William Gates founded Teco pottery in 1881. The company was originally named Terra Cotta Tile Works. The Teco pottery line was introduced in 1902. As much as any other craftsman style art pottery, Teco pottery represented the ideals of the arts and crafts movement. William Gates and Teco pottery continued to produce arts and crafts style pottery until the late 1920s. In 1935, Teco pottery became American Terra Cotta Corporation. The company continued to produce garden pottery until 1941.
Teco pottery forms were created in the style used by architects associated with the original arts and crafts movement as well as the Prairie School movement. Teco pottery is always a sought-after mission style-decorating accessory and can be found in many Frank Lloyd Wright homes, Prairie style bungalows, and homes of similar arts and craft architecture.
William Gates was the most prolific designer of Teco pottery and is responsible for most of the architectural shapes. Other notable Teco pottery designers include Fritz Albert, Fernand Moreau, Orlando Giannini, and Kristian Schneider.
Most Teco pottery is marked with the Teco trademark stamped into the base. Many examples of Teco pottery were double and even triple stamped with the trademark. Most examples of Teco pottery were also marked with a paper label that included the names of the designer, model number and the price of the piece.
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