This collection of pottery, on loan from Carl and Pauline Silveri, represents Portland and local Maine potters from about 1840 to the early 1920s, including E. Swasey & Company of Portland ME, a company which at one time was one of New England’s most prolific pottery works and today is all but forgotten.
Eban Swasey was a potter who apprenticed in Exeter NH in the mid-1800s. In 1875 he and his partner, Rufus Lamson, moved to Portland ME and established the Portland Earthen Ware Manufactory, producing redware. Swasey and Lamson eventually went their separate ways, and in 1890 Swasey established E. Swasey & Co. at 273 Commercial Street in Portland.
In 1897, Swasey’s youngest son Perley joined the company, which became a sizeable enterprise by the turn of the century. Eban died in 1906, but the business carried on until finally sputtering out of business in the Depression. The factory buildings are still there on Commercial Street – refurbished and with the “E. Swasey” logos freshly restored on the end of the mill, they serve today as an office park.
There are also documents in the exhibit related to the E. Swasey & Co. Other Portland pottery companies in the exhibit include J.E. Goold and Geo. A. Young Co.