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October 2012

Getting Ready for Winter – Putting up the Preserves

With the heat of summer turning into the cool crisp days of fall, we are reminded that getting ready for winter took significant efforts during the 18th and 19th centuries. Stoneware proved to be ideal for the storage of many types of items. In the case of stoneware, form followed function with different sizes and shapes depending on the type of item being stored. Jars, also known as crocks, were a mainstay used to preserve many types of foodstuff. There were wide-mouth crocks used for salted meats, cucumber pickles and sauerkraut found from one-half gallon to ten gallons. Dry ingredients such as flour and sugar were not usually stored in stoneware.  The early versions of these jars were often ovoid but as the demand grew, potter’s looking fit more in their kiln made the sides straight so that the bottom and top diameters were the same.

Stoneware Preserve Jars

Three Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware Storage Jars, Courtesy Cowan's Auctions 2005

Small-mouthed jars were most common in an ovoid form before and during the third quarter of the nineteenth century. They were used for the storage of meats in lard, lard, apple butter or other fruit butters, eggs preserved in dry-salt, butter,  and even soft soap. Lug handles were usually seen on jars over one gallon in size.

Small forms of the small-mouthed preserve jar remained popular into the twentieth century when they could no longer compete with the glass canning jar. These smaller stoneware jars were typically made in sizes from one pint to one gallon and were used primarily to store sugared or sugared and brandied fruits preserves. The very earliest types had tie down rims or were made with mouths small enough to close with corks. In later jars, simple flat lids were sealed with grease, wax or sealing wax. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, imitations of glass jar sealing devices such as metal lids or patented clamp closures and rubber rings were common. But in the end, these stoneware jars just couldn’t compete with the glass canning jar.

The jars can be found with a salt-glaze or slip glaze with varying color from light gray and tan to a deep brown. Plain jars are collectible but the chief interest in stoneware comes with the varying forms of decoration. The more unusual the decoration, the more value the jar will have.

Find preserve jars, crocks and many other forms of stoneware on Dig Antiques.

Additional Resources:

American Stonewares, The Art and Craft of Utilitarian Potters, Georgeanna H. Greer, Schiffer Pub Ltd, 2005.
Pottery & Porcelain, William C. Ketchum, Jr., Alfred A. Knopf, 1983.
Ceramics in America 2012, Robert Hunter, Chipstone, 2012 (pre-order).
American Stoneware Pots and Jars,


Still Useful
Written by Guest Columnist: Lyn Andeen

While most of us display our country antiques and collections we should not forget that these items were made for a utilitarian purpose and are still useful.

One of my Mother’s prized cooking black skillets that had been handed down to her was an inheritance dilemma. So well seasoned with spice and love it was hard for anyone to relinquish. No one really cared about the Griswold name; just the cooking prowess.

Lots of our collections have this same usefulness. Those custard cups sitting on the self and yelloware bowls were made to be used. The same goes for those wooden bowls, bread boards and choppers.

They do, of course, also have there decorative value.  At a recent rehearsal dinner that my daughter attended antique stoneware canning jars filled with wild flowers were used for decor.  If you are going to spend money on centerpieces why not invest in unique antique containers and fill them with home grown delights!

Taking a page from my own book this Thanksgiving will be a little different.  Instead of using my Mother’s bone china, I will be setting the table with antique stoneware, ironstone, spongeware, yelloware, and pewter.  A wooden bowl of fresh fruit and a pantry box with homespun will hold the freshly baked rolls and cornbread.  Spongeware pitchers will be perfect for the cider, and I think I will borrow that stoneware centerpiece idea.

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to go down home with its roots in our country’s beginnings and those items used by our forefathers.

Everyone "Dig " in and enjoy the feast!

About Lyn Andeen
Lyn Andeen has been an avid collector and dealer for the past 28 years. She has been in group shops, setup at countless antique shows and has a true artistic eye. Lyn's passion is for quality 18th through early 20th century Americana, decorative arts, Shaker and folk art. You can find Lyn online through Andeen Antiques.



Our daily experiences are often heavily influenced by the weather - what events we attend, friends we see and so on. Out here in California, we are experiencing beautiful warm days that bring smiles to our faces. However, with Sandy barreling down on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, we find ourselves thinking about our friends and family, hoping that the storm predictions are somehow wrong, and that we will laugh at how the weather forecasters were once again wrong.

In the meantime, please join us in welcoming the newest shop to Dig Antiques Lyndale Antiques by checking out the Shop.

For the first time, we will be exhibiting at Heartland Fall Edition in Richmond, Indiana on Saturday, November 17. We are looking forward to meeting many of you - please stop and see us in Booth #61 (Baker & Co. Antiques). We'll have Dig Antiques reuseable bags which we will be happy to give you for free, just for stopping by and letting us know what you think of Dig Antiques.

We hope that you are able to use Dig Antiques searches and the Shops on Dig Antiques to add to your collections and research country, folk art and Americana antiques.

Don't forget, it's easy to open your own Shop or advertise your website through Dig Antiques. Thank you!

Tom & Sheila Baker

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September 2012 Top Searches

Below is a summary of the twenty most popular search phrases last month.

1. folk portrait
2. blue paint
3. blanket
4. furniture
5. smalls
6. weathervane
7. Americana
8. dry
9. redware
10. indian
11. virginia
12. painted
13. painted smalls
14. painted cupboard
15. portrait miniature
16. stoneware
17. painted basket
18. cupboard
19. blanket chest
20. pennsylvania


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