). But then, EVERYONE was doing that to try and survive, so you can’t really fault the company.
They added a second factory in San Marcos. By the time the El Monte location closed in the 70s, the company was in different hands - it finally ended up as part of Hagen-Renaker in the 80s.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.