Marshall Pottery Inc. is the largest manufacturer of red clay pots in the United States and one of the oldest pottery manufacturers in the world. Marshall Pottery operates a 100,000 ft² (9,000 m²) retail store adjacent to its headquarters in Marshall, Texas, which attracts over 500,000 tourists each year.
Marshall Pottery was founded by W. F. Rocker in Marshall in 1895. Rocker located the business in East Texas because of its abundant water and white clay deposits. In 1905 Marshall Pottery was acquired by Sam Ellis. With the invention of the glass canning jar and other new competing products in the 1920s, the business almost folded. Prohibition led to a thriving moonshine industry and a need for inexpensive jugs to store the liquor. If not for the sale of jugs during Prohibition, Marshall Pottery would likely have gone bankrupt.
In the 1940s, with the discovery of a clay that required a lower firing temperature, the pottery began producing flower pots. For many years the company continued to employ potters as its primary means of manafacturing. One of these employees, Pete Payne, became a master potter and displayed his technique at the Smithsonian Institution. Since the construction of a new facility in 1998 most of the pottery's production has been automated. However, hand made pottery can still be purchased, and tourists can watch potters create it.
As of the 2000 U.S. Census, Marshall population was 23,935.
Marshall is closer to the capitals of Arkansas (Little Rock 190 miles or 305 km), Louisiana (Baton Rouge, 239 miles or 384 km), and Mississippi (Jackson 243 miles or 390 km) than it is to the capital of Texas (Austin, 253 miles or 407 km).
Marshall's economy is diversified and includes services such as Insurance claims processing at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, education at several institutes of higher learning, manufacturing such as wood kitchen cabinets at Republic Industries and pottery at several manufacturers.
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