Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | March 8, 2014

Artifact of the Week – Flack & Van Arsdale

Flack & Van Arsdale

Cornwall Pottery 1864-1907
aka O.L. Ballard’s 1864-1868 (1869)
aka Flack & Van Arsdale 1868 (1869)-1907

Potters employed, partial list:
William Heck, Gordon Runions, Samuel McKnight, Philip Carpenter

American Oren L. Ballard left his pottery in St John’s, Quebec to open a pottery on part of hydraulic  lot 4, leased from William Mattice, along the canal race in the east end of Cornwall in 1864.

American Oren L. Ballard left his pottery in St John’s, Quebec to open a pottery on part of hydraulic lot 4, leased from William Mattice, along the canal race in the east end of Cornwall in 1864.

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O. L. Ballard; Cornwall

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In 1868 (or 1869) Americans David Andrew Flack and Isaac Hatfield Van Arsdale purchased Ballard’s pottery. Located between the Head and Tail Race adjacent to the Cornwall Canal (just west of the Dundas Cotton Mill), Flack & Van Arsdale was the only pottery in Ontario operated by water power.

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By 1870, the partners had invested $11,000 in the business and the pottery was one of only nine in Ontario to import Jersey clay. Ten men were employed year round to turn $3,000 worth of clay into $30,000 worth of merchandise.

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Soon their volume buying enabled them to purchase clay at discount rates. Their canal-side location provided easy transportation, allowing them to market their wares competitively.

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Despite the above, in 1900 the firm began to decline. The business was sold after the death of head potter Isaac Van Arsdale in 1907.

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David Flack, while trained as a potter, attended to the financial affairs of the business. He was also American Consul in Cornwall for six years (1895-1901), operated a batting factory, a coal business and railway ticket agency.

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Cornwall Industry

A Cornwall Community Museum Blog

Streets of Cornwall

Pitt St. and Beyond

Cornwall Canal and Shipping History

A Cornwall Community Museum Publication

Cornwall Community Museum

In The Wood House at the waterfront, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada

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