Earth, sand, fire: 3,000 years of Ohio glass, pottery at Dayton museum


DAYTON, Ohio – Earth, Sand and Fire: Ohio Glass and Pottery 1,000 B.C.-A.D. 2003 will run through July 27 at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio.

This exhibit examines glass and pottery manufacturing and development in Ohio from prehistoric times to the modern era.

It looks at the pottery and glass tradition in Ohio in several ways, including the depth of time during which pottery manufacturing has been performed in Ohio and the proliferation of pottery and glass manufacturers in Ohio.

Prehistoric pottery. The exhibit includes samples of pottery made by prehistoric people, including early and middle woodland ceramics and Fort Ancient pottery, as well as samples from the companies that used similar resources later in time: Roseville, Universal, Weller, Rookwood and Pope-Gosser.

The history of Ohio’s glass-producing companies such as Cambridge, Heisey, Fostoria, Imperial and Tiffin, is addressed through historic photographs, narrative stories and samples of their wares.

Examples of pottery- and glass-making tools are also on display including a large glass mold.

Presentations. Multi-media presentations, including The Crystal Lady film from the Cambridge plant, and a film on making pottery at Robinson-Ransbottom, round out the exhibit.

Fired ceramics. As early as 3,000 years ago, prehistoric crafts people used local clays to produce the Ohio region’s first fired ceramics.

Raw materials for making ceramic vessels were readily available in Ohio as well as abundant game, fertile soils, and rivers as transportation networks, which made this area a desirable place in which prehistoric people wished to live.

The same attributes that attracted prehistoric people to Ohio also drew the attention of early European settlers.

Rich in fuels. Ohio was also rich in the fuels with which to fire ceramics and melt sand to produce glass, particularly coal and natural gas.

European settlers used native Ohio clays to produce their versions of the European pottery tradition.

The fluorescence of Ohio pottery and glass in the 19th century was a continuation of resource exploitation that had been underway for more than 2,000 years.

Details. The museum is located at 2600 DeWeese Parkway in Dayton.

Cost is $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for children 2-12 and free for children under 2 and museum members.

The exhibit is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

For more information call 937-275-7431 or visit


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