(see History of Steiger Pottery Works)


 Bio-Pen Pictures

        To the traveler who approaches San Jose via the Southern Pacific  Railroad, the first introduction he receives to the " Garden City " is the busy scene of bustling activity presented by the pottery works of A. Steiger & Sons, which covers a considerable section on the northwestern edge of the city. Here the works, plant, yards, and homestead embrace twelve acres of ground, admirably located for business purposes on the line of the railway mentioned, and connected with it by an independent switch.

        The factory building is 130x170 feet in size and of three stories. It is fully supplied with all the requisite furnaces and machinery of the latest and most approved construction, including a steam engine, steam press, four flower-pot machines, three grinding machines, tile machine, crusher, moulds, etc. Six large kilns are used for burning the product, about forty tons per day being utilized for conversion into steam-pressed vitrified iron-stone, sewer-pipe, terra-cotta chimney-tops and pipes, vases, fire-brick, flower pots, drain tile, etc. Here from fifteen to thirty men find employment, busily engaged in the various operations necessary. The products of the manufactory have a wide and well-sustained popularity, the trade extending over the whole of California, and even occasionally abroad to Mexico and elsewhere. The works is the only one of the kind situated in the valley, and occupies a position among our leading and important manufactories. The clay used comes mostly from the vicinity of Sacramento, although for the coarser grades of work clay suitable for the purpose is obtained near San Jose. The pipe employed in the sewerage system of the city of San Jose, which has attracted favorable notice for its excellence and permanence, is laid wholly from the products of these works, and the firm has also supplied sewer pipe, etc., to San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Pasadena, Santa Cruz, and other cities, showing the worth and popularity of the pipes made here.

        The business was originally established by Mr. A. Steiger, in a small way, in 1863, on Fifth Street, in this city, between San Carlos and San Salvador. In 1876 it was removed to its present location, both on account of lack of accommodation for the increasing business at the old stand, and to take advantage of facilities for transportation afforded by the railway. Here the works have grown, as business demanded, until to-day they are of large dimensions and commanding a wide trade.

        Mr. Andrew Steiger, who was the founder of the San Jose Pottery, was born in Germany about 1827, and there learned his trade of making pottery. In 1856 he came to this country and engaged in his business in Brooklyn, New York. In 1863 he decided to come to California, and after looking over the field, settled down in San Jose, establishing his factory on a small scale, as has been related, and gradually expanding operations until his death, December 28, 1887. This resulted from a fall and a broken leg in the June preceding, from the results of which it became necessary to amputate the limb near the hip. Although previously a robust man, he never recovered. He was a member of the Masonic Order, of the I. O. O. F., of the A. O. U. W , and of the order of Red Men, holding a high rank in each, and prominent as well in both commercial and social circles. Mr. Steiger was a man of unusual ability and energy, as is evidenced by his rise from comparative poverty and obscurity to wealth and a deserved prominence, building up a great business for his sons, and leaving behind him the reputation of being an honest, honorable and worthy citizen.

        He was married in New York; and his widow, Paulina M., also a native of Germany, now resides with her younger children in the fine mansion erected by Mr. Steiger as his homestead, just beyond the pottery. There are six children. The eldest is Anna B., born 1858, in Brooklyn, New York, now the wife of John Rock, of San Jose, the great nurseryman. Katie, the second, was born 1861, in Brooklyn, and is the wife of Charles Bruch, of San Jose. George A., the next, was born 1862, also at Brooklyn, and is manager of the pottery since his father's death; and as he was brought up at the business, making a beginning when but five years of age, and has gone through every position, giving him a thorough practical knowledge of every department, he is thoroughly fitted to carry to still higher success the great business built up by his father. He was married in 1887 to Miss Jennie M. Bollinger, of San Jose, and they reside in a pleasant new cottage on Autumn Street. Charles F. Steiger, the fourth child, was born 1865, in California. He was married, in 1887, to Miss Josefita Grant, of San Francisco. He has charge of the business in general both here and in San Francisco. Louis A., the fifth, is twenty-two years old and resides with his mother in San Jose. He has charge of the modeling department, having spent most of his time in the study of this particular branch. He recently visited the Eastern States and Europe, to acquaint himself with new designs, especially in the manufacture of architectural terra cotta for building purposes. Lena M., the sixth child, was born in San Jose, 1869, and also resides with her mother. They have all received their education in San Jose, and have resided here constantly until the late removal on the part of Charles.

        During last year Mrs. Rock and Lena{transcribers note: Lena married Herman C PFISTER} went to Germany for their health. Mrs. Steiger, accompanied by her son Louis, went there several months ago to visit them, and have just returned, after a pleasant voyage.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 511-512

transcribed by cferoben


SANTA CLARA HISTORY- The Valley of Heart's Delight