Kettlesprings logo History

Kettlesprings was born in 1950 when the city of Alliance, Ohio was planning a Centennial Celebration.

Joe Reighart, Gene Cunin, and Chuck Wolpert, three men involved with the Spring-Holzwarth Department Store in Alliance, conceived the idea of a commemorative plate for the city celebration.

The first design was for the Alliance Centennial, but it was so well received, several other Alliance designs were created, including the landmark Glamorgan Castle and the historic downtown of the city. When these designs were equally successful, the three men decided to go into business together as Kettlesprings Kilns and offer their combined talents to other groups planning memorable events.

Gene Cunin was the primary artist, Chuck Wolpert handled sales, and Joe Reighart applied his business acumen acquired during his years as part owner of Spring-Holzwarth Department Store.

While artist Cunin created the earliest artwork, he soon needed others to assist with the line drawings that would become plate designs. Included on the list of artists are: Barbara Jones, Bob Wagner, Eileen Epling, Curt Fahnert, Bill Lucas, Karon Common, Marvin Triguba, Evelyn Groves, Elizabeth Allyn, William E. Fay, and Richard Fay. Occasionally, clients submitted their own artwork for designs.

Richard (Dick) Fay joined Kettlesprings in 1951, shortly after graduating from Ohio State University. Floyd Bixler, Fay's father-in-law and owner of Bixler Tours, had been approached about a commemorative plate for the city of Boston, Massachusetts while conducting a tour of that city. Dick created the artwork for the Boston plate, made the connection with Kettlesprings, and was associated with the company thereafter until his retirement in 2002.

Fay worked with Bixler Tours and Kettlesprings at the same time, and often, while conducting a tour for Bixler, found people interested in having a Kettlesprings plate produced. Many times, Dick not only made the initial contact, but created the artwork for the client as well.

Several jobbers represented Kettlesprings over the years including: Culbert-Swan Productions, Roberts Producing Company, Hooper (from Albany, New York), and the Curhan Company (from the Pittsburgh, PA area). Some of these companies were hired to put on festivals for communities, and Kettlesprings plates were produced to help finance the event.

To find prospects for Kettlesprings' services, Cunin subscribed to a "Clip" service that sent newspaper articles about upcoming festivals to the company. Informative brochures were sent to prospective clients along with prints of successful designs by similar festival committees. However, the best advertising for the company has always been the mark on the back of each plate that says Kettlesprings Kilns, Alliance, Ohio with the number of the individual design underneath.

Clients have included Centennial / Sesquicentennial /Bicentennial / Tricentennial celebrations, festivals, special events, museums, tourist attractions, churches, family reunions, corporate anniversaries, landmarks, birthdays and practically any place, person or event worth remembering.

Over the years, mugs, bells, and tiles were introduced as Kettlesprings items as well as the traditional plates for which they are best known.

Kettlesprings has come a long way since the first days when the company used Joe Reighart's home address of R.D. #1, Alliance, Ohio. The original P.O.Box #423, Alliance, Ohio became P.O. Box #2093 as the city of Alliance grew. Chuck Wolpert moved away from Alliance, Joe Reighart died in 1965, and Gene Cunin died in 1982. Dick Fay continued Kettlesprings and moved the business to Hiram, Ohio, but kept P.O. Box #2093 in Alliance for the convenience of clients.

Royal China, the original pottery that fired Kettlesprings stoneware products ceased operation around 1985. After 1985 Kettlesprings began using high quality porcelain bases, but the dedication to excellent artwork remains the same as the original artists in the early fifties.

When Fay retired in 2002, Kettlesprings moved again, this time to within six miles of where it originated. Today, Kettlesprings welcomes inquiries about new projects or reorders of established designs at the familiar P.O. Box #2093, Alliance, Ohio 44601, The new street address is 1366 Porter Rd., Atwater, Ohio 44201.

Thanks for thinking of Kettlesprings!

ohio plate

This early design for the State of Ohio features carnations on the edges. Ohio's state flower, the scarlet carnation, was hybridized in Alliance by Dr. Walborn. Alliance is nicknamed the Carnation City and the Carnation Days Festival is still celebrated every summer.

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