Locations: Pasadena, San Juan Capistrano
Dates of Operation: 1936 - ?
Seller Values: Check average price on Ebay
The brothers Don and Ross Winton initially started up this pottery around 1936 - since they were themselves twins, it was a perfect name. There are a few things about Twin Winton Ceramics that are important to note, so I’ll talk about those first.
Number one is that because Don Winton’s skills were in high demand, he actually did a ton of design work for numerous other companies. So you’ll often see Winton designs on pieces that have different makers. Some of the possibilities include Pacific, Freeman McFarlin, DeLee Art and De Forest, but there are surely many more.
The second thing, which is somewhat related to the first, is that the stamps and markings on the bottom of many Twin Winton pieces can vary greatly. Many were hand-signed (the squirrel mug below has a hand signature) or not signed at all. The original business was a partnership between Don and Ross Winton and Helen Burke, who did much of the hand-decorating. Those pieces are often marked as Burke-Winton - but to keep matters simple we are going to keep all Winton related information on this one gallery page.
Also, because their pottery included a lot of smaller animal figurines, there was often not a lot of room for a mark on the bottom. Paper labels were sometimes easier, and these were often removed by the customer. You see this frequently with California Pottery animal figurines from many companies.
The third thing is that the pottery moved around quite a bit - this was also common with many California potteries. For fun, I like to actually drive to where these California potteries were located originally, but there are just so many locations they were listed at! Most of the following information is from the Chipman book on California Pottery.
The brothers started along with Burke at Busch Gardens, Pasadena, which was one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Southern California area from 1905 to 1937. They made mostly cartoon character animals (some would say heavily derivative of Disney at the time). They later broke off business with Burke in 1939 and moved to Tujunga. Three years later, they moved again to Hill Street near Washington in north Pasadena (just a little north of the 210 Fwy).
After a quick hiatus serving in the military during the war, they re-established the business on Mission St. in South Pasadena in 1946. At this time, their (non-twin) brother Bruce joined up. This location interests me because I know that area fairly well. The exact address is not known, but I’ve often wondered which building it was that they were housed in and if it still stands today. Their last Pasadena location was at 1190 North Fair Oakswhich is just east of the Rose Bowl.
The moving wasn’t done yet, however. Brother Bruce actually bought them out in 1952 (probably because the twins were freelancing their work more and more at that time) and he moved the factory to El Monte, specifically 11654 McBean Drive. This is just off Peck Road a little west of the 605 Fwy. The business stayed there until 1964 when it finally moved to all the way down to San Juan Capistrano where it stayed for over a decade until it was sold.
Without a doubt, the most common item you will see from Twin Winton are Cookie Jars. They made a lot of these items starting at the El Monte location in 1953 - many are distinctive in that they use a wood-colored stain type of bisque. Other matching items like planters and wall pockets were created to complement these popular cookie jars.
Another line that you will see are the “Hillbilly” mugs and pitchers, which feature humorous designs fashioned after the cartoon that was popular at the time. These were started around 1947. Less common are the earlier and smaller “Disney-like” animal figures, both the Burke-Winton and Twin Winton varieties.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.