Catalina Clay Products

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Catalina Clay Products aka the Catalina Island Tile and Pottery (1927-1937), was established by the Santa Catalina Island Company to take advantage of the clay deposits discovered by William Wrigley, Jr. and David M. Renton (Mr. Wrigley’s master builder) and, more importantly, the tiles helped reduce construction costs on the Island by producing building materials locally. The factory also provided the much needed year-round employment for Island residents.

Pottery and tiles produced in the factory during its ten years of operation are incised with “Catalina Island” or “Catalina” on the bottom and have distinctive colors such as Toyon red & Descanso green. Bricks, tile, tableware and decorative pottery were produced directly on Santa Catalina Island, California. Early Catalina pieces made on the island from 1927-1937 were made from red clay and bear the mark "Catalina," "Catalina Island" or "Catalina Isle." The marks are either free-handed or stamped. Colors and shapes also are important in identifying the various stages of Catalina Pottery production. Early pieces have distinct glazes, sometimes formed from a mixture of colors. Many represent the Art Deco style. Catalina red clay pottery works are the rarest and most valuable. Auction prices range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. In 2007, John Moran Auctions in Pasadena sold two rare Catalina tile mosaic pottery urns for $32,500.

In 1937, Gladding, McBean & Co. acquired all of the assets of the company and moved all production to its Franciscan dinnerware division in Los Angeles. Gladding McBean's post-1937 marks include "Catalina Pottery" or "Catalina Rancho" and "Made in the USA." Some bear paper labels with the Gladding McBean and Catalina names and a palm tree logo. Gladding McBean stopped making its Catalina line in 1942. The Gladding McBean pieces are more common and less pricey and can often be found on online for less than $100.

Original examples and reproductions of this beautiful tile work can still be seen throughout the city of Avalon and the Casino Building.