Our area has long been known for its history in the pottery industry. At one time East Liverpool was known as the Pottery Capital of the World and was the home of more than 300 potteries. Several other potteries were located throughout the area in Wellsville, East Palestine, Salem and in Newell and Chester, W.Va. The largest of these were always Homer Laughlin China Co. in Newell and Hall China Co. in East Liverpool.
Sadly, since about the mid-1960s, cheap foreign imports have decimated the pottery industry to the point where only Homer Laughlin and Hall China remained. That's why it was welcome news when it was announced last week that those two longtime china makers would be merging.
Hall China, the largest manufacturer of specialty chinaware in the United States and Homer Laughlin, the last and largest major domestic pottery in the U.S., will now operate under common ownership.
Homer Laughlin's Corporate Executive Officer Joe Wells II called the joint ownership agreement "a step we believe will strengthen both brands in the marketplace and solidify the future for employees, distributors and representatives."
Many of us here in Columbiana County and the tri-state area have roots in the pottery industry. We hail this merger as a move that will preserve the pottery heritage of our area while saving jobs and boosting our local economy. We hope this joint venture thrives for even more years than the 100 plus these two great companies have enjoyed separately.