The Moses B. Paige Company: The Last of the Peabody Potteries


Peabody, Massachusetts has a rich history of utilitarian red earthenware production, dating back to the 1730s. The Osborns are likely the best-known potting family today, operating kilns on both sides of Central Street as early as 1736. The number of potters employed in this area was more than any other location in New England in the 18th and 19th centuries, influencing production throughout the region. Among them was Peter Clark, whose family was instrumental in red earthenware production after 1775 in New Hampshire, as well as Osborn family members who relocated to New Hampshire. Demand for local red earthenware production decreased as the
mid-19th century approached, and only two potteries remained in Peabody after 1850. Joseph Reed, who had purchased a company from the Osborns at 102 Central Street, manufactured pottery and trained a group of important potters, including Charles Lawrence, who established a significant business in Beverly, Massachusetts about 1866. By 1872, Moses Paige had relocated from Maine, finding employment with Reed, and purchasing the company in 1876. The pottery became known as the Moses B. Paige Company, where Paige accomplished the unthinkable, reviving the local red
earthenware tradition, which had largely disappeared elsewhere in New England. This book is the first of its kind, identifying the history of the somewhat forgotten Moses Paige Pottery and the company’s production, which is often misinterpreted today.

Justin W. Thomas is a resident of Newburyport, Massachusetts, and a collector, researcher
and writer about American pottery production from the seventeenth through the early-twentieth century. He has studied at archaeology departments, museums and private collections across the country, publishing many articles about American potteries in regional and national publications. Thomas was a guest curator at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, assembling a temporary exhibit of local made pottery from the Colonial period through the early-twentieth
century. He also helped to write the exhibit catalog, Potters on the Merrimac: A Century
of New England Ceramics.

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