Burley Clay History
Brothers, Zane and Dr. Samuel Burley, founded the Burley Clay Products Company in 1923. Originally, the company produced large stoneware crocks and jugs for home use. Since 1933, the company has focused on the production of garden pottery and birdbaths.
Burley Clay Products is located in Roseville, Ohio. Our garden products are manufactured using a unique blend of the finest clay from our southeastern Ohio company- owned mines. This area is world famous for its stoneware clay, and our mixes produce the strongest, most attractive stoneware available in the world. Many famous pottery factories were once located in this area – Nelson McCoy, Friendship, Roseville, Zanesville, Brush, Hull, and Watt. Today, Burley is the only stoneware manufacturer of garden pottery remaining in operation in our area.
In 1996, Burley formed a marketing alliance with another local pottery, The Robinson Ransbottom Pottery Company. Under this special alliance Burley produced nearly all of the birdbaths and pedestals sold under the Robinson Ransbottom brand from 1996 until 2002. In 2003, the Burley name re-entered the lawn and garden market with a new custom designed line of birdbaths and garden planters. Burley Clay utilizes several different production methods to produce our stoneware. From high-tech hydraulic and ram presses to the craftsmanship required in jiggering and casting, our production methods differ significantly but share certain features – an emphasis on quality, efficiency, craftsmanship, and attention to detail. Certain production methods require thicker, more solid clay, while others demand a thinner, more liquid consistency.
Our processes carefully clean and mix the clay blend at a perfect consistency specific to each production method.
Burley Clay Products is proud to offer beautiful, American-made and Imported products. Currently our products are sold in lawn and garden stores, nurseries, specialty birding stores, and hardware stores across the United States and Canada.
One of the methods we employ today is a rarely found “lost art” form known as jiggering. This means of production is an old-fashioned, hand-made process we use to create several of our larger items, such as birdbaths, pedestals and planters. In this process, the jiggerman places a plaster mold inside a spinning steel drum; then adds an estimated amount of clay inside of the mold determined by the size of the piece to be manufactured.
As the clay begins to dry, the plaster mold draws the water away from the clay, releasing the clay from the mold. The ware is then removed from the mold and the rough edges are trimmed. This acquired skill requires years of apprenticeship and is usually passed down to family members who have worked in area potteries for generations. Our artisans hand-decorate all of our products, creating pottery that is in great demand throughout the United States and Canada.