The company started as a Dundee, Illinois brickyard along the Fox River in 1852, using clay from the riverbank. David H. Haeger, a German immigrant, became part owner of the Dundee Brickyard in 1871 and within a year was sole owner and had extended the business to include tile. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Haeger shipped bricks into the city to help rebuild Chicago. By the 1920s the brickyard's production included tea-ware, luncheon-ware, crystal and glassware. At the Century of Progress Exposition in 1934 in Chicago, Haeger Potteries' exhibit included a complete working ceramic factory where souvenir pottery was made on the spot.
In 1934, Royal Arden Hickman (1893-1969) joined the firm to design a line of art-ware sold under the brand name "Royal Haeger". Hickman was the chief designer from 1938-1944 and Items produced during Hickman's tenure are marked "Royal Haeger by Royal Hickman U.S.A." During the 1950s, Hickman, no longer employed by Haeger Potteries, contributed designs to the company as a freelancer.
This graceful ebony panther figure, circa 1950's, is an excellent example of Hickman's talent in portraying animals. Originally this piece would have been part of a pair of figures, this male along with his female mate. The piece measures 13" in length and 8" in height; the base measures 8 1/2" in length and 3 3/4" in width. The base in marked in raised letters "Royal Haeger" and "Made In U.S.A.". There are no cracks, chips or repairs.