Locations: Culver City
Dates of Operation: ? - 1958
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
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Most of the Gilner Potteries items that I see are either figurines or figurines attached to planters. In the 1940s and 1950s Beryl Gilner capitalized on the so-called “Pixie” craze by making lines of planters and figurines that featured the little creatures. Their two lines were called “Happy People” (boy pixies) and “Merry Maids” (girl pixies). They also came out with a popular line called the “Happy Cannibals”. The Pixie line was made from 1948-1958.
The one piece that I’ve come across (April 2008) is actually neither of those figurines but just a simple turquoise color planter. It is marked inmold (as was most Gilner items) as “Gilner California” in script. Some other pieces have dates on the bottom. The pottery was located in Culver City, and Chipman’s Encyclopedia has two different addresses listed, one being from an advertisement. I’ll have to go check out both of the addresses when I have a chance to see if any part of the original potteries still stand.
11/2008 Update: A nice Gilner Pixie collector named Carla let me know about the wonderful PixieWatch site which also has information about Gilner. There is a ton of information about Pixies in general, so you should head on over there if you collect this type of figurine. Carla also noted that we had some incorrect information - I’d earlier said that Beryl ran the pottery with his son Burt. This information was in Chipman’s Encyclopedia, but it may not be correct since Beryl did not say anything about his son when he was interviewed.
Also, she says the original buildings from the two locations do still stand today even though they are being used for other businesses. The Pixies were introduced toward the tail end in the timeline of Gilner - they went out of business in 1958 due to a fire. At one time there was over 120 people working for the company - I guess it isn’t too surprising considering how huge the pottery business was in those times.
3/2009 Update: Recently, Jack Bassford sent in this picture of a vase made by Gilner. I’ve been interested in finding out more about the “non-Pixie” type of items that the company produced, so it was nice to see this interesting green and black vase made by the company.
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