The Rookwood Pottery Company in Cincinnati Ohio drew (emptied) its first kiln on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1880. Rookwood was soon a major contender in the international arena of art pottery because founder Maria Longworth Nichols’s enormous wealth funded all necessary resources. Also, she had access to Louise McLaughlin’s “secret” technique for decorating under the glaze. In 1880, probably less than five potteries in the world could produce pottery decorated under the glaze.
Gracing the walls of Cincinnati’s Art Museum are works of architectural faience made by Rookwood Pottery. Faience, a loose term for earthenware with a colorful decoration or glazes, became very fashionable in architecture by the turn of the nineteenth century. Although Rookwood’s faience production has been overshadowed by its art pottery, the significance of Rookwood’s architectural ceramics is equally important.