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Frankoma Pottery

A Brief History


John Frank started his pottery business in 1933 in Norman, Oklahoma where he worked as ceramic art director for OK University.  His objective was to make fine art pieces that everyday people could afford.  The Frankoma name was coined a year later and is a combination of his surname and the last three letters of the state where the potter was located.  (at the time this was Oklahoma's only commercial pottery)  In 1938 the business was moved to Sapulpa, just outside of Tulsa.  In a few short months everything was destroyed by fire, which was a common problem of potteries in those days.  The Franks rebuilt.  In 1942 they began producing the "Southwestern" dinnerware line that would become a signature representation of the companies fine work.  In 1973 John Frank died.  His daughter Joniece took over operations as President and CEO.  In 1983 the factory once again burned down.  Although the pottery was rebuilt, business was never quite the same.  Joniece sold the business in 1991.  In 2001 Joe Ragosta purchased the business and apparently continues to create limited amounts of Frankoma Pottery.  (A website link is displayed below)  Gracetone - Mr. Frank bought Synar Ceramics in September, 1957 and named it Gracetone.  He developed a dinnerware line there called Orbit, and continued to produce their original wares.  The endeavor didn't really pan out so the companies production was shut down in 1962.

Examples of Work


gold bar graphics

General Information and Websites

In my experience the majority of Frankoma's pieces are signed.  However, they are usually easily identified without a makers mark by forms and colors.  The more popular lines of Frankoma pottery have a similar look and feel.  It should be noted that from 1933 - 1954 they used clay from around "Ada", OK.  After '54 they used clay from around "Sapulpa".  Although the latter is collectible, pieces produced with the earlier, Ada clay is more valuable.  The "wet finger technique" is somewhat useful in figuring out which type of clay was used.  If your wet finger, applied directly to an unglazed portion of a piece, turns the wet area darker, it is likely Supulpa.  If it remains the original color, then it is probably Ada. (This is NOT always a reliable test!) The sites below can help further explain how to identify your pieces age, consistency and value.

Things of quality have no fear of time. , John Frank

You may want to bookmark this site, as the links below will take you elsewhere...

Modern Frankoma Co.

Family Collectors Association

Discussion Board Frankoma

Frankoma Pottery Books

If you have a site that you think belongs here, fill out the contact form.  Thanks!




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