For nearly a century, East Liverpool dominated the United States pottery industry. Drawn to easily accessible clay deposits and ready river transportation, British-born potter James Bennett established the first commercial pottery here in 1841. His success drew other enterprising and innovative craftsmen, and by the Civil War era, the local industry was well established. During its peak production years (1865-1910), East Liverpool's potteries produced and sold the majority of America's crockery, with nearly the entire city's population employed in the industry. Competition from imports and plastics, along with limited expansion space in the narrow Ohio valley, brought a decline in East Liverpool's importance in the ceramics industry in the 20th century. Three large potteries continue the pottery tradition. The Ohio Historical Society's Museum of Ceramics displays collections of early local ware.