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Sebring Historical Society hears about pottery family business |

Sebring Historical Society hears about pottery family business

Art “Skip” Grindley


SEBRING — Art “Skip” Grindley recently spoke before an audience of the Sebring Historical Society. Members were told of the history of his family’s pottery, Grindley China and Dinnerware. He said that in 1932, Art Grindley Jr. started his artware business with $1.16 to his name in his father’s cellar making figurines. The small business grew from those humble beginnings reaching great success. Grindley Jr. needed to build a new pottery building, hired three of the best European designers and employed more than 175 employees at one time. His wares soared to popularity before 1947 when import tariffs were high and Americans refused to buy figurines from Asia.

Like many of the potteries, Grindley’s lost a lot of business when the pottery burned to the ground in 1947. Later Grindley relocated in Zanesville, working for the Shawnee Pottery. His success grew again and he continued to enjoy his career.

During the talk Art Grindley showed a stagecoach which took 38 steps including several molds to create. Another was an “Elsie” the cow creamer that was designed for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It with several other pieces were on display for members to view. Another proud piece as described by Grindley was a figurine specially designed for General Patton’s pit bull. He explained that the Sebring pottery also made “Hummels” in 1940. A proud moment in history was when the governor of 1940, John Bricker, was in town and was presented with half a dozen elephant figurines of varying size to add to his collection

Grindley and many of his relatives worked in the pottery. He has amassed quite a collection of Grindley pieces as well as his surviving relatives. Dery Zeppernick, the museum curator, jokingly said that is why they don’t have very many pieces in their displays.

He explained and described the different markings, stamps and labels that a Grindley pottery piece may carry. Color and type of piece can be an indication if it is a Grindley piece. Jaws dropped when a member said she had just sold her Indians Chief Wahoo bank (it’s really a razor blade keeper) for a sizable amount of money.

Grindley calls Zanesville his home but considers Sebring with great fondness. He returns several times a year to look for elusive pieces for his collection and to donate Sebring related items to the society. For now, he is leaving some of his collection on loan and on display at the society’s museum housed in the Stand Theatre.

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