Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | November 16, 2014

Artifact of the Week. Flack and Van Arsdale, Cornwall, II.

scan0015A business envelope from the Cornwall Pottery of Flack & Van Arsdale, 1895.

I had been looking for any paperwork from the pottery for years, and as luck would have it, last year I came across three items, and the actual location of the pottery, which had been a small mystery for the last 30 years.


This copy of an early 19th century postcard features the Dundas Cotton Mill in the Centre, Mack’s Flour Mills on the right and identifies the site of the pottery under the smoke stack right of centre.  The building below the chimney while on the location of the pottery was probably part of the cotton mill, meaning I am still searching for an image of the pottery!scan0017
For most collectors of Flack and Van Arsdale pottery, the cobalt blue bird represents its work.  The pottery, however, also produced custom orders for merchants such as William Steele of Cornwall, circa 1880.

scan0020This statement lists the prices for butter pots, preserve jars and churns sold to Lancaster, Ontario merchant, Donald A. MacDonald.


I had been collecting Flack and Van Arsdale pottery for some 30 years, and had only seen open crocks, crocks, and butter churns and then I found this three gallon water barrel at Kingston’s Cabin Fever Antique show, just proving we never really know what is out there.scan0022

An 1871 statement showing the wholesale prices for four gallon round crocks, butter pots, preserve jar, fruit jars, butter churns, stove pipe fittings and spitoons.

Capsule History:

Cornwall’s first pottery, the Cornwall opened in 1864 under the direction of Oren L. Ballard from St. John’s Quebec.  His work might carry the impressed marks:  “O.L. Ballard Cornwall, C.W.” or the “Cornwall Pottery.”

In 1868 Ballard’s pottery was purchased by Americans David Andrew Flack and Isaac Hatfield Van Arsdale.  Located near the Cornwall Canal, at that time it was the only pottery in Ontario to be powered by water.

In 1907, declining business and the death of Van Arsdale contributed to the closing of the pottery.

Dairy of A.J. McGillis, Glen Walter.  Original spellings and grammar kept.

November 16 1909:  finished plowing here all but the potato ground

Nov. 17:  Peter began to plow on Alex place and Alex went to Williamstown.  We fed the cows for the first time today.

Nov. 18:  Archie McGillis & Jonnie Dyer helped Alex plow in afternoon.

Nov. 22:  began to snow at noon and turned to rain, put the calves and sheep in for first time.

Nov. 23:  kept the cows in stable all day, last day could plow.  We made place for 2 little pigs.




  1. Hi , would you a collector interested in buying a 5 gallon crock from Flack & Van Arsdale with a cobalt blue bird in absolute mint condition ? . Thank you .

    • Thank you for the inquiry, the museum has several such crocks.

    • Réal Chénier, is your crock still available?

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Cornwall Industry

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Cornwall Canal and Shipping History

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Cornwall Community Museum

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

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