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Their first building, constructed in part by Grace’s father, burned down shortly after their arrival.

Despite the economic hardships caused by the fire and the Great Depression, the Franks followed their vision and rebuilt.

A new graduate of Chicago Art Institute, John Frank moved to Norman, Okla., in 1927 to establish the first Ceramic Art Department at the University of Oklahoma.In 1936, Frank quit his position at the university and in 1938 he moved with his wife, Grace Lee, to Sapulpa, Oklahoma, on Route 66 just outside of Tulsa. As a longtime admirer of Frankoma Pottery, I was thrilled when a recent tour of Oklahoma included a short visit to Sapulpa to view the family home of Frankoma founder John Frank as well as the current Frankoma factory.Frank received a design patent for “C-thru tile,” a pattern of glazed pottery tile adhered to plate glass on the front door and entrance.This unique door, which weighs about 900 pounds, is an amazing feature, even during heavy rain.Donna Frank wrote Clay in the Master’s Hands, a book with an intimate account of her parents and their struggles to develop Frankoma Pottery.

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