If you have been to the Copper Shop Gallery or the RCC web site gift shop, you no doubt have seen the Roycroft pattern china and coffee mugs as well as the Larkin and Graycliff patterns for sale under the Buffalo Pottery trademark. But did you know the Hubbard - Martin - Buffalo Pottery connection?
Before founding the Roycroft, Elbert Hubbard was a soap salesman for the Larkin Soap Company in Buffalo. He lived in East Aurora and commuted to Buffalo. However, Hubbard was more than a salesman, he was a creative promoter of his products, inventing the premium, today known as a gift with purchase.
Japanese silk handkerchiefs, silver and china were among the gifts offered by the company as sales inducements. During Hubbard’s time at Larkin Soap the china premiums were imported. However, in 1901 John Larkin, Darwin Martin and other Larkin Soap executives decided they should manufacture their own china premiums and founded Buffalo Pottery to do so.
The pottery was wholely owned by the parent company. In 1906 Buffalo Pottery also began producing a pattern for the Larkin Company's employee dining room in their new Frank Lloyd Wright designed administration building. By 1911 nine kilns were operated by 250 people. However, Buffalo Pottery wasn't just making china premiums for the Larkin Soap Company. In 1915 they began making vitrified hotel ware. Today many of their early discontinued lines continue to be sought after by collectors; Deldare ware being one of the most popular.
The Buffalo Pottery trademark is now owned by Niagara Ceramics, a subsidairy of Oneida Ltd., and continues to manufacture in the same facility in Buffalo. As a matter of fact, the Roycroft, Martin House, Graycliff, and Larkin Bison Mug patterns are all manufactured there.
Buffalo Pottery in the Roycroft, Martin House and Graycliff patterns are sold at their respective gift shops and the Copper Shop tries to keep coffee mugs in all 3 patterns, plus the Larkin Bison Mug in stock at the Copper Shop (31 South Grove St. East Aurora, NY). This is yet another example of how interconnected these individuals were in the past and how their surviving institutions remain so to this day.