The Rookwood Pottery Company was founded in 1880 in Cincinnati, Ohio by Maria Longworth Nichols. Inspired by the Japanese designs she saw at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Maria dreamt of creating her own pottery company. With help from her father Joseph Longworth, estate millionaire and arts patron, Maria received the funds to bring her dream into reality.
In March of 1880 a renovated schoolhouse was purchased to house the company, with production beginning later that year. Named after the Longworth family estate in Cincinnati, Rookwood Pottery became the first female-owned manufacturing company in the United States. Maria recruited a team of famous artists, talented art students and glaze technicians, encouraging them to exchange ideas and be innovative in the world of ceramics. She believed that the key to creating fine art was to create an environment filled with talent, ideas and inspiration.
Today, Rookwood Pottery's expert artisans continually honor its century-old practices while developing new work that reflects the quality and heritage of the many talented artists before them. Rookwood’s world-class design team continues to innovate as Maria encouraged over 130 years ago.
Rookwood’s standard of craftsmanship is achieved by combining extraordinary attention to detail, a dynamic team of experienced artists and a talented production crew. Rookwood’s glaze chemists and artists work closely together to produce works of art that are as innovative as they are creative. Rookwood’s proprietary clay formulas use the finest materials available and are designed with the unique needs of Rookwood artists in mind. Each piece of handmade tile and art pottery is part of a long line of creatively-inspired work that makes Rookwood pottery one of the most prestigious names in ceramics.
Rookwood ceramics can be found in homes, hotels and public spaces including Union Terminal in Cincinnati, the historic Monroe Building, Chicago, and Grand Central Station.