History

Iron Mountain Stoneware (IMS) opened in 1965 and operated in the community of Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee for 27 years, until it's closing in 1992.  Nancy Patterson opened the factory in a partnership with Albert Mock and hired local community residents to be the employees in the manufacturing process.  Ms. Patterson married Harold (Joe) Lamb during the early years of the company and he assisted her in creating a successful business using his experience as a ceramics machinery engineer. During the time the company was in operation, Nancy Patterson was joined in the artistic creations by her sister, Sally Patterson, and James (Jim) Kaneko, an art professor from the American River College. Nancy, Sally, and Jim produced many one-of-a-kind pieces by painting hand-built pieces with glazes of their own creation. The company was reportedly producing eleven different patterns of stoneware in 1975, but later in 1988, a factory seconds pricelist listed twenty-three different patterns, six of which were produced only every other year.  The company ceased production and the contents of the operation were sold at auction in 1992.

From the Eagle newspaper, Reading, PA, June 26, 1975 (article entitled She's a Living Legend of Iron Mountain by Joan O'Sullivan)

Article from the Reading Eagle, Reading, PA - June 26, 1975


From the Elizabethton Star, January 8, 2008 (article about the William King Art Center exhibition of Iron Mountain Stoneware)
"Shaping the Earth" Exhibition, William King Regional Arts Center

12 comments:

  1. Would love to provide some information to your blog! You can contact me at emorycarty@gmail.com

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  2. My husband and I were married on May 7th, 1977. Before our wedding while we were visiting my husbands parents in their hometown of Bolivar TN, I ran across the Iron Mountain "White Top" Pattern in a small gift shop there. I fell in love with it and quickly chose it as our every dinnerware...and almost 40 years later we're still using it every day. I love it even more now !!

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    1. Thank you, Sherry!
      Our dear friend, Michelle had a fatal accident a year ago, and we wish to honor her memory by continuing to publish information on her blog.
      i am the originator/designer of IMS and greatly appreciate your comments.
      Nancy

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  3. I first learned about Iron Mountain Stoneware when I was working for the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1966. It was viewed as an example of excellent economic development which was desperately needed (and still is) in Appalachia. I first purchased a few pieces when I got married in the late 1960's, and use them to this day. I just decided I was tired of my tea set, so replaced it with some Iron Mountain, in the same pattern, Roan Mountain, a classic from the early days. The later patterns are wonderful as well. Glad many of them can still be found in great condition.

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    1. Hello, Please read my comments on the posting above. We dearly miss Michelle.
      Thank you very much for your kind words about the stoneware. All of us at iron Mountain had many marvelous years together, and I have always felt a connection to those who bought the ware.

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  4. Over the years from the early 70"s, I have collected 50-60 pieces and still use them all. The look is timeless and I see each one as an individual piece of art. I am pleased to know the history.
    Ken

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  5. My bride and I and our infant daughter visited the pottery in 1970, and purchased a number of mugs and a serving plate. My bride died last year, but the pottery lives on!

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  6. Hi Ms. Lamb. I received some great pieces on e-bay, including a teapot! I love my Iron Mountain Stoneware and the lady who had the dream and ingenuity to accomplish it.
    your pal,
    cindy

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  7. I have 60 pieces of Whispering Pines that I bought at Laurel Bloomery about 40 years ago. Each piece is signed but I don't know the artist. I am preparing to downsize my world and am thinking about either giving the set (for 8 plus serving pieces) to my children, or selling it. But I must say that I've enjoyed my IMS, piece by piece. Thank you, Ms. Lamb, for the pleasure.

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  8. I have 2 Winterlight coffee cups with the usual markings, an F and 81.
    Any idea of artist.
    Love them!!

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  9. Anne and David Morgan, Asheville, NCDecember 2, 2017 at 8:54 AM

    In 1967 someone gave us a plate - the Roan Mountain pattern - as a wedding gift. Over the next 5-10 years I collected a complete set. We loved including Laurel Bloomery in any trips we made between Richmond and Chattanooga. I was sad to learn that it closed. I think it was part of the Kennedy Anti-Poverty Project and is still needed.

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  10. I have a large set of Whispering pines (service for 16) that I have enjoyed for the forty two years that we have been married. While friends have bought several sets of dishes, I have always marveled in the uniqueness of each piece and loved the way my Whispering Pines lived through the years. Recently I replaced the dishes at our second home and shortly after they began to chip. One thing I don't deal well with is chips! After looking at Replacements to replace a small Whispering Pines bowl I broke, I discovered White Top. I have through Ebay purchased a set of White Top for our second home. It is perfect for the mountains of Lake Tahoe. How lucky I feel to have found another "perfect" pattern of Iron Mountain stoneware.

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