Stein of the Month: September 2004

Last Month | Archives | Home

Princeton University Football Stein
Note: the photo originally published with this article was incorrect, and it has been replaced (08/01/2018)

by Ronald E. Gray

This is the first American-made stein to be featured as the Stein of the Month. And what better way to kick off the football season, the American version, than with a football stein.

September’s stein was made by Thomas Maddock's Sons Company of Trenton, New Jersey circa 1905. Trenton was one of two major pottery centers in the U.S., the other being in East Liverpool, Ohio. The canals and railroads near Trenton made it easy to ship goods to Philadelphia and New York. At one time there were up to 50 potteries in Trenton, but labor issues took its toll on the industry. Only Lenox and American Standard survived to the 21st century, although American Standard closed their Hamilton plant in 2001. Thomas Maddock's Sons was acquired in 1929 by Sanitary Manufacturing Company, which later merged with American Radiator Company to become American Standard. Thomas Maddock's Sons had previously sold their Lamberton Works to Scammell China Company in 1923. Trenton still has art pottery companies, notably Boehm and Cybis. This may come as a shock for Wisconsinites, but the Trenton kiln men carried pottery in boxes balanced on their heads, earning them the original nickname of "cheeseheads."

The Maddock family of England had been in the pottery business for generations when Thomas was born in 1818. Thomas came to America in 1847, and started a business decorating dinner ware in New York. He later became a sales agent for Millington & Astbury of Trenton. On April 4, 1873, the partnership of Millington, Astbury & Maddock was formed to produce earthenware. Sanitary ware back then was imported from England. Mr. Maddock thought it could be made in America and set off to produce sanitary ware. Trenton soon captured about 80 percent of the American market for sanitary ware, which we call toilets today, with Maddock’s firm leading the way. Thomas bought out his partners in 1878, operating thereafter as Thomas Maddock. Thomas had four sons, John, Charles S., Archibald M. and Harry S. The firm name was changed to Thomas Maddock & Sons in 1882. After the death of Thomas in 1903, the firm became Thomas Maddock's Sons Company One son started his own pottery company in Trenton, John Maddock and Sons with one plant named Coalport Works. There is also an English firm called John Maddock & Sons, Ltd. I was unable to verify if that English family was related to Thomas.

Maddock’s firm was responsible for improving something we find quite useful. I am referring, of course, to refining the flush mechanism of the toilet. Perhaps the mechanism of the thumblift was the basis for his refinement of the flush mechanism. But that is another story. The story we are interested in is the patent issued on January 24, 1905 to Harry S. Maddock, a son of Thomas. This patent covered the design of this month’s stein in the shape of a football (see photo showing the patent).

Thanks to Gene Manusov, SCI Master Steinologist, for permission to use the photos from his book, Character Steins: A Collector’s Guide published in 1987 by Rosemont Publishing and Printing Corporation. The book was co-authored by Mike Wald, deceased Master Steinologist, who contributed the information on the T. Maddock's Sons steins shown in the book.

Football Steins for Yale and Cornell Universities
by T. Maddock's Sons

2 L master and ½ L companion
Pennants of the Univ. of Chicago

These steins were produced for U.S. colleges and universities, although they are more common for schools located in the Northeast. While there is no capacity mark, the smaller steins or mugs held ½ liter and the master stein or pitcher held 2 liters. They also were sold

Although this stein is in the shape of
football, the athlete wearing the red
"C" of Cornell University is holding an
oar over his shoulder!
without lids. Because of the production methods employed, low firing temperatures and the lack of a pewter rim on the lids, it will be difficult to find one of these steins in mint condition. The steins contained a transfer of either a pennant, with the school name and colors, or a sports figure (and not necessarily a football player). The figures are signed "F. EARL CHRISTY," but this is not the Earl Christy who is a member of SCI. The illustrator for the steins was born in Philadelphia in 1883 according to research done by SCI member Dr. J. Joseph Hersh. A picture of the mark on the bottom of the stein is shown below, although the mark did not appear on all steins. Note that the apostrophe is not shown in the mark. Whether or not this was an error or a matter of style is not known. This was the basis, however, of referring to the name of the company as "T. Maddocks Sons" when in fact the correct name is "Thomas Maddock's Sons Company" Mike Wald was able to locate a Cornell University ad from 1905 offering these steins at $2.00. The same ad offered the Mettlach 2872, Cornell ½ liter stein, at $2.50. Assuming the relative value has been maintained over the years that would value a Thomas Maddock's Sons stein at about $640 in today’s prices, since Mettlach 2872 is worth about $800 in mint condition. There are, of course, other factors that would determine the real value of one of these steins.

The Potteries of Trenton Society reprinted a brochure entitled "From Teacups to Toilets: A Century of Industrial Pottery in Trenton, Circa 1850 to 1940." There are also two books available that discuss Trenton potteries and the Thomas Maddock firm. In 1910, Thomas Maddock's Sons Company published "Pottery: A History of the Pottery Industry and Its Evolution as Applied to Sanitation." In 1962, Archibald M. Maddock II published "A History of the Pottery Plumbing, Fixture Industry in the United States. Both books were privately published. The president of The Potteries of Trenton Society provided this engraving of Thomas Maddock which appeared in  "History of Burlington and Mercer Counties" by E. F. Woodward and J. F. Hageman that was published in 1883.

U of Michigan

Ohio State
If a stein collector wanted to specialize in football or college related steins, there is a variety of steins available to start a collection, both old and new. In addition to the new glass steins shown above, Cooper and Clement Company of Liverpool, New York began distributing football player character steins depicting various universities in the 1980s. Gerz made the initial mold for the football player character stein, but high costs drove them to a Chinese manufacturer for the actual production. These steins initially sold for $45, but they are currently listed on eBay for less than that. The Michigan and Ohio State versions are shown here. The meeting of these two schools in late November often determines the winner of the Big Ten. Maybe this year’s battle will also determine number one in the nation prior to the bowl games. Gerz also has a modern version of the football stein with no school markings on the stein. Any of the steins mentioned in this article will be a great way to kick off your collection.

  1. History of Trenton:
  2. 1923: An Industry Gets Shattered:
  3. Potteries of Trenton Society: Ms. Patricia A. Madrigal, President of Potteries of Trenton Society, also provided additional information on the firm name and information on the family of Thomas.
  4. Character Steins: A Collector’s Guide, by Eugene V. Manusov and Mike Wald published in 1987 by Rosemont Publishing and Printing Corporation.
  5. Mr. Touchdown USA:
© Stein Collectors International 1996-2014
All rights reserved.