American pottery marks were much less bothered about marking their wares in the early days than their European counterparts. It was to do with the functionality of the items. Makers were local, and the wares weren't for show, they were for using.
Wedgwood of England were the forerunners in carefully and systematically marking their china wares in the early 1800's.
Sevres has worked out a marking system from the outset.
Unfortunately, their application left a lot to be desired (the were Gallic shrugs all round) and left the supposedly identification markings unidentifiable.
The US makers began eventually to organise their markings more along the more efficient English ways, as their utilitarian in nature gradually gave way to becoming more and more decorative and ornate.
This culminating in the fabulous and award winning bone china of Knowles Taylor Knowles.
American art pottery is also a very collectible area - McCoy, Rookwood, Roseville, Red Wing, Stangl, Van Briggle, Newcomb College, Fulper, Weller to name but a few.
All these companies have well recorded marks and we welcome discussions on these marks in our forum.
Lennox, Haviland, Gorham and Franciscan, to name but a few, are other American china makers with a fine pedigree and names to look out for.
Some general guidelines for Lennox would be to look out for a green wreath pottery mark. This marking was used on wares between 1906 and 1930. 'Made in USA' was added in 1931.
This ceramic mark continued to be used
until 1953 when the green color was changed to a gold. The gold wreath
continues until present production.
To understand Haviland marks, you first have to understand the various Haviland companies who were entwined in a morass of competition, merger and re-merger.
On this site there is a special Haviland Dinnerware page which enlightens this subject and is reviewed for accuracy by one of the leading Haviland experts in the US.
Use my extensive and detailed Haviland page along with this useful page here in order to get a feeling for the Haviland pottery markings.
I also admire the artistry of Franciscan Pottery (see my listing here) and have found a fascinating website www.gmcb.com/franciscan which has published a 1962 marks catalog from the Franciscan archives - showing 20 pages of just about every trade-mark or backstamp Franciscan ever used.
These are just the few of the important US makers I have picked out to discuss here. Within the discussion forums of this site there are many more posts about the various marks of American makers. If you need information about any company or mark in particular, simply use the search box at the top right of this and all pages.