Ceramic Industry

Reintroducing a Historic Line

March 2, 2012


In the 1940s, when World War II caused a severe shortage of metals in the U.S., Rookwood produced ceramic urns to meet demand.

The Rookwood Pottery Co. recently announced it is partnering with the largest family-owned supplier in funeral service, Aurora Casket Co., to make an exclusive line of cremation urns. The deal marks Rookwood’s return to the funeral industry, where familial connections and legacies carry notable significance. In the 1940s, when World War II caused a severe shortage of metals in the U.S., Rookwood produced ceramic urns to meet demand. In fact, one of the designs in the Aurora line is a modernized version of a 1940s classic.

Under the agreement, Aurora has commissioned Rookwood to create a line of eight urns, comprising two designs in four colors. Rookwood’s artisans will produce the urns, which will bear the Rookwood logo and time stamp, at its Over-the-Rhine facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. The urns will only be available through licensed funeral homes.

The timing of the partnership with Aurora is important, as the demand for cremations continues to rise. An estimated 44.4% of the population is expected to choose cremation by 2015, according to the Cremation Association of North America. That compares with 34.3% of the population in 2007.

Chip DeMois, Rookwood CEO, said the company decided to bring back its urns after recognizing this trend. “In our research, we found that most urns come from overseas and they are not ceramic,” DeMois says. “Aurora gives Rookwood a chance to revive American-made, ceramic urns. A Rookwood urn represents the finest in American ceramics and is one of the new business cornerstones of Rookwood’s current revival as the leader in architectural tile and art pottery.”

Aurora Casket has prominently featured the urns in its recent cremation products catalog. According to Steve Jones, president of Meierjohan-Wengler, an Aurora subsidiary that produces and distributes cremation urns, the products are now available to the thousands of funeral homes that Aurora serves.

“We’re really honored that Rookwood chose us as a partner,” Jones says. “Part of Aurora’s mission is to help bring an honorable closure to every life. Rookwood, because of its beauty and uniqueness, will help us take a step toward our mission. That is important to a family-run company.”

“Aurora, through Steve Jones, has demonstrated a true respect and appreciation for the quality that Rookwood represents,” DeMois says. “Likewise, the brand integrity and quality of the Aurora name ensures us the best opportunity to offer our urns throughout the country.”

In addition to the line of urns available through Aurora Casket, Rookwood is offering customized, hand-painted urns through Rookwood. 

For additional information, visit www.rookwood.com or www.auroracasket.com.