Royal China Company
Sebring Ohio Historical Society
126 North 15th Street
Sebring, Ohio 44672
330-938-6920  
The Royal China Company was formerly The Oliver China Company, then the E. H. Sebring China
Company. It was located on South 15th Street in Sebring, Ohio. The original founders were Beatrice L.
Miller, William H. Habenstreit and John Bert Briggs. Miss Miller and Mr. Habenstreit had been
employed at National Publicity Bureau as 'middlemen' buying dinnerware from the potteries for resale as
advertising premiums for Quaker Oats and Proctor and Gamble in Omaha, Nebraska.

The three began the company with $500, six months free rent and employees working without pay.  Miss
Miller went to the bank with the proposal to purchase the building, but was turned away, as a woman in
manufacturing was practically unheard of at that time.  Mr. Habenstreit went to the same bank with the
same proposal and had a warm reception.  They hired John 'Bert' Briggs who had a knowledge of pottery
manufacture and lived in Sebring where he worked as a potter.  They offered employment to anyone who
was willing to work without pay until their pottery got on its feet.  As most of the potters in Sebring were
out of work anyway, they had nothing to loose. Six months later, they had 125 people on their payroll.  
During the first year of operation, Royal China produced 7,800,000 pieces of pottery.

Even though it was the Depression, the company had replaced all of the old kilns with more modern
equipment in four years. In 1943-44, the plant was converted to produce china and porcelain for the U.S.
Government. In 1948, Kennith Doyle, a former printer, invented an under glaze stamping machine that
revolutionized the pottery industry. They were, after many years of research, able to apply under-glaze
colors in intricate decorations,automatically and directly onto the unglazed ware rather than on paper
transfers.  It was put to use in 1948 on the centuries old Blue Willow Pattern.  Royal China became the
world's largest manufacturer in Willow Ware.Royalton was the trade name for their plastic dinnerware
line.

The company  purchased the George Pottery in 1962 and
French-Saxon China Company in 1964.  By
1965, Royal was the largest in the U.S., among union plants, and had $6,000,000 in sales.  Miller retired
in 1969 and sold the plant to the
Jeannette Glass Co., of Pennsylvania. On February 15, 1970, a fire
completely destroyed the buildings. Rebuilt, and at its peak in the 1970's, it employed over 700 people,
with the most modern equipment and buildings available.  They had sales of around $16 million and had
two different lines with a total of 81 semi-vitreous dinnerware patterns. They were able to produce
30,000,000 pieces, making it the largest dinnerware plant in Sebring, as well as the third largest in the
United States.  

Jeannette Glass/Royal was purchased by Coca Cola Bottling Co, and then was sold to an investors group
from Boston, The J Corporation.    Operations ceased in 1986. The Nordic Capital Corporation
purchased the company in April 1984, then closed in March of 1986.  Finally, Bank One auctioned off the
contents of the pottery in 1986.  In 2010, the remaining structure burned, and the buildings were
demolished.
'Mug shots' courtesy of
Ken Buckner
Photos courtesy of Brenda Thomas
For theRoyal story, click here. Currier & Ives, here.
According to Oldetyme,
1899 founded as the French China Company
1916 became part of the Sebring Manufacturing Co along with Strong Manufacturing and Saxon China
(founded 1911). All 3 plants retained their individual names
1929 the Sebring group joined the American Chinaware Corporation
1931 the American Chinaware Corporation failed
1932 both French China and Saxon China stopped production
1934 they were combined and re-opened as the French-Saxon China Company
1964 purchased by Royal China Company of Sebring
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Belviere
11
10
Sylvia
13
5186
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Nola
15
5195
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Enchantment
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Morning
Glory
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Casablanca
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Sierra Madre
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Falling
Leaves
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Royal Ritz
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Its a
Daisy
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Woodland
Magic
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Santa Fe
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Aurora
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Sussex
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Bucks
County
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Willow Brook
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Lamar
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Peach Tree
109
Platinum
Crest
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N52
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Rondo B
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Rondo O
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Lancaster
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5189
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Rose Mary
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k52
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Rondo B
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122
Shelly
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Princess
Pat
121
5186
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60
8015
124
Royal
Heirloom
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Yorktown
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Enchantment
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125
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Dorset
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5195
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Promenade
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California
Poppy
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Duane
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Waverly
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1144
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Gray
Pinstripe
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Colonial
Gold
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Pinafore
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Sunshine
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Sunshine
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Vista
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Vendome
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Tami
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Bouquet
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Majestic
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Pebble Beach
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Old
Grist
Mill
90
Gloria
93
Star Glow
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Twinkle
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Bountiful
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Emporium
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Royal
Ivory
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Mozambique
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Majestic
Newport S.
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Boutonniere
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5109
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c22
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Suzan
Memory Lane
Blue Heaven
Old Curiosity Shop
Queen's Lace Jeannette
Royal China
Royal China Jeannette
Sussex
Royal Jeannette
Brown Flowers
Royal China Jeannette
Somerset
Royal China Jeannette
Woodland Magic
Royal China Jeannette
Nutmeg
Royal China Jeannette
Chantilly
Page full!  Click here for
further pottery photos
from
Royal China!
Page full!  Click here for
further pottery photos
from
Royal China!
Page full, click here for further photos
Royal China Photos Page 2
Photos from Cheryl
Photos from Kelly Kear
Photos from Dana Coffin