F.B. Tillson, Tilsonburg

August 10, 1882 – May 30, 1884

By the end of 1882 the Tilsonburg Pottery Works, producing wares under the name of “F.B. Tillson”, seems to have recovered from its first rather unstable months and by all accounts promises a bright future. 

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In March of 1883, F.B. gives “A Useful Present” to the town Council in the form of five spittoons for use in the Council Chambers and according to the local paper “users of fine-cut chewing who sit around the council board need not look out of the corners of their eyes after this to see if Archie is looking when they want to expectorate.”  The “Archie” mentioned in the article

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was Archie Pow, Tillsonburg’s Police Constable, who was known for bestowing fines on Tillsonburg’s lawbreakers .

By November of 1883 the works are described as a “busy hive of industry” and it is noted that the business had expanded to include the manufacture of Majolica ware and Rockingham glaze ware.  It is also noted that F. B. had brought a Mr. James Wooton from the Providence Pottery Works in South Amboy, New Jersey to instruct the firm in creating these new types of pottery.   James Wooton would remain in Tilsonburg and by 1885 would be joined by his father Joseph and brother Enoch, both skilled potters.

Throughout the twenty-two months that the F.B. Tillson pottery was in existence the following items are known to have been produced; crocks, jugs, jars, bottles, spittoons and water pitchers.

Many of the unmarked pieces of Rockingham glaze ware that can be found in the area and are often attributed to the Brantford Pottery, may in fact, have been produced in Tilsonburg under F. B. Tillson. 

Just how large the pottery would have grown under F.B.’s supervision will never be known, as in June of 1884 the local papers would once again inform the public of a change in the Tilsonburg Pottery.  A lease

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agreement in the museum’s collection shows Messrs. Gray & Betts leasing the pottery works of Mr. F.B. Tillson for a period of two years, commencing on June 1, 1884. 

 

It is believed that the pottery was leased due to F.B.'s deteriorating health, which would lead, to his death in May of 1889, at the young age of 33.