Recently, I found out that Haeger Potteries will be halting production of their entire product line. Haeger management in East Dundee, Illinois said this was a bittersweet decision as it happens during the pottery’s 145th anniversary.
The ongoing problems of overwhelming foreign competition along with the recession has cut deeply into their customer base. Haeger Pottery is the latest victim in the demise of the domestic artware and decorative accessory industry. In addition, the large chain furniture stores and gift shops are purchasing Chinese manufactured goods.
Haeger Pottery began in 1871 when David Haeger bought a brick manufacturing company and renamed it “D.H. Haeger Brick and Tile Works”. The timing was auspicious because the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire created a need for his products. Much of old Chicago was rebuilt with his bricks.
Afterwards, David, and his son Edmund transitioned the firm from brick manufacturing to domestic wares and eventually into artisan created pottery for retail sales and floral shops.
The demise of Haeger will greatly impact East Dundee because the pottery is the largest industry of the town. Haeger has been a major economic engine.
Many Haeger designs have become valuable collectables, especially those that were styled by Royal Hickman. For several years, Haegar marketed those pieces under the brand name “Royal Haeger”. Many utilitarian Royal Haeger pieces can still be found in second-hand shops and garage sales. The finer art pottery pieces command high prices among aficionados.
I feel some sadness about this news because I’ve enjoyed collecting Haeger art pottery over the past few decades. I like the attention to detail and the excellent glazes they use.
Haeger potteries will end its manufacturing operations at the end of May.
(Images are clickable to larger size.)