Frankoma Pottery

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Front and back of a piece of Frankoma pottery.

Frankoma Pottery is an American pottery company located in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The company is widely known for its sculptures and dinnerware although the company made many other products including figurines, trivets, and vases. All Frankoma pottery is made in the U.S. from locally dug clay.[1]


Frankoma was founded by John Frank in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1933. Frank had been a professor in ceramics at the University of Oklahoma at Norman from 1927 to 1936 and used light-hued local Ada clay in his initial products. He moved the company to Sapulpa in 1938, only to soon rebuild that factory after a fire later that year.[2] The name Frankoma was created from Frank's last name and the last three letters of the state of Oklahoma.

The light Ada clay was replaced by brick-red local clay in 1953.[2] John Frank operated the pottery with his wife Grace Lee Frank until his death in 1973. The factory was rebuilt in 1984 after a September 1983 fire destroyed most of the facility;[3][4] the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1990.[2] The Frank's daughter Joniece ran the pottery until 1991 when she was forced to sell the struggling company; the purchaser, Richard Bernstein of Maryland, resold the business in 2005 to Det Merryman.[5]

The company was closed for six weeks and was sold again during the summer of 2008, reopening on August 18 with new owner Joe Ragosta. Ragosta planned to bring back all the employees and continue the Frankoma line of pottery.[6] The year 2008 marked the company's 75-year anniversary.[1] The company closed in 2010 and was auctioned on May 18, 2011. Over a thousand pieces of pottery plus showroom fixtures and equipment were sold. The 1,800 original molds and the Frankoma name were not included in the sale. The real estate also was not part of the auction.[7][8] In August 2012, the factory building was sold to a non-pottery manufacturer. Also in that month, the original Frankoma molds and trademark name were sold to a limited liability company called FPC LLC. As of April 2020, pottery continues to be made,[9] but in lower volume quantities with artware being the primary focus.

The University of Oklahoma's Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art opened an Oklahoma Clay: Frankoma Pottery exhibition in 2012, documenting Oklahoma culture through pottery.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Frankoma Frankoma Pottery marks 75 years". Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  2. ^ a b c Joe L. Rosson (2005-10-11). The Official Price Guide to Pottery and Porcelain. Random House Information Group. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-676-60091-9. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  3. ^ Ellen T. Schroy (2004-12-18). Warman's Americana & Collectibles. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-87349-685-8. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  4. ^ "Fire destroys pottery plant". Durant Daily Democrat. September 26, 1983. p. 5. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  5. ^ "Frankoma Pottery". Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  6. ^ "Frankoma Pottery". company profile. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  7. ^ Ron McCoy. "Frankoma Pottery". Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  8. ^ "Frankoma Pottery in Sapulpa will be going, going, gone". The Oklahoman. 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2012-05-12.(subscription required)
  9. ^ "Home". Frankoma Pottery. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  10. ^ Westlee Parsons; Photo by Melodie Lettkeman (2012-04-25). "OU museum opens pottery exhibition". The Oklahoma Daily, University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2012-05-12.

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