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Great-grandchildren of founder remember days in the pottery

July 31, 2012
By STEPHEN HUBA - Hancock County Reporter (shuba@reviewonline.com) , The Review

EAST LIVERPOOL-For millions of Americans, Taylor, Smith & Taylor pottery was what they served food in and put on their dinner tables.

For Barrie (Smith) Archer and her brother, William "Wink" Smith IV, TS&T was the family business and the place where they worked during their high school and college years.

Archer, 66, and Smith, 64, are the great-grandchildren of William L. Smith, one of the founders of TS&T in 1899. Both of them worked at the Chester plant in the 1960s-Archer in the design department and Smith in the modeling shop.

"I was a mold maker for a couple summers," Smith said. He also assisted the maintenance crew when the plant was shut down for two or three weeks in the summer.

Smith's earliest memories of TS&T go back to when he was a child and played with Howdy Doody dolls-the same dolls used by TS&T industrial designer Doris Coutant in the development of the Howdy Doody line of cookie jars, dishes and banks.

When Coutant came down with polio, Smith's parents were worried that he would contract the disease and threw away the dolls.

Smith started working at TS&T when he was 15 or 16 years old. "I was over there every Saturday morning. I'd go there with my dad (William L. Smith III)," he said. "It was a lot of fun."

Archer, an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Ceramics in East Liverpool, remembers designers such as John Gilkes, Walter Teague and Marvin Triguba. "Walter Teague's designs were very distinctive," she said.

Archer went on to become an art educator, retiring from teaching in 2010.

Smith moved to Atlanta, but, upon returning to East Liverpool, he was saddened by the sight of the vacant TS&T factory, which was closed by the Anchor Hocking Corp. in 1981.

"It hurt," he said. "When I crossed that (Jennings Randolph) bridge and I saw it deteriorate, it was killing me. I wanted it to be gone, or I wanted it to be running."

Smith said TS&T struggled to adapt in a global market increasingly dominated by foreign competitors.

"In the '60s, we were fighting the imports then," he said. "Some of the (foreign) stuff was absolutely gorgeous, and it was under our prices. That was hard."

Smith said he's "absolutely tickled" that the TS&T site finally is being razed in preparation for new economic development.

 
 

 

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