Gem Clay Forming Co.
Founders: B.H. Green, H.D. Weaver and E. C. Albright
1st Location: Bellaire, Belmont County, Ohio
2nd Location: West Georgia Ave. and 16th and Railroad Street, Sebring, Ohio
Circa: 1900 to 1980
Specialty: Gem Clay made refractoryware which is clayware composed to resist high temperatures. Created the "Our Gang Comedy" in clay figurines during the depression, along with Tarzan. Later made salt and pepper shakers, lamp bases, refrigeration ware and baby dishes. Later made fireplace brick and mantle rings and fireplace logs.
Gem Clay Forming Co. located in Sebring, Ohio, was licensed by Edgar Rice Burrows in 1933 to produce a line of hollowcast bisque Tarzan mini-statuetts. Issued as a series of twelve or thirteen?, they arrived in white/natural material, accompanied by painting suggestions. The material was hollow bisque, and of course, children often painted them clumsily, played with them roughly, and very few survived.
The sculptures and moulds for the Tarzan series were created by the renowned artist and industrial designer the Viktor Schreckengost and his two brothers Paul and Donald. Victor was born in Sebring, Ohio in 1906. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1925 to 1929 and Majored in Art Design, Minored in Ceramics with special classes in drawing, anatomy and calligraphy.
In 1931 Edgar Rice Burroughs approved the first Tarzan radio series, and he pioneered a distribution method of recording the shows for distribution. In 1932 scripts were written and recorded and distribution started. “Tarzan” was an instant hit. And advertisers used premiums as a sales method.
One of the earliest sponsors was the Foulds Milling Company, and in 1932 the company was sponsoring “Tarzan” on nine radio stations and on February 13, 1933 copyrighted the Tarzan bisque series. According to one source, by March 22, 1933, Foulds pulled 310,348 requests for Tarzan premiums, or a total of 932,244 labels, each representing the sale of a package of Foulds Macaroni, spaghetti, egg noodles, or a key from a can of Toddy.
Tarzan statuette in bisque issued as a radio premium for the “Tarzan” radio series by Foulds’ Milling Company, during or shortly after 1933. This is a 4 1/2 inch tall hollow bisque figure, not a solid plaster figure.
All Values based on Mint condition only
Tarzan - 4 5/8 inches tall - $50.00
Jane - 4 inches tall - $50.00
Ape with Baby - $50.00
Lion - 3 1/2 inches long - $40.00
Panther/Cheetah paint variations - 2 1/2 inches long - $40.00
Native with drum - $50.00
Native with shield - $50.00
Monkey sitting - 1 1/4 inches tall - $35.00
Monkey walking - 1 1/4 inches tall - $35.00
Pirate sitting on treasure chest - 3 inches tall sitting - $50.00
U.S Marine - $60.00
More information on Viktor Schreckengost can be found at:
Craig Stephen Bara
The Viktor Schreckengost Foundation