The Bauer Potteries of Louisville, Paducah, and Los Angeles.

Written by Cassie Bratcher

From:  “Louisville of Today: Richly endowed by nature as a manufacturing and jobbing centre and a place of residence,” Consolidated Illustrating Company, 1895, p. 111.

From Louisville of Today: Richly endowed by nature as a manufacturing and jobbing centre and a place of residence, Consolidated Illustrating Company, 1895, p. 111.

I was cataloging a new book the other day, Clear as Mud: Early 20th century Kentucky Art Pottery, edited by Warren Payne.  Curious about the contents I checked the index for the name Bauer.  In 1992, Kentucky’s bicentennial year, The Filson was involved in a statewide newspaper project titled “Kentucky History Highlights from the Filson Club.”  I was asked to write an article for the series and chose to do an article on Kentucky Potteries because I had already done some research on the Bauer potteries; and since then I tend to check new pottery books for the Bauer name.

John Bauer (1852-1901) was born in Indiana to Andrew and Julia Bauer who had immigrated from Bavaria Germany.  He married Susan Shay in 1877, and founded the Preston Street Pottery in Louisville about 1879. The 1880 census for Louisville shows that John’s occupation was potter, and his brother Andrew was living in his household. John Bauer’s pottery had a long history.  After John’s death in 1901, his wife Susan ran the company until it was sold to Sylvester O. Snyder in 1905. Snyder changed the name to Louisville Pottery Company, and remained in charge until he sold the company to his son-in-law John B. Taylor.  John and Vivian Robertson purchased the company, which had moved to Brent Street, in 1971, and changed the name to Louisville Stoneware.

J. Andrew Bauer (1856-1923) apprenticed in his brother’s factory before moving to Paducah, Kentucky.  In 1886 he purchased a small company and opened the Paducah Pottery Company.  By the turn of the 20th century it was one of the largest potteries in Kentucky.  Paducah Pottery had at least two warehouses, with an L-shaped factory in the middle, several kilns and about seventy-five employees, including travelling salesmen.  In 1909 J. Andrew Bauer decided to move his family to Los Angeles, California and build a new pottery on the West Coast. The J. A. Bauer Pottery Company was built in Lincoln Heights, an area between Los Angeles and Pasadena, and ran successfully until it closed in 1962.

Jamie Evans

Jamie Evans is the Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator at The Filson Historical Society. When she isn’t working on publications for The Filson, you can find her behind her sewing machine or out on the roads training for her next big race.

7 comments on “The Bauer Potteries of Louisville, Paducah, and Los Angeles.

  1. Elllen Myers Whitehouse

    Susan Shea was my great- aunt

  2. jug tate

    i ran across a brown jug at the Nashville flea mkt that had J P Bauer Paducah stamped on it, I was wondering if this jug would have any value?

    1. Cassie Bratcher

      Hi J. Tate: We do not have any reference books on pottery values here at the Filson. You could contact an antiques dealer, or your local public library to ask if they have any guides on pottery, such as Kovels. You could also do some searching online for pottery values. I did a quick google search on “paducah pottery values” and came up with several results.

    2. Henry Cross

      I collect these small brown jugs. Your jug does have value but without a photo it would be difficult to say how much. If you want to contact me, my email address is

      1. Jennie Cole

        Thanks, Henry!

  3. Lynn Willham

    Hello, My mother passed away and I found one of your butter churns. John Bauer & Bro #4 2125 Preston St. Louisville KY Can you tell me about it and what it is worth? I can not find any like it. It is complet with the lid and wood churn no chips or cracks, brown. It has some writings on the bottom but I can’t read it. Thank you Lynn Willham

  4. Cassie Bratcher

    Hi Lynn: We are not able to provide appraisals on items. You may want to contact an antique dealer. They will be able to provide you with an idea of its value. For more information on butter churns in general you can check the internet, your local library or local book store.


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