A Leader in the Doll Making Industry for over 75 Years
Bell Ceramics is now owned and operated by Beckie Decker. She has moved the company to Cedar Hill Texas.
The company will offer the same quality products, but introduce newly developed items as available.
This is the new home for The Bell Collection, LLC located in Cedar Hill, TX.
Please read the following for information about the company prior to its sale to Beckie in 2005.
IT BEGAN WITH AN ART SCHOOL
In early 1946, Mildred Bell, an energetic mother of three small children, wanted to "expand her horizons" and took up painting. By 1947, she had created a thriving art school called, The Montclair School of Fine and Industrial Arts, devoted to everything from basic art lessons to costume design. Soon, ceramics worked its way into the curriculum, and the demand for classes mushroomed. Her husband Harry, a retailer at the time, soon recognized a need for ceramic supplies, not only for the art school, but for hobbyists nationwide.
MILDRED & HARRY BELL - INNOVATIVE VISION
In 1948, Mildred and Harry sold the art school and joined forces to create Bell Ceramics, Inc. That same year, Mildred wrote, Practical Ceramics. During the 1950s, Mildred developed and marketed many porcelain and ceramic products, including liquid glazes and self-contained starter kits for retailers. She also pioneered many porcelain educational techniques. The Bells then set up a retail store, selling products to ceramics studios and developing their own slips and original molds.
THE BEGINNING OF THE BELL PRODUCT LINE
In 1952, Bell introduced White Orchid Porcelain Slip, an innovative formula which revolutionized the industry by providing high translucency and ease of handling in an array of popular colors. At the time, White Orchid Porcelain was the benchmark in the hobby porcelain business and continues to be one of Bell's most popular items. After several years and numerous retail store locations, the Bells decided to focus on the wholesale industry. After Harry's death in 1953, Mildred continued to run the business. Now a single parent, she was faced with the awesome responsibility of managing a growing business while raising three children (Richard, Peter and Nancy.) Later, Mildred met and married Jacob Lucas, who sold his company to work in partnership with his new wife. By 1958, they were running a burgeoning business in their new location in Morris Plains, New Jersey. By 1965, with the need for more space, they decided to move Bell Ceramics, Inc to Clermont, Florida. Mildred's books led to ongoing relationships with many top sculptors. Because of her love of dolls and collaborations with nationally known doll artists, Bell Ceramics, Inc became a leader in doll sculpture design and innovative techniques for molds, doll painting, and lace draping.
A TRADITION CONTINUES
During the 1960s Mildred's sons, Richard and Peter, took a more active role in the company's operations. Her son-in-law, Calvin Hettinger also joined the Bell team. Mildred Bell Lucas and Jacob Lucas stayed active in the business until her passing in 1977, then his in 1988. Today, with Richard Bell as President, Peter Bell as Vice President of Marketing and Sales, and Calvin Hettinger as Vice President of Production and Research, Bell Ceramics, Inc has grown into a multi-million dollar company with product distributors all over the world.
In 1986, the management of Bell founded the International Foundation of Doll Makers (IFDM). Over the years, the IFDM has become a leading dollmaking organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of creating fine porcelain dolls around the world.
IN 1998, The Bell Ceramics, Inc WAS FIFTY YEARS OLD!
Mildred Bell Lucas' love of beauty and her insistence that Bell products represent the highest quality in the industry, are legacies which are perpetuated by her family and the business she founded. The management and employees of Bell Ceramics, Inc continue as a "family" dedicated to the missions of providing education, innovations, quality and value to doll makers. Yes, fifty years later, Mildred Bell's pioneering spirit is still being felt by porcelain doll makers everywhere.
This spirit still manifests itself under the companies new ownership and the new company name in Texas.