Recently, we sold an excellent Bennington Factory ovoid jug to a collector. This got me to thinking about the Norton family and their body of work. These potters, located in Bennington, Vermont, were a family owned operation which lasted well over 100 years. This is a mind boggling span of time compared to the rise and fall of businesses today.
John Norton initiated the pottery in 1785. His early pieces consisted of redware and then stoneware. Stoneware made during this period were seldom decorated. If so, the decoration consisted of a single flourish or a number to designate size.
The earliest stoneware was stamped “ Bennington Factory.” The Bennington Factory years spanned 1785-1812.
In 1812, John Norton brought his sons into the world of pottery. And, so it began, father to son, sometimes a brother or a cousin, but, a family owned and operated business which created stoneware pottery that is eagerly sought today.
Here is a handy list of the dates and stamps you may find on a piece of Norton family stoneware:
Bennington Factory – 1785-1823
L. Norton & Co. – 1823-1828
L. Norton – 1828-1833
L. Norton & Son – 1833-1841
Julius Norton – 1841-1845
Norton & Fenton - 1845-1847
Julius Norton – 1847- 1850
J & E Norton – 1850-1859 (this period produced the elaborately decorated pieces)
J. Norton & Co.- 1859-1861
E & LP Norton - 1861-1881
E. Norton & Co. - 1881-1885
Edw’d Norton Co. - 1885-1894
E & LP Norton fragment - 1861-1881