Monday, June 2, 2014

Peter Tarr Furnace, Homer Laughlin China Fiesta Ware,Largest Teapot in the World, Pretty Boy Floyd and more all in one day.

Follansbee, West Virginia
Meadowbrook RV Park

Busy, busy, busy...... Our morning started off with a trip to Walmart to refill a prescription in Weirton, West Virginia. Since there is a three hour difference in time, it would be awhile before the Arizona store responded so we didn't wait around.  

Our drive through an area of Weirton known as Kings Creek took us past the Peter Tarr Furnace.

This is the first iron furnace in northwestern Virginia (now West Virginia) built in 1790.  The Grant Company failed ca 1800 when it was then deeded to Peter Tarr in 1801.  The furnace continued until about 1840.  In 1968 it was reconstructed.  This iron furnace was the beginning for the steel industry which dominated the area for many years.  

We continued through Hancock County, West Virginia to Newell.  Hancock County is the smallest county and the most northern in the panhandle of the state.  It borders between Pennsylvania and Ohio.  

We saw a sign for the Homer Laughlin China Company Fiesta Ware Outlet.  I had checked out tours earlier in the week on the internet but they were only twice a day and needed to be scheduled in advance.  It was 12:25 and the sign outside said tours are 10:30 and 12:30. Bill parked the truck along the river and we went inside.
Bill and I always comment how lucky we are in the way things happen.  

We walked in and asked if we could take the tour.  Closed toed shoes were required and we had to wear the supplied safety glasses.  We were ready to go.  

This company has been in business since 1871.  They have made extensive expansions over the years.  They now employ 1,100.  Unfortunately, they didn't allow photos upstairs in the factory.  
I was amazed at the number of famous places, individuals, restaurants and hotels that order their china from this American Made Company.  The list reads like the Who's Who of individuals, companies and government entities.

They get their clay from Kentucky or a more expensive white clay from Spain. Homer Laughlin has their own art department that designs and delivers what their customers want.  Some are decals, some are painted by machines and some are hand painted.  Nearly every piece requires the human touch.  They keep a sample of every different piece they make.  Some are painted with 16 karat gold and any mistakes are removed with a cloth which is later recycled, removing the gold for later use.  They also use no lead in their china.  

The kilns they use are huge.  This factory had pottery everywhere.  The turn around time to order something special can be completed in as little as 4 weeks.  

When we walked back downstairs, we walked past the internet section.  I can't imagine how much merchandise is shipped out everyday.

They had a room of all their famous and historic pieces where we watched an informative video of the history of the plant.  

This was an especially interesting piece to Bill because he and Lou Holtz where childhood playmates in Follansbee.  

Nothing like taking a free tour and receiving a gift.  
They had two sections of the outlet store.  
The second section had seconds at a very reasonable price.
People were carrying out box after box of Fiesta Ware.  

After leaving the factory we continued north on state route 2 to Chester, West Virginia.  Our destination was to find the World's Largest Teapot.
Sorry the photos are so bad.  It is located right on the ramp of US 30 to cross over into Ohio and there was no where to park.  Trust me, it's there. 
We decided to go down the Ohio side of the river to return as there was a detour that took us into Ohio to go on West Virginia Route 2.  We crossed the river and proceeded to East Liverpool, Ohio.  I happened to notice that the spot where Pretty Boy Floyd was gunned down was nearby.  

There was no way Bill would pass that up.  Bill was telling me the story of when his uncle sold Pretty Boy Floyd a pack of cigarettes in a pool hall in Follansbee, West Virginia before he went to East Liverpool.  The tales of that story are that everyone in the pool hall knew who he was, but no one would say a word.  

Walmart called to say the prescription was ready so we drove back to Weirton and picked it up.  We hurried back to Follansbee to put the few groceries away so we could head over to Steubenville, Ohio for our grandson, Levani's ballgame that started at 5.  Lucky for us, we had a whole 15 minutes to heat up and eat some leftovers before going to the game.  

Notice that he chose a camo colored batting helmet.  

He plays first base.  
Daugher, Nikki (Nicole by her friends) and Olivia arrived to cheer the team on.  

Something really historic happened here.  Bill was born in the upstairs room next to the AC in the window on or about July 30, 1936 as the birth certificate says.  History will 
never be the same!

I guess I failed to mention that we had a nice visit with John Care on Sunday.
We also had a visit Sunday with Tom and Sheree Jenkins, who are new members of the Escapees.  

Turtle Safely......


  1. I just spoke to Lou Holtz last month. He and i were on the same plane to Springfield, MO. If I'd known, i would have told him i knew you! What a small world!

  2. I always enjoy reading your blogs Jan. Very informative.

  3. It's a good thing that historical house is still standing. I'm thinking Bill must have a pretty sharp mind to remember that air conditioner being there when he was born.

    1. Actually, I was just commenting to Jan that. I wasn't born next to the AC (we had a laugh about that one). But, sharp mind not withstanding,, I was born in the front bedroom of that house and spent many happy years in and around that home.

  4. Quite an interesting day for sure. The Homer Laughlin tour must have been interesting. However, I'd probably have been attracted to the memorial for Pretty Boy myself! I don't think we'll ever see the likes of these guys again or especially the public display of their dead bodies! Different times for sure.

    Rick’s Bits ‘n Bytes, Pics and News

  5. I love Fiesta Ware. I would have been very dangerous in that second section.

    I love Lou. How neat that Bill knew him in his earlier years.

    1. They have huge tent sales every so often. People come from all over the country for them.


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