ewer shape, artist signed E.A. for Edward Abel, "W" for white clay, "L" mark, shape #331, 1891, standard glaze, 6 1/2", excellent.......Rookwood Pottery is known for having many women artists on staff over its long lifespan. It has the distinction of being the first manufacturing company in the United States founded by a female.Maria Longworth Nichols started Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1880. She reportedly chose the name for the company after noting the many rooks, also known as crows, on her father’s estate and added “wood” in recognition of Wedgwood, according to Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles edited by Noah Fleisher.In 1883, after much success earning medals for the company's work, namely at the Exhibition of American Art Industry in Philadelphia and the Exposition Universelle in Paris, Nichols transferred her interest in the company to William W. Taylor. Taylor had served as the firm’s manager since 1883. Under his command, the business went from a fledgling pottery company to a thriving entity over the subsequent decades as demand for American art pottery continued to increase approaching the turn of the 20th century. Early ProductionRookwood’s early pottery production was based on exquisite pieces originating in Japan and other influences gleaned from European ceramics. Not surprising considering the company's founder clearly had an affinity for Wedgwood. In 1884, with the introduction of the company’s "standard glaze," Rookwood found its niche in the pottery world.From that point on, the firm’s team of talented decorators and glaze masters truly transformed American pottery production, according to the Rookwood Pottery website. Rookwood’s new Iris glaze, one of several introduced in the mid-1890s under Taylor’s forward-thinking direction, is attributed to Rookwood garnering the Grand Prix at the Paris Exposition in 1900. The company continued to reap accolades over the next several years, entering its wares in numerous competitions, as noted in Warman’s.