The Valley of Heart's Delight

HOMER KNOWLES
KNOWLES POTTERY SCHEDULED TO OPEN IN
SANTA CLARA , CALIFORNIA
1922*

HISTORY OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY   476
SURNAMES:  Stockdale, Marshall,
Prominent among the newcomers in Santa Clara whose natural ability, record for professional and social accomplishments, and promise of future value to the community, have contributed to assure them the warmest welcome, are Mr. and Mrs. Homer Knowles, the former an expert in the pottery trade, and the latter distinguished as a direct descendant of John Marshall, ex-Chief Justice of the United States. Mr. Knowles was born on July 6, 1884, and grew up at East Liverpool, Ohio, and he was educated at Trinity School, in New York City, at the Peekskill Military Academy, and at St. Paul's College, in New York. He finished his education by traveling in Europe, seeing the Old World extensively; for he was fortunate in an affectionate, cultured and indulgent mother. She was Ida Stockdale before her marriage; and she was born at Georgetown, Pa., the daughter of the president of the Dollar Savings Bank, at Pittsburgh, and president of the Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Packet Company. In 1900, Mr. Knowles came to California for six months to look around; and today finds him settled in one of the most progressive cities, the leading pottery manufacturer of California.

On August 27, 1902, Mr. Knowles was married to Miss Alma Marshall, a daughter of Attorney E. D. Marshall, of Chester, W. Va., who has recently settled in Santa Clara; and this fortunate union has been blessed with three children; Gail, Alma and Homer. Each of the children are endowed in some exceptional and promising manner.

The Homer Knowles Pottery Company, of which Mr. Knowles is both president and general manager, manufacture dinner-sets and hotel dishes. It was conceived of at East Liverpool, Ohio, Mr. Knowles' place of birth and his former home, and it was incorporated under the laws of Delaware on June 17, 1920, with a capitalization of $750,000. The pottery plant is located on a plot of six and a half acres on the Alviso Road, just north of the Santa Clara city limits, and ground was broken for the factory on April 14, 1921. The cornerstone of the main building, 159x355 feet in size, was laid on June 9, Mr. Knowles drew all the plans for the factory, as well as for the five upright kilns, and he will probably install one tunnel kiln, 321 feet long, with the capacity of ten uprights. An entire shipload of English potter's clay, the largest single shipment ever received by an American potter, was consigned to and has recently been received by him at the Santa Clara pottery; it contained 3,684,000 lbs. of the desired-for material, and was shipped by way of the Isthmus, through the Panama Canal. The English clay can be laid down at Santa Clara very much cheaper than at East Liverpool, Ohio, and from this fact alone it will be seen that the new dinner-ware pottery, which is expected to be in operation in 1922 and to employ some 225 men and women, will be most favorably located.

It has been estimated that several thousand people attended the official ceremonies marking the laying of the cornerstone, when there were notable speakers. The president, Homer Knowles, delivered a short address of welcome and introduced Judge Charles A. Thompson of Santa Clara as chairman; and then the Rev. Noel Porter, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church of San Jose, made the presentation speech. This was responded to on behalf of Santa Clara, by Father Timothy L. Murphy, president of the University of Santa Clara. A. K. Frye, of San Francisco, industrial agent of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, spoke of the advantages to a community of her industries. The ceremonies were opened with a parade, led by a band and a squad of motorcycle police.

The site for this property at Santa Clara was selected after approximately twenty cities in California had been visited, and as the plant will be situated within the yard limits of Santa Clara on the main tracks of the Southern Pacific at the intersection of the main Coast line to San Francisco, and the main tracks of the Southern Pacific at the intersection of the main Coast line to San Francisco, and the main western division to Oakland, there will be a spur track with an outlet at both ends, and a spur with a capacity of ten cars at the works. The plant is also on the main State Highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, forty-three miles from San Francisco and 427 miles from the Southland metropolis. As an investment for California money this company should prove a great attraction. Billions of dishes are in daily use, millions of them are broken and replaced each day, and the Eastern potteries are unable to supply the demand.

Mr. Knowles, the president and manager, belongs to a family of potters. His grandfather started the business in 1853, and his father, the late Homer S. Knowles, one of the greatest potters of his time, commenced business when he was fifteen years old. Together, they made the Knowles, Taylor & Knowles Company, famous  in every town and city in the United States. The name Knowles, whenever found on domestic ware, has long signified as much as the name Haviland on French china. The members of the board of directors are; Homer Knowles, Irwin E. Pomeroy and W. H. Cook of Santa Clara; C. E. Marcum of Los Altos; W. J. Dougall and Frank L. Hoyt of San Jose.

The advent of the Knowles family to California adds as materially to the social and religious life as it does to its industrial and financial life. Mr. and Mrs. Knowles adhere to the Episcopalian faith and Mr. Knowles is the treasurer of the Episcopal Church at Santa Clara. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce of Santa Clara, and the Commercial Club of San Jose. He is also a member of the California State Automobile Association, and the transportation Club of San Francisco, and is an associate member of the American Ceramic Society. In politics he is a stanch Republican and a personal friend of President Harding.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 476

*Transcribers Note:I have found a reference on the internet that
Lehner's Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain and Clay, notes that this plant went bankrupt in 1923.
November 28, 2004


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