Salem historical museum carries on old china factory’s history

The Salem China Company is painted on the wall inside the Salem Historical Society Museum

Inside the Salem Historical Society Museum, the Salem China Company -- destroyed by fire on Tuesday -- is painted on the wall.

SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – It’s been five days since a massive fire destroyed the old Salem China Factory. Hardly anything from the building remains, but the history of the factory lives on.

The first thing you see when you walk into the Salem Historical Society Museum is the Salem China Company painted right on the wall. A display case sits on the right, filled with china

“People come in all the time just to look at the china,” said David Shivers, Salem Historical Society curator. “We still actually sell some of the Christmas eve patterns in the gift shop.”

Shivers estimates the historical society has around 1,000 items from the company — which includes some of the old molds, the old time-clock for the employees and pieces with primitive deer painted on them, which Shivers says are rare. He says the museum rotates the ones on display every so often.

Salem China opened in 1898 but stopped making china at the Salem building in 1967.

“This represented so many generations of workers in Salem, making beautiful china,” Shivers said.

A fire ripped through the factory on Tuesday.

Early in the evening, massive plumes of black smoke could be seen all over, while the orange and yellow flames lit the Salem night sky.

“I looked out and I saw the mass of smoke over the houses,” Shivers said. “I mean, to have a fire that big was really stunning. And to have it being the Salem China building was really devastating.”

Salem’s fire chief say his crews used over one million gallons of water on the scene since Tuesday.

The Salem Police Department accuses two 17-year-old boys from Lisbon for starting the fire. They are due in Columbiana County Juvenile Court this coming week.