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Home > What is Stoneware?
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 

What is Stoneware?

Types of Stoneware found in Colonial America.

At the outset, it is essential for scholars of early American pottery to understand that due to the vibrant trade taking place on the Atlantic between America, Holland, England and Spain, the typical colonial household was likely to contain both imported and local pottery. Earthenware was the utilitarian pottery most produced in early America. Until the end of the revolutionary war, stoneware was imported from Europe. Germany and England were the world's prime stoneware producers, and a great deal of these countries' stoneware was exported to the colonies. Both countries used brown and grey salt glazes with blue decorations, and the English stein and German bellarmine jug were the types of pottery created in greatest quantities for exportation.

The production of colonial stoneware began in the 1750's, and stoneware potters strove to compete with foreign importers. Major regions of stoneware production were New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Stoneware is appreciated for its durability. Technically speaking, clay which has a waterproof rating of less than 2% is considered stoneware. Stoneware clays tend to be a melange of clays and the colors and textures of these vary greatly. Salt glazing is generally the technique of adding coarse salt into the kiln during firing. This causes a chemical reaction and creates the rough, pebbly texture of stoneware.