Bachelder Pitcher

Oscar L. Bachelder

Oscar Louis Bachelder (1852-06/26/1935) was born in Menasha, Wisconsin in 1852. His father's family had been in the pottery business for about 22 years, and  his father operated the ceramics business in Menasha until 1860.  From there the family moved to Ohio, then Erie, PA, Fulton IL and finally to Beaver City, NE. Bachelder received his early training in the workshop of his father--who he referred to as a "stern master, despising all slipshod work."   Bachelder left home at an early age and for over forty years worked as an itinerant potter, traveling to 28 states and territories as well as Canada.  He was attracted to Western North Carolina and "the unusual quality of the clay, rich in minerals and by the beauty of the scenery."  Arriving in 1911, at the age of 59, he first worked for James D. Rutherford Pottery.  When the Rutherford Pottery closed three years later, Bachelder realized a life-long dream and bought four acres of land and built a pottery with his friend Robert Gudger.  They began by making functional wares for the local farmers; Bachelder made the pottery and Gudger acted as salesman. Although they remained great friends, the partnership dissolved because of Gudger's family responsibilities.  Around 1916 Bachelder named his shop the Omar Khayyam Pottery.   He married Agnes Collins in 1917 and taught her to make pottery. Bachelder was noted for his mastery of form.  Many of his works were glazed with an Albany slip and signed with an OLB cipher. Bachelder's pottery was included in the Tricentennial Exhibition of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston in 1927.   He was a member of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts and also of the Philadelphia Arts and Crafts Guild.  His work is in the collection of the Newark Museum, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Mint Museum in Charlotte.  Oscar L. Bachelder died June 26, 1935.  Agnes sold the pottery in 1937 and died one year later.

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