Potteries of Trenton Symposium

Posted on Apr 12, 2015

Maddock bathroom

2015 Trenton Ceramics Symposium Saturday, April 18
New Jersey State Museum Auditorium 205 West State Street Trenton, New Jersey

Saturday, April 18, 2015
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Program: New Jersey State Museum Auditorium, 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ

Reception: Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, Cadwalader Park, Trenton, NJ

Sanitation & Civilization: Trenton’s Contributions to the Progress of American Hygiene

The Potteries of Trenton Society is pleased to partner with the New Jersey State Museum and the Trenton Museum Society to present our twelfth annual Trenton Ceramics Symposium on Saturday, April 18, 2015. This year our speakers will explore the city’s importance in the history of the sanitary industry in the United States. The symposium will be held in the Auditorium of the New Jersey State Museum. Registration and light refreshments will begin at 9:00 a.m.; the program will start at 10:00 a.m.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Professor Daniel Gerling of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Dr. Gerling’s will explain the evolution of sanitary technology and show how the move from “outhouses” and “backhouses” to indoor toilets was enormously important in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in terms of public health, shifting gender roles and architectural trends. Gerling holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. Gerling joined Augustana in 2012, and in 2013 he began serving as the director of the Writing Center, Augustana’s nationally-certified peer tutoring program.

Bill Liebeknecht will investigate Trenton’s sanitary innovations by examining over 40 patents granted to the city’s inventors during the latter part of the 19th century and opening decades of the 20th century. Patents range from bowl designs to water tanks, flushing mechanisms, seat designs and covers. They also include coupling designs which allowed the tanks to be mounted directly behind the toilet and firmly to the floor. These seemingly insignificant patents had an enormous impact on our lives. Mr. Liebeknecht is a Registered Professional Archaeologist and is employed at Hunter Research Inc., in Trenton, New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Beloit College in Wisconsin and Master’s degree in Public History from Rutgers University.

The afternoon session will offer several delights, including Sally Lane’s exploration of the Trenton origins of a legendary White House bathtub, “Rub-a-dub-dub, Four Men in Taft’s Tub.” Lane, who has a B.A. in history from Columbia University, wrote a weekly newspaper column on Trenton history for eight years. In addition, Ellen Denker, POTS board member and program chair will offer a brief discussion of the potters’ unions and the strike that had such an impact on labor relations in Trenton, transforming the city’s

ceramics industry. Richard Hunter, of Hunter Research, will end with an overview of the sanitary manufacturing sites and how they fit in with the other manufacturing sites in the city.

The day will finish with a closing reception sponsored by the Trenton Museum Society to be held at Ellarslie, the Museum of the City of Trenton, in Cadwalader Park. Participants will be able to view the Trenton Central High School exhibit, which includes examples of Thomas Maddock’s Sons Company sanitary ware that was used to outfit the high school. Additional sanitary ware in the Museum’s collection will be brought out of storage especially for this event.

The Trenton Ceramics Symposium is open to the public. The registration fee is $35 if paid by April 3. Members of the Potteries of Trenton Society, Friends of the NJ State Museum, and Trenton Museum Society may attend for $30, if paid in advance. Everyone who pays at the door will be charged $40. Registration includes all lectures, refreshments, lunch, and a closing reception. A mail-in registration form may be downloaded and printed from POTS website: www.potteriesoftrenton.org; or interested parties may contact POTS President Patricia Madrigal at 609-695-0122 x 100 or president@potteriesoftrentonsociety.org. POTS cannot take credit cards, but checks are welcome.