Half Gallon Antique Salt Glaze Stoneware Jar
- Antique item
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Found in Ohio, this handsome wax sealer canning jar was made in the first half of the nineteenth century. The ovoid shape, swelling out at the shoulder and waist, tapers only gradually down to the base, foretelling a transition to the post-1850's beehive shape. This is a jar, not a crock; its top diameter is smaller than its waist, whereas a crock's top is the same size as its waist, regardless of the size of its base. It holds a half gallon, as indicated by the "1/2" stamped into the clay below the flared lip, a marking rarely found.
This jar was used for canning food; after the jar was filled, hot wax was poured in and topped with a tin lid (there's an inner ridge inside the mouth that the lid sat on). As the wax cooled, it became solid and hopefully sealed the food properly. There are typical chips around the mouth that were created when popping out the lid and melting the wax, which occasionally actually cracked the jar and made it a throw-away.
The clay is reddish tan and rough to the touch. The outside of the jar is salt glazed, a kind of soda glass glaze created when the potter threw salt into the kiln. The interior is coated with Albany slip, a thin brown liquid clay that made the inside watertight and dates it post-1800. Since stoneware was made for utility and not beauty, there are production flaws such as drops of excess clay, small indentations, glaze misses and spatters of Albany slip on the outside, all contributing to the hand made, primitive look. While the outside of the jar was smoothed on the wheel, the inside has the marks of the potter's fingers.
The jar stands 9 1/4 inches tall and measures 6 inches across the bottom and 3 1/2 inches across the top. It weighs weighs 3 3/4 pounds and is in overall good condition. In addition to the flaws mentioned above, there is one oval chip on one side, 3 1/2 inches from the bottom, shown in one of our photos. It displays beautifully and is a rare survivor 140+ years old.