New Medalta Ceramics Products

Malcolm McArthur (Mac) was a well known person in the pottery Industry in the Medicine Hat area, and in 1958 an opportunity came his way that he just could not turn down. At the time he was working for Hop Yuill who owned the old Alberta Potteries plant in Redcliff, originally built by Jessie William Wyatt, but when the Medalta factory became available for lease, he was quick to set up his own facility, albeit on a much smaller scale. The old factory was a mess, but what was best about the lease was that it included all the equipment and supplies left behind when the Medalta plant closed in 1954.

He had the plant up and running sometime in early June (see the Clayburn Harbison stamp), and with a half dozen workers started producing his own line of wares. Unfortunately, disaster struck just a few days before Christmas 1958 when he received a phone call telling him his plant was on fire. Mac was pretty sure who started the intentional fire as he had even recorded the licence plate of a car leaving the area, but no firm evidence was ever found to charge anyone. In later years, McArthur even gave an interview to a radio station in Edmonton where he named the culprit, another well known Medicine Hat resident who owned another pottery in the city.

New Medalta Ceramics was in business for such a short period of time that its products are quite hard to find and, thus, not really sought after by collectors. Most collectors of Alberta-made pottery pick up examples of New Medalta’s wares, but I have yet to meet a collector specializing in its products.

My intention was to show you only the vases made by this company, but when I looked at what pictures I had, I decided to show all products, variations and the stamps used to mark the products.

The company is probably best known for its birch bark barbeque pieces as shown here. This set actually dates to the Alberta Pottery (Yuill) period, but they appear to be identical to the Centennial set which I will use to show closer views and markings of selected pieces.

So far the only named plate that has been recorded is the one given away by Clayburn Harbison Ltd. It differs from the centennial one by the crest of the city of Abbotsford towards the top righthand side rather than the British Columbia Provincial crest.

One example has been found where there is no crest in the upper right of the plate. The other pair of plates both have the Provincial crest, and they are shown here to illustrate the colour variations that can be found.

One collector, who just happens to live in Abbotsford, had the good fortune of finding the dinner menu and program for the event where these plates were given to the guests.

New Medalta Ceramics also made a mixing bowl, and collector Dr. Bruce Douglas was fortunate to find a boxed set of all three sizes, 7, 9 and 11-inches in diameter. The size was impressed in the center of the bottom with the word “CANADA” below.

The beer stein made by this company is quite different from the steins made by the other potteries in the Medicine Hat area. I have only recorded three different named or crested ones, but in addition one modified RCAF Clarseholm stein have been recorded. I have no suggestion as to why part of the naming was removed.


Winnipeg Press Club

RCM.P crest

Steins are about
5.25” to 5.38” high

A small bowl, perhaps a rose bowl, has been observed in two colours. In addition, I have pictures of a couple of plant boxes, but one of the photographs taken of Mac McArthur’s collection appears to show a third one, the grey one in the middle.

Finally we get to the vases made by New Medalta Ceramics. Stylistically and decoratively, they are quite different from the vases made by the other pottery companies in the area. It is really too bad that Mac lost his business due to the fire that someone set as who knows what other interesting pieces he would have come up with.

Almost all the vases depicted here were from the Dr. Bruce Douglas collection (his pictures have a ruler in the background). I have only recorded 12 different shapes and, to keep track of what the different ones, I am numbering them shape 01, shape 02, etc. as new ones show up. I am hopeful that others will be able to add to these pictures with different decoration, colour or better yet, an altogether new shape.


Shape 01
5.25” h.

Shape 02
6.25” h.

Shape 03
8.5” h.


Vase shape 04
12.25 to 12.5” h.


Shape 05
11.25” h.

Shape 06
8.5 to 8.75” h.

Shape 06

Shape 07
8.75” h.


Shape 11
8.63" high

Shape 11
8.63" high

Shape 12

Factory Stamps: G=glaze stamp, M=impressed in mould stamp


G.1

G.2

G.3

G.4

G.5

M.1

M.2

Stamp Colour Variations

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