Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin, two brothers from East Liverpool, Ohio, formed a partnership in 1871 to sell pottery made in the factories located in their hometown. The Laughlin Brothers built a plant on the banks of the Ohio River in 1873. By 1877, Shakespeare, the younger brother, was ready to move on to pursue other interests. The business was continued as an individual enterprise as the Homer Laughlin China Works. The business prospered through the 1880’s and became one of the better known manufacturers of ceramic dinnerware and toilet ware in the United States. They also specialize in Fiestaware. The company website has this great film of their production process from the 1930's.
The piece we have shows only a small bit of the manufacturing serial number which records the date and place of manufacture. The "N" means it was made in Newell, West Virginia. The "3" is all that is left of the date, but we know that the West Virgina plant wasn't built until 1906. Since the sherd came from Stratum 1, this date fits in just fine.
NOTE: We will be in Port Tobacco on Thursday the 21st. See you there!