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David H. Haeger came to the United States from Germany, founding a small Illinois company in 1871 that took the original name of the Dundee Brickyard for the bricks and tile they made to rebuild Chicago after the great fire as well as other midwestern cities and towns. However, David Haeger and his son Edmund had aspirations to rise beyond brickmaking and into a leadership position in the design and production of art pottery in the U.S. The company first used its skills with clay in the manufacture of bricks to begin making small and simple earthenware pots for wholesale and retail sale. David Haeger died in 1900, but Edmund continued  experimenting with ever more sophisticated designs and glazes, changing the name of the company to Haeger Potteries.

"Adam and Eve" was the first art pottery collection introduced by Haeger about 1912, winning critical acclaim for the richness of their colors and the quality and lustrous appearance of their glazes. In 1914, well known artisan Martin Stangl came to work at Haeger Potteries and further advanced their transition into a maker of fine art pottery. Stangl came to Haeger from the Fulper Pottery Company of New Jersey, known for their innovative forms and rich, flowing glazes. In fact, many of the new Haeger glazes he created were considered to be directly analogous to those he created while at Fulper. In 1919, Stangl went back to Fulper although Haeger continued to produce his designs and glazes, and Stangl went on to acquire Fulper during the Depression years and rename it Stangl Pottery. The 1934 Chicago World's Fair exposed Haeger work to an international clientele. As Fulper had done earlier, Haeger constructed a working kiln and pottery manufacturing facility at the fair for the public to see the wares in production by the skilled craftsmen.

The Haeger family continued to be actively involved in the operations, with Edmund Haeger's son-in-law Joseph Estes becoming the general manager of the factory in about 1938 and later rising to President upon Edmund Haeger's death. It was during this time that the designer Royal Hickman came to Haeger to create the Royal Haeger line which continues today. Hickman was born in Oregon in 1893 and worked as a designer for Californian and European potteries before coming to Haeger. Hickman's design aesthetics were flowing and elegant, and pieces were typically offered in various sizes. Art Deco and modern influences were evident in Hickman's Royal Haeger designs such as the panthers which frequently appeared in Haeger lamps and decorative pieces. The success of the Royal Haeger line prompted the company to hire additional name designers to broaden their creative reach, including Eric Olsen who created many of the most famous designs such as the Haeger bull until his retirement in 1972. Other designers of note who did work for Haeger include Sascha Brastoff and Franz Joseph Koenig. Hickman himself left the company in 1944 but continued to work for Haeger as well as other manufacturers such as Heisey into the 1950s.

Royal Haeger is still best known for their animals, birds, and other figurines as well as the manifestations of these designs in lamps and lighting. Haeger is probably the best known manufacturer of 1950s TV lamps which have emerged as a major collecting area in themself. Still a family operation, Alexandra Haeger Estes (Joseph's daughter and great granddaughter of founder David Haeger) became President of Haeger Potteries in 1979. Much of Haeger's production is unmarked or had paper labels which most often came detached or were removed, so it is not unusual to find unrecognized Haeger pieces at bargain prices through flea markets and estate sales.

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The House of Haeger, 1914-1944: The Revitalization of American Art Pottery Hull Pottery: Decades of Design (Schiffer Book for Collectors)
Art Deco: 1910-1939
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