My father Harry William Maddux was born May 1, 1917 in Vallejo, California. His father was a mining engineer. The family moved about in the lower desert area of Southern California and also lived a few years in Mexico during the time Bill (the name he went by) was growing up. During his later teen years Bill spent time in and around the Laguna Beach California area. Many artists in various fields got their start there. He had aunts there who owned and operated "Martha Newman Ceramics". By the mid 1930's Bill began the manufacture of pottery. I remember him later proudly mentioning that he had three people working for him before he was twenty years old. We know that at least some of his early pieces have the name "William Maddux" hand inscribed in the base. I am presently aware of nine different pieces that are hand inscribed.
In 1938 he married his wife Elma and they lived in the Los Angeles area. Around 1940 he open a small manufacturing plant at 3020 Fletcher Drive in Los Angeles. I believe that this facility initially operated as Valley Vista pottery, which he acquired. There he had about 15 employees at its peak. His pottery business was for the most part very successful during this time. The pottery, that we are aware of from the beginnings until Bill's selling the plant in 1948 or 1949, typically had some hand work, mostly flowers, on the pieces. I believe that there was a connection between these flowers and his aunts mentioned previously. I believe that all the pottery produced while Bill Maddux operated the company was hand-signed "William Maddux" or incised "Wm. Maddux". I am almost certain the name "Maddux of California" was not used until after he sold the Fletcher Drive facility. I believe that at the time of the sale, and probably precipitated the sale, Bill had partners and there were squabbles between them. During the 1940's Bill and Elma had three children. Jim was born in 1942, followed by Bob (myself) in 1943 and Leslie in 1948.
Pottery under the "Maddux of California" name survived under several ownership's until 1980, with much of the manufacture farmed out to various potteries, hence the wide variety of "Maddux" items. "Maddux" items were offered as premiums by S & H Green Stamps and others.
The sale of the Fletcher Drive facility, which in some way included the Maddux name, did not keep Bill out of the business long. It wasn't much later that he opened a new manufacturing facility. I believe that he bought a very small existing plant, which he soon enlarged. It was located on Victory Blvd. near the junction with Riverside Drive, which was near Griffith Park in the Los Angeles area. The name of his new operation was "Rembrant Pottery". It started out well, but by the mid 1950's the business was loosing money. During the early 1950's my brother and I would work at the Rembrant plant during the summer. Most of our time there was spent removing the mold lines from the green ware for 35 cents per hour. We must have worked on thousands of small pixie figurines. I don't believe that there were any permanent markings on Rembrandt items. Many Rembrant items were in light and pastel colors sprayed with gold spotting. The plant folded in 1957 with Bill incurring big financial loses. (I have found one pixie figurines with a Rembrant marking-see below)
Not long after that, Bill's wife died following a long struggle with cancer. Bill then began operating as a Manufacture's representative for several different companies, selling various giftware items to gift shops and other retail outlets. The most notable was the Ikora line of silverplate giftware from Germany. Bill died in 1966 after many struggles and a couple of short-lived marriages.