What the Frankoma Old Timers Are Talking About

John Nathaniel Frank Was Generous to a Fault!

When art classes in Oklahoma public schools and colleges needed help with the stuff that makes up pottery and ceramics, John Frank was there. During the Depression and World War II, when chemicals for clays and glazes were in short supply, many Oklahoma art teachers and professors depended on the Christian charity of Mr. Frank, and he did not disappoint.

When the Cherokee and Creek Indian Nations wanted to re-establish their ancient art of pottery in the 1970’s, it was John Frank to whom they turned for molds and raw materials.

The Frankoma Old Timers think that many examples of this pottery exist today and, although these pieces are not Frank Pottery or Frankoma, they are an important part of the story of John Frank and Frankoma. Possible examples follow.


Dorothy Maril created this vase while a student at Oklahoma City University in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s, under the professorship of Mary Allen. Maril graduated in 1943. The vase bears a striking resemblance to the late version of the Frankoma Scallop Top Vase #79, curved lines, c 1940-49, younger cousin to the early #79 vase with straight lines, c 1934-38, designed by Joseph Taylor. The glaze and clay colors tell the rest of the story.







Early vase #79, Scallop Top, Straight Lines

Late vase #79, Scallop Top, Curved Lines 











The Frankoma Old Timers think that this Peter Pan plaque owned by Kevin Roden and made in the 1950’s is a school/college piece that evolved from the Frankoma #100 Peter Pan Mask, also designed by Joseph Taylor, and produced by Frankoma from 1942 to 1948 and again from 1972 to 1975.

Kevin Roden’s Peter Pan Plaque










Frankoma’s Peter Pan #100



Notice the similarity in the two side by side, with the plaque image enlarged.







The Will Rogers plaque on the left is Frankoma #151, 1934 to 1940’s, designed by St. Clair Homer. The Will Rogers plaque on the right is fired in white clay and painted gold. The Frankoma Old Timers think this copy may be a Cherokee or Creek Indian Nation pottery piece made in the 1970’s from molds provided by John Frank.


And, finally, this peculiar little student piece that recently appeared on eBay. The Frankoma Old Timers believe that this is Frankoma’s Ada clay, hand-pressed into a mold, and fired with Frankoma’s Ivory glaze.



Mrs. Anna Quindt Ebel taught art in the elementary and secondary schools in the Oklahoma City Public Schools from 1930 until the advent of Educational Television in the early 1950’s, when she became a program director on Channels 13 and 25, until her retirement in 1967. She was a pioneer in television and was the first woman TV director in Oklahoma.


 Mrs. Ebel’s student made this figurine at Whittier Elementary School on NW 10th St. between Western and Pennsylvania Avenues in Oklahoma City. The building is still standing but now privately owned.




Many Oklahoma schools and colleges owe Mr. Frank  a debt of gratitude for keeping the pottery wheels turning and the kilns hot during the lean times of depression and war. Some pottery artists and entrepreneurs do, too. The Frankoma Old Timers believe that one man’s generosity made Oklahoma a better place, and that spirit lives on today.

While the Old Timers  readily acknowledge that these academic pieces are not Frankoma, they are an important part of the Frankoma story and remind us of John Frank’s love of the Art and his Oklahoma.

Such is the legacy of John Nathaniel Frank.


  1. Michaeldg1 says

    That last piece is of Joan of Arc.

  2. Thanks for identifying this figurine. Frankoma collectors and historians appreciate your information. Ken

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