From Helen Henderson’s Matawan and Aberdeen: of Town and Field:

Strangers passing through twenty-first-century Matawan would have little idea of the amount of manufacturing that went on there in the past.  Matawan became an early home of manufacturing industries and continued to be so in the late 1800s.  Although the industries started during this time are no longer in existence, for many years they not only supplied products to the region and the nation, but also provided employment for hundreds of local residents.  Barrels, crates, ceramic floor and wall tile, matches, piano plates, and pianos were all once manufactured locally.


Below are stories of the businesses and industries that helped shape Matawan’s history.

American Rice

In April of 1896, The American Rice Food & Manufacturing Company of New York bought the old mill property in Freneau and planned to commence production of “grain food.” George [...]

Antisell Piano Factory

In early January of 1887, prominent Matawan businessman Edward I. Brown (1846-1913) organized the Matawan Improvement Company, a joint stock venture incorporated to bring industry to the town. He served [...]

Harikan Art Products

Harikan Tiles, doing business as Tile Products, Inc, was featured in the November 2010 Matawan Historical Society newsletter. Note: it was also referred to as “Harikahn”; however, the single advertisement [...]

J. L. Rue Pottery

There have been a series of pottery and tile manufacturers behind what is now Aby’s Mexican Restaurant at 32 Main Street. The initial one was the J. L. Rue Pottery [...]

Matawan Lighter Company

In late 1944, the Matawan Lighter Company was one of several businesses which commenced operations in the former Matawan Tile factory which had closed due to wartime limitations of factory [...]

Matawan Pottery (Van Schoick, Dunn, Dunlop and Lisk)

Early inhabitants of Middletown Point relied upon local merchants to manufacture and sell stoneware and earthenware crocks and jugs for food and drink storage. Various historians and pottery collectors over [...]

Matawan Tannery

Early businesses in communities focused on residents’ immediate needs – butcher shops, sawmills, dry goods stores, blacksmith shops, etc. Some trades catered to a larger surrounding area, and one of [...]

Matawan Tile

The vacant J. L. Rue Pottery Company, which had been closed since 1895, offered an opportunity for Karl Wilhelm Mathiasen (1860-1920) and his brothers-in-law, the Eskesens, who wanted to expand [...]

Wason Piano Factory

Twenty years after the closing of the Antisell Piano Company in our borough, George Eugene Wason (1874-1950) and family moved to Matawan around 1913 to try his luck in the [...]