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Name Coors Porcelain Company
Details A most momentous anniversary of 2010 is the 100th birthday of one of the most prominent industries Golden has known, which is today known as CoorsTek. A company of international renown today, it began when John J. Herold, a potter from Ohio, came to Golden and started experimenting in the defunct Geijsbeek Pottery, a large brick building which stood on west 8th Street across from today's Briarwood Inn. Herold was encouraged by results so far gained from local clays but was struggling and about to fail. Adolph Coors became interested in Herold's work, and gave him heavy financial backing with the use of the old warehouse of the long defunct Colorado Glass Works at 8th and Ford, giving Herold the opportunity to work out formulas and processes to make cooking and chemical ware. In this way in 1910 the Herold China & Pottery Company was born. It started out slowly, but in time came to be renowned for its household ware, under its flagship "Gem of the Rockies" name.

In 1913 with additional backing the company built a huge new addition, putting a second floor on the original building and extending the plant to Ford Street proper. This is the present historic face of the building which people view from Ford Street today, built by contractor Charles H. Wooldridge. In 1914 another huge addition doubling the plant's size was added. A detailed early synopsis of Herold China & Pottery's first three years was published in the Golden Globe edition of April 25, 1914:

"Golden is noted for beer and big men of mines, but few people would think of it as the Dresden of America. Yet the chinaware produced at Golden is as unique in its way as the china of Dresden. Furthermore, the market for Golden chinaware is fast spreading to limits of similar latitude to that of Dresden china or any other well known brand. After several years of trying first one kind of pottery or porcelain and then another, Golden has found her long suit. Golden makes the best fireproof china in the world.

A few years ago J.J. Herold came to Golden with the reputation of being one of the best china ware men in the United States. He found at Golden materials for china superior to those assembled at any other single locality. Herold at first tried to succeed by producing the beautiful artistic creations which he, among a few, could produce, but it was found that the market for such goods was controlled more by names than merit, and that ordinary designs made in Dresden would sell where supremely beautiful designs made in Golden were a drug in the market.

Hence, the factory began to specialize on the coarser grades on chinaware-the plates, pitchers, bowls and cooking crockery of every day use. Along this line prosperity began to smile on the struggling institution and Coors took some more stock and a larger factory was built. Coors became president and his son, Adolph Jr., became vice president. While all the chinaware turned out was good, it soon became evident that the cooking porcelain was exceptionally good. Nowadays there is a great demand for covered dishes which can be put right in the oven. There are many such vessels on the market, but most of them crack after a few usings. Golden china does not crack and here was the opportunity to gain a world wide market.

As a supreme test of the durability of the Herold porcelain, orders were taken to supply the School of Mines laboratory with all porcelain used in chemical work. It stood the test without developing a weakness. For a commercial test 227 pieces were sent to Daniels & Fishers' stores company and the demonstrator was instructed to give them the severest possible test in public. Cooking was done over the naked gas flame, under conditions in which part of the vessel would be heated before another part. Under such conditions of unequal heating most every kind of chinaware will crack, but of the 227 pieces used, only one piece developed any flaw at all and this was only an incipient crack.

One of the biggest buyers of cooking porcelain in the world is the silverware trust. They buy the porcelain, ornament it with silver trimmings and sell it to retailers all over the world. About a year ago they took a small order. They soon came back for more, and have now offered Herold their entire business. The buyer said he never heard of such a record as this ware made. To take care of the increasing the plant is being doubled in size and more than doubled in capacity. A business of $18,000 yearly is now being done and as soon as the additions are completed a business of $50,000 will be handled."

The D&F tests were a foretaste of things to come, where Herold had discovered in porcelain the high firing qualities known to Golden's brickmakers. It was in scientific porcelain this historical quality would find its ultimate use. Earlier in 1914 Herold ware had a clear white glaze, and then successfully developed green and brown. Coors poured in additional financial help when he offered to match any local citizen's contribution to the plant, making for a total of $6,000. Dr. Herman Fleck of the School of Mines pronounced it even better than the renowned Royal Berlin ware, and the Denver Mint agreed, putting in large orders for scientific porcelain cells.

However, on December 15, 1914 the news sent shock waves well beyond Golden that Herold left for the Guernsey Earthenware Company in Cambridge, Ohio, resolved to use the secret porcelain processes and formulas there. A legal battle ensued, which Coors won. Coors quickly had much to do, with orders pouring in from the War Department. With the outbreak of World War I the scientific porcelain trade with Germany was cut off, and Coors was one of the few who could supply the allies. Soon the original glass works warehouse was 3-dimensionally encased within additions, which is where it resides today.

In 1920 the plant was reorganized into Coors Porcelain. It became well known for its household wares, making items from cups to casseroles to vases to pitchers. It was most famous for its Rosebud brand of pottery, inspired by Louisa Coors's love of roses. Other brands included Coors Thermo-Porcelain (dependable kitchen ware), Coorado pottery (a combination of the names of Coors and Colorado), Mello-Tone pottery (named for its muted colors), and Glencoe pottery (named for the quarry Coors purchased to make this product). In 1926 Herman F. Coors left Golden for Inglewood, California, where he established his own porcelain plant, the H.F. Coors Company.

However, its most famous porcelain product was its scientific ware, which gained new importance again in World War II. With trade again cut off from Germany the United States government again turned to Coors porcelain, pouring in war contracts and even commissioning Coors for work in the Manhattan Project. From then on Coors ceased making household ware and focused on chemical and scientific porcelain. With major concrete buildings the plant grew and grew, encompassing several blocks and vacated thoroughfares. It acquired H.F. Coors and opened other plants and gained international stature.

Being a laboratory establishment the plant took on a uniquely momentous place in history during the 1950s. William Coors and the brewery were highly interested in making aluminum beverage cans, but the seamless aluminum can had not been invented. Putting Ruben Hartmeister and more to work inside the porcelain plant's southwest building, persistent efforts were made until at last in 1958 the new aluminum can was unveiled to the world. This would revolutionize the beverage container industry with products now commonplace today.

In the 1980s Coors Porcelain expanded into electronics, telecommunications, and semiconductors, and the porcelain which once withstood the heat of the D&F test now became heat shielding tile for space shuttles. In 1986 the company changed its name to Coors Ceramics. In 1992 Adolph Coors Company spun the operation off along with other non-brewery operations as ACX Technologies. Around this time the historic plant was painted, including restoring the historic bannerhead sign on Ford Street.

In the late 1990s the company began acquiring more operations including engineering plastics, assembly capabilities and metal machining. On January 1, 2000 the porcelain was spun off from ACX, becoming once again its own company as it was originally, now known as CoorsTek. In 2003 it returned fully to its original root form by becoming a private company again. Today CoorsTek is arguably Golden's most prominent and internationally renowned company as it embarks into the future.

Under the general management of Harold Ryland in 1923.

Associated Records

Image of 2015.016.001 - Narrative

2015.016.001 - Narrative

"A Vacation in Colorado: July 4, 1941 to August 1, 1941" as written by Harold A. Miner with William Miner. A 47 page narrative about their vacation to Colorado and Golden in 1941.

Image of 1989.65 - Ashtray

1989.65 - Ashtray

Green, ceramic, Prohibition era ashtray with "Coors Malted Milk Golden" embossed around rim. Cow heads in two of the cigarette racks and leaf pattern in other two.

Image of 1418 A - Pestle, Laboratory

1418 A - Pestle, Laboratory

Coors Porcelain laboratory pestle with wooden handle. The grinding portion of the pestle is made of unglazed porcelain. No maker's mark is on the pestle.

Image of 1418 B - Mortar, Laboratory

1418 B - Mortar, Laboratory

Coors Porcelain laboratory mortar made of porcelain and is not glazed. The maker's mark is located on the bottom: Warranted T.M. Acid Proof 2. It is hard to read all of the words in the maker's mark due to the stamp not being clear.

Image of 2012.073.001 - Catalog

2012.073.001 - Catalog

Coors U.S.A. Chemical and Scientific Porcelain Catalog NO. 1959 put out by the Coors Porcelain Company in Golden, CO. The catalog includes a brief company background and then list all of their product line for the years 1959. Product descriptions include line drawings, part numbers, dimensions, and pricing.

Image of 2012.038.019 - Mug

2012.038.019 - Mug

Coors Porcelain hot chocolate mug small tear drop designed and made by life-long Coors Porcelain employee Chester J. Petrie. Mug is glazed turquoise/ teal blue on the outside, white on the inside. Bottom of mug is stamped Coors U.S.A.

Image of 2012.052.007 - Advertisement

2012.052.007 - Advertisement

Coors Porcelain Company brochure advertising the companies different ceramic and porcelain products.

Image of 2012.065.002 - Videodisc, Digital

2012.065.002 - Videodisc, Digital

DVD disk copy of ABCs of Can Making with Bill Coors filmed in 1958 at the Coors Porcelain Company facility on 9th Street in Golden, CO. DVD is in a protective sleeve with a photocopy of Bill Coors holding a 6-pack of Coors cans with title. Digital copy made for "Made in Golden" exhibit use-stored on a 64GB PNY jump drive.

Image of 2013.001.023a - Mold

2013.001.023a - Mold

Plaster mold made and used by Coors Porcelain to cast Courtley men's cologne bottles. One of a pair.

Image of 2013.001.023b - Mold

2013.001.023b - Mold

Plaster mold made and used by Coors Porcelain to cast Courtley men's cologne bottles. Two of a pair.

Image of 2013.001.023c - Mold

2013.001.023c - Mold

Plaster sample of Courtley men's cologne bottles which were made by Coors Porcelain.

Image of 2014.039.002 - Ashtray

2014.039.002 - Ashtray

Round green ashtray with "Idaho Springs, Colo." and "Here We Dig the Gold" stamped in red around the rim along with two pictures of miners. Stamped in blue on the bottom "Adolph Coors Co. and Golden, Colorado".

Image of 2015.005.001 - Newspaper

2015.005.001 - Newspaper

One insert for the Jefferson County Republican newspaper for "Golden Days: Special Edition" dated August 18-19, 1939. This edition commemorates the 80th Birthday of Golden. The pages are orange in color, there is a total of 16 pages. The complete program is on pages 8 and 9.

Image of 2015.013.009 - Souvenir

2015.013.009 - Souvenir

Small ceramic commemorative souvenir mug. On front is "Coors / Porcelain / 70th Anniversary / November 23 / 1920 - 1990." On base is stamped "3956." White porcelain with graphic in red and blue. This souvenir mug is one of two mugs - the donor kept the second souvenir mug. Mug is packaged in a blue box with silver seal on lid which reads "Coors Ceramics Company / 1920-1990" encircling "70."

Image of 2015.013.014 - Dish, Laboratory

2015.013.014 - Dish, Laboratory

Large Coors Porcelain casserole with a rounded bottom, handle on one side, and a pouring spout. The handle has a hole in it. The casserole is glazed all over with the exception of the rim on the inside and a small portion of the top of the handle. Maker's mark stamped below the rim on outside near handle reads: "Coors / USA / 60065."

Image of 2015.064.021.1 - Ashtray

2015.064.021.1 - Ashtray

One of a set of three white porcelain nesting ashtrays produced by Coors Porcelain Company for Colorado Pharmacy Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Has associations insignia, the year 1933, and trademark "Coors USA" in blue letters on the bottom. Some collectors believe these to be dresser pin dishes-no clear identification is known to exist.

Image of 2015.064.021.2 - Ashtray

2015.064.021.2 - Ashtray

Second piece of a set of three white porcelain nesting ashtrays produced by Coors Porcelain Company for Colorado Pharmacy Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Has associations insignia, the year 1933, and trademark "Coors USA" in blue letters on the bottom. Some collectors believe these to be dresser pins dishes-no clear identification is known to exist.

Image of 2015.064.021.3 - Ashtray

2015.064.021.3 - Ashtray

Third piece of a set of three white porcelain nesting ashtrays produced by Coors Porcelain Company for Colorado Pharmacy Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Has associations insignia, the year 1933, and trademark "Coors USA" in blue letters on the bottom. Some collectors believe these to be dresser pins dishes-no clear identification is known to exist.

Image of 2017.008.057 - Postcard, Picture

2017.008.057 - Postcard, Picture

Postcard: unused picture postcard with a photo of a large building with three smokestacks to the right of the image. Castle Rock in background on far left of image. Small wooden shed in foreground at lower left. At bottom of image, printed in the white border, is "Coors Porcelain Co. Golden, Colo. - Robinson's Book Store." Not dated.

Image of 2059a - Postcard

2059a - Postcard

Color postcard of the Welcome To Golden Arch over Washington Avenue in Golden, CO. Golden - First Capitol of Colorado - Home of Quality Industries. Back is unused.