From Sebring Ohio Historical Society, a History of Royal China, one of my favorite potters !
Formerly The Oliver China Company, then the E. H. Sebring China Company on South 15th
street. On June 1, 1934 it was purchased by Beatrice L. Miller, John Briggs, and William
Habenstreit, with $500 six months' free rent and employees working without pay. The men both
had been employed at NPC as 'middlemen' buying dinnerware from the potteries for resale as
advertising premiums for Quaker Oats and Proctor and Gamble. Miss Miller went to the bank
with the proposal, but was turned away as a woman in manufacturing was practically unheard of
at that time. Mr. Habenstreit went to the same bank with the same proposal and had a warm
reception. They hired John 'Bert' Briggs who had a knowledge of pottery manufacture. They
offered work to anyone who was willing to work without pay until their pottery got on its feet.
As most of the potters were out of work anyway, they had nothing to loose. Four months later,
they had 125 people on their payroll.
Even though it was the Depression, the company had replaced all of the old kilns with modern
equipment in four years. They produced 7,800,000 pieces in their first full year of 1935. In
1943-44, the plant was converted to produce china and porcelain for the U.S. Government. The
company purchased the French-Saxon China Company in 1964, as well as the George Pottery.
Royal China moved their operations from Omaha, Nebraska to the site of the old E. H. Sebring
Pottery in 1933. At its peak in the 1970's, it employed over 700 people, with the most modern
equipment and buildings available. They had sales of around $16 million and had two different
lines with a total of 81 semi-vitreous dinnerware patterns. They were able to produce 2,500,000
dozens, making it the largest dinnerware plant in Sebring, the third largest in the U.S.
By 1965, Royal was the largest in the U.S. among union plants and had $6,000,000 in sales.
They were, after many years of research able to apply under-glaze colors in intricate
decorations automatically directly on the unglazed ware rather than on paper. It was put to use
in 1948 on the centuries old Blue Willow Pattern. Became the world's largest manufacturer in
They made semi-porcelain dinnerware as well as cookware and premiums. In 1969 the
company was purchased by Jeannette Glass Corporation and underwent several changes of
ownership after that. On February 15, 1970 a tragic fire completely destroyed the company. Bea
retired in 1969 and sold the plant to the Jeannette Glass Co., of Pennsylvania. Here pictured is a fine example of royal china, pattern belvidere platinum.