Ohio Finds! Fascinating Objects from our Past: 1839 Stoneware Crock

 

In the mid-1820s, northeast Ohio was welcoming terrain for New England craftsmen. The sheer survival of the pioneer era had given way to small villages and larger urban centers, and as the population expanded, so did the demand for utilitarian kitchen containers and utensils. Kiln-fired stoneware was the preferred choice for food storage, and skilled potters moved westward from New York, Vermont and Connecticut to search for clay deposits that would provide ample opportunity for stoneware production. In northeast Ohio, the craftsmen found not only vast stores of rich clay, but also waterways that provided an efficient means of getting products to buyers. Common forms of their wares included crocks for storing food and jugs for holding liquids. Generally fired with a simple salt glaze that produced a pale, gray, pebbled surface, many of these items were produced without decoration or with only numbers or hash marks indicating size. Occasionally, a potter might merchandise his pieces by decorating them with flowers, birds or other animals. This crock is likely of northeast Ohio origin and most certainly presented as a gift. A prized example for its bird and flower surrounded by a scalloped wreath, the crock bears an inscription of “July 6, 1839” and “L.D. Owen Ohio,” dating it to the early days of the state’s stoneware production. 

Illustrated crock sold at Garth's Auction: $19,200

 

Column first appeared in Ohio Magazine March 2015 Digest

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