In keeping with the colorful vintage vibe we have going this week, today we’re sharing our collection of vintage Bauer coffee carafes. You might be wondering if a collection is really a collection if you only have two…Well, if you knew how hard it was for us to get our hands on these two, you would definitely say yes!
For two years, I stalked Stars Antique Market’s amazing collection of Bauer Pottery every single time we were in Hermosa Beach (we were in Hermosa a lot back then – sigh!). It wasn’t a terrible thing to do, as Stars is my favorite antique mall in the entire world. After drooling over the brightly colored coffee carafes for so long, we asked if the prices were firm. They called the seller, and they were willing to work with us! I brought home the orange carafe on that trip. They had several others, including the turquoise one, but the orange carafe was my favorite. I’m sure I was quite a sight, carrying it on the plane like a small child. I secretly hoped to bring home the turquoise carafe on our next trip, but it was gone. A year later, Jonathan and I were back in California at the Santa Monica flea market, and there was my turquoise carafe at a really good price! Apparently it was meant to be after all! Success!
If you’re wondering why I found both of my carafes in California, then you might be interested in the history of the company. Originally, it was a Kentucky company known for its hand-thrown, brown-glazed crocks and jugs. It was purchased by J.A. Bauer in 1885, and he relocated his family and the company to Los Angeles in 1909. After J.A. retired in 1922, his daughter and his husband bought a third of the company, and the remaining two-thirds were sold to the Bernheim family. The owners switched roles for several years before J.A.’s son-in-law bought the entire company in 1929 and hired ceramic engineer Victor Houser to create new glazes. California Colored Pottery was introduced by the Bauer Company the following year, just as the Great Depression was beginning. Despite the hard times, the colorful pieces were a huge hit with the public. The company would expand its operations in 1938, when they bought an old winery in Atlanta and converted it to a new pottery plant. Unfortunately, the work produced at the Atlanta plant was not successful, and after a labor strike in the early 1960s, Bauer closed its doors.
While Bauer wasn’t the only company to create brightly colored pottery, its work was and continues to be coveted by collectors. In 2000, Bauer reopened in a small Los Angeles studio, and it has introduced a new line based on the original colorful pieces from the 1930s and 1940s. I especially love their Monterey pitcher and dog bowls.