William Nelson McCoy built a small pottery factory in Zanesville, Ohio in 1848 and he produced primarily basic jars, jugs, and churns required by the settlers and farmers in the region.
In 1871, his son J.W. McCoy, moved to Roseville, Ohio and opened a general store in 1876. During this time the demand for pottery was higher than could be met by the local kilns; therefore, in 1886 he co-established the “Kildow, Williams, and McCoy Pottery Company.”
The company was mainly a distributor, providing wholesale pottery to other establishments, but items were also sold in J.W. McCoy’s own store retail.
In 1888 the company was renamed as the Midland Pottery Company, and 10 years later in 1898 it was sold to the Roseville Pottery Company.
In 1899 J.W. McCoy formed a new company with himself as the sole owner. His company continued to make simple utility ware, but in 1904 J.W. McCoy took note of the art pottery being produced by other potters in the area. After witnessing the selling success of these items he too begin to make art pottery and his vases, flowerpots, and planter figurines sold quickly.
George Brush purchased controlling interest in the company in 1911, and the name was changed again to the “Brush-McCoy Pottery Company.”
In 1918 the McCoy family sold their remaining interest in the company, and in 1925 the name 'McCoy' was dropped. The company continued on as the Brush Pottery Company until closing its doors in 1982.
However, in 1910, J.W. McCoy assisted his son, Nelson McCoy, in creating a new company, the “Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company.” The new and inexperienced company initially produced utility ware, but they quickly added more artistic pieces to its repertoire in order to compete with competitors.
By 1933 the demand for decorative pieces was outshining the orders for utility ware, and with the new focus being on art pottery the company’s name was changed to simply being the “The Nelson McCoy Pottery Company.”
It is this company that collectors know as McCoy Pottery.
McCoy Pottery continued to produce decorative pottery for 57 years until it was sold in 1967 to the Mount Clemens Pottery Company. The new owners produced pottery from McCoy molds until the company was sold once more, this time to Lancaster County in 1974.
Lancaster County also produced pottery from McCoy molds, with Nelson McCoy still assisting with production. By 1981 Nelson had retired, and by 1985 the company was sold once more to “Designer Accents” who merged the two companies under the name of Nelson McCoy Ceramics.
Unfortunately, like so many pottery companies of the time, they had to file for bankruptcy 5 years later and from that they closed forever in 1990.
The pieces I have displayed have “Shafer” on the base. I cannot make out the karat of gold but each plater/figurine is beautifully accented with gold paint.