The Wade Hagen-Renaker Connection

David, Russell & Susan Nikas President of Hagen-Renaker

Since the end of the Second World War there has been a close relationship, both personal and working, between the Wade group of potteries of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, UK and the Hagen-Renaker Pottery of Los Angeles, California in the USA.



For many years Iris Carryer, Sir George Wade’s eldest daughter, was great friends with Maxine Renaker, wife of the founder of the company Jim Renaker, indeed after her retirement from Wade Ireland in 1963, Iris and her husband, Strayker Carryer actually worked for a number of years for Hagen-Renaker as their Southern California representitives.
It was also Maxine Renaker and Iris Carryer, whilst the later was still at Wade Ireland who, a few years earlier had hatched the plan to produce Arizona and a number of other splendid wall plaques at the Wade Ireland factory in Portadown which had previously been developed and produced by H-R.
When Wade hit on the idea to make Whimsies in the early 50′s to help them out of an industrial slump, Hagen-Renaker had been producing little figures of animals, birds and the like for a number of years.
When Hagen-Renaker were granted a licence by Walt Disney to produce his characters, Wade was also awarded a licence in the UK which resulted in what has probably become the most collectable of Wade and Hagen-Renaker figures ever to hit the collectables market – the Disney Hat Box and Blow Up series from Wade and a vast range of Disney figures from Hagen-Renaker. Of Hagen-Renaker, Walt Disney once said that their figures were the best representation of his characters that he had ever seen and it was Maxine Renaker who actually introduced Iris Carryer to Walt Disney.
In 1963 Maxine Renaker accompanied by her daughter Susan (now Mrs Susan Nikas, president of Hagen-Renaker) travelled to England for a vacation and it was to Brand Hall that they went as guests of Sir George Wade who they found to be the perfect host.
At the funeral of Sir George in 1986, the American connection was represented by Teddy Nikas, Susan’s husband, for whom Sir George had a great affection and he was remembered in his will.
(see the feature on Sir George Wade)
C&S have had a close relationship with Wade and Hagen-Renaker both personal and working, for a number of years now and were honoured when the title of the Official UK Hagen-Renaker Collectors Center was conferred on their shop in Arundel, West Sussex, UK some three years ago by the president of the company, Mrs Susan Nikas. C&S feel that this sits well with their other title as the Official Wade Collectors Centre. There are similarities in both products especially with Wade’s first whimsies and H-R Miniatures.

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