Founded 1880. Rookwood Pottery was a result of a rare Ohio startup - one by a woman, back in 1880. After solely running the company till 1883, founder Maria Longworth Nichols handed the reigns of the business to William W. Taylor who transformed the startup into a major pottery firm. Some of the most sought after works by the pottery company are those created under the skilled craftsmanship of artisan Kataro Shirayamadani, who started decorating Rookwood pottery in 1887. Rookwood's earlier designs display the influence of Japanese ceramics. The company also specializes in tiles and American ceramics.