Dates of Operation: 1913 - Present
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
Panama Pottery is a great story, sort of similar to Bauer’s ressurection some years ago. The Sacramento based pottery was re-purchased in September of 2006 and has undergone changes, but hopefully will be able to keep alive traditions of nearly 100 years. Since it was founded in 1913 (by Swedish immigrants) that makes it one of the longest running potteries in California.
I won’t try to cover all of the details about Panama, but encourage you to visit their website to find out more about the current state of the pottery. A basic history: Victor Axelson served as president from 1914-1928 and the company produced colored ware vases and other garden ware. This includes the type of pottery that is sometimes confused with Bauer items today. From 1943-1954 the pottery was operated by Noble and Ouweta Leonard. The plant continued from 1956 to around 1972 under Leonard and then Ouweta after Leonard passed away in 1963. Ramon Santos, who had come to Panama Pottery in 1948, ran the company with his wife Arselia from 1972 until very recently.
Panama Pottery has been re-established as a dual use facility, with pottery being manufactured for sale but also local artists being able to use the kilns for their work. About 70% of the pottery sold by the company is being made at the facility, while the remaining amount is being imported from other countries. I think this is the way to go with revamping a former pottery - you don’t want to have everything imported, but you gotta survive. Fostering local artists is also a great way to get the word out about the pottery.
I was meaning to visit Panama Pottery sometime to take pictures, but until then here is a photo from their website of the pottery yard:
As said previously, a lot of the older wares are mostly known as Bauer copycats. This extends not only to the colored ware but also things like salt crocks and unglazed flowerpots. They also had pieces that reminded me a lot of Pacific’s glaze treatments.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.