The predecessor of the Stetson China Company was the Illinois China Company, which was brought to Lincoln from Roodhouse, Illinois, in the spring of 1919. The Lincoln Commercial Club had been critical in getting Stetson China to Lincoln while its residents had to raise $50,000 in stock — two thirds of the capitalization when the company was incorporated — before the company would move.
The manufacturing facility had been constructed using a triangular-shaped location close to the junction of the Chicago & Alton, Illinois Central, and Illinois Traction System (ITS, interurban) railroads. The property location had been bought from the Latham Estate despite the fact that a part used up the previous location of the Illinois Central passenger site.
A lot of the factory, aside from the kilns, had been eliminated from fire during May, 1922. The company collected $50,000 insurance and raised $50,000 by the sale of stock and an new plant was built. The brand new manufacturing facility, fifty-percent bigger than the previous one, had been created to make ornamented china. A sprinkler system had been put in.
All patterns were purchased in England or Germany. Residents from this region didn’t have the tolerance to make patterns that might match up positively together with the efforts of German born designers. Distinctive styles had been marketed at $1,000 or $1,500, the purchaser having the accountability with the style and design becoming an effective seller. Considerable designing was completed by means of ‘decalcomania’ transfers.
Illinois China Company had been the sole producer associated with adorned semi-porcelain ware throughout Illinois as well as one of a handful of within the middle West. By far, the greater majority were located in the East, centered in a region near Pittsburgh and in Easton, Ohio.
The products of the Illinois China Company were sold in practically every state. During 1925, the localised pottery had been furnishing forty-five Kresge retailers with painted china.
Illinois China Company was sold to the Stetson China Company of Chicago on February 1, 1946. Joseph Stetson saw the beehive kiln fireplaces from the Illinois China Company during his visits to Chicago as well as St. Louis and then determined he’d provide Lincoln with a genuine china manufacturing pottery. Mr. Stetson must have noticed the Illinois China Company when traveling the Alton and Chicago line, that went past the factory.
Soon after Stetson purchased the china plant in Lincoln, he invested $2.5 million to grow it. The plant was increased from 50,000 square feet to 265,000 square feet by 1962 and employed almost 800 people.
Stetson employees built most of the plant’s machinery. This equipment included automatic decorating machines that sprayed the perimeters of the dining china, automated stamping equipment, and conveyer belts. As clay from Tennessee moved via the assemblage path, a piece of equipment cut off a part of it, that dropped onto a form upon the jiggering device. This equipment forced the clay onto the mold to make the front of a plate; then a tool pressed down on top of the clay to form the back.. These tools were designed and made in house. Tool were fabricated from carbon steel and took four to five hours.
Apart from the know-how required to supply the equipment, qualified employees had been necessary to complete the merchandise. Strippers eliminated abrasive sides as soon as the item emerged from the mold. Hand painting the china became a procedure that demanded a structured method of a meticulous craft. Soon after creator Alfred Dube developed designs, the superior artists created twenty-five or fifty examples and designed a process of running the assembly line. Typically, Al might adorn a 10-inch dish and then work back again after that to cups, saucers, and then bowls.
Specific products had been decorated methodically. Teachers educated women in painting a unique picture. Following that, every artist sat at a workplace, collecting a dish from a moving assembly line belt, painting their component, subsequently placing it back again upon the belt. She was paid a salary and also by the piece. A few women might paint specific leaves or perhaps clusters of these; many would paint only dots; even more sophisticated painters made entire flowers.
The lady at the start of the belt fixed the tempo, and the belt didn’t cease frequently. In the occasion in which a designer fell behind, the products were arranged at her workplace until eventually she caught up. If someone didn’t take away a product from the belt, the subsequent painter had been required to. Numerous times artists transferred to a different table to assist an individual to get caught up, or “floaters” performed the work. Whenever a certain job was finished, the product was delivered to the belt. The woman at the end of the belt cleared, counted, and then boxed the products.
In 1962, Stetson China had been the biggest producer of hand designed dinnerware in one location worldwide and Lincoln’s largest business in payroll as well as staff, hiring 792 individuals with a yearly local payroll in excess of $4 million.
Overwhelmed from international rivals as well as the launch of Melmac (that Stetson themselves manufactured at Manitowoc, Wisconsin), the plant shut down during 1965.