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Breininger Publications Llc


About Lester Breininger

  In 1965, Lester Breininger bought a pottery dog. He then went to Tom Alexander, an art teacher at Conrad Weiser High School, where Lester himself taught biology, and asked him to make a matching dog so he could have a pair. Mr. A said “No! “Why don’t you come to my adult art class and make your own?”

Thus began, Lester’s interest in making pottery.

  Always a student of history, Lester discovered that local potters from past centuries dug their own clay from along the Tulpehocken Creek near Womelsdorf, PA. So, Lester dug clay from the Tulpehocken and processed it in a bath tub behind the house.

  Before he bought his own kiln, the family would drive to Newmanstown to the home of a woman, who owned a kiln and would fire the items for him. (At this time, Barbara was making dolls with porcelain heads, which also needed to be fired.) Before long, not one, but many kilns were purchased to fire the burgeoning number of pottery pieces made by the Breiningers.

  In the summers when there was no school, Lester would work hard at making pottery. He would employ students, in whom he saw artistic talent, to help in the pottery business. At first, those students would simply clean off the rough edges of the pottery, or help roll out and slip the plates, as the decorating fell to Barbara and daughter Lisa in several summers. However, the students took on more and more of the decorating and other tasks. Many of these students went on to have their own pottery businesses, or other artistic endeavors.

  Lester’s interest in antiques manifested itself in the pottery business in that Lester attempted and mastered the shapes and designs of early pottery, which he either bought or saw at sales or in books. Many of the sgraffito designs came from books on antique redware, hence his reference to his work as reproduction redware.

  The Breininger family was excited when Paul Locher approached us about writing a book about Breininger Pottery. We hope that you will enjoy the book.

In Lester's own words... 
“After buying a pottery dog with a basket of apples in his mouth from Mrs. Spears in 1964 for $50.00 (from Womelsdorf), 
I thought I’d like a partner for it. Mr. Alexander wouldn’t do it, but invited me to his adult art class to make one. 
In early spring of 1965, I went and with his guidance, formed my first pottery toy. The next night I made three more. 
In fall of 1965, Mrs. Richard L. Millerand I went to art class, made a plate mold and the pottery started. Christmas 1968, 
the American Museum of Folk Art got some pottery and in summer 1969, I met Dr. Wilhanken from Basel, Switzerland. 
In 1969, we started the ark, fish and harvest bottle ring and the 13 inch sgraffito plate…..the pottery business begins.” 

Lester loved to tell the history of how the specialty pottery pieces came to be – sharing information about the original pottery piece, the potter, the dates, etc….
(He could talk your ear off!)