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Antique Crockery- What To Look For

Purchasing antique crockery for decorating your table and home can be a fun and challenging experience. There are so many time periods from which to choose, each with their own distinctive style. To help in your antique crockery choice, two vastly different styles are highlighted below: Red Wing pottery and Wedgwood china.Red Wing pottery comes from Red Wing, Minnesota, a small farming town on the banks of the Mississippi. It began to be produced in the 1860's, by German immigrant farmers who settled in the area. When the farming season was over, these men would gather clayey soil and throw pottery in thick, utilitarian shapes. They made storage crocks, bowls, jugs, and milk coolers. There is little decoration on Red Wing pottery, just the red wing trademark and a simple design drawn in blue cobalt. The traditional glaze for Red Wing pottery is salt glaze, achieved by putting salt in when the kiln is its hottest. This creates a clay or gray color. Later Red Wing pottery can be found with a Bristol glaze which gives a more uniform coating. Though the original Red Wing factory shut down in the 1960's, the popularity of this chunky crockery has led to huge upsurge in its demand and the eventual reopening of Red Wing Stoneware in the late 1980's. Today the original owner's family is still operating the company and creating agrarian styles for your table and home.On the other end of the spectrum is the elegant and refined Wedgwood china. The Wedgwood Company was founded by Joseph Wedgwood in England in 1759. He came from a family of potters, but a childhood illness left him unable to operate a traditional potter's wheel. Therefore, he concentrated his efforts on design and modeling. Wedgwood is known for its neo-classical designs and its long line of patterns. Because Wedgwood patterns are rarely discontinued, the owner of a Wedgwood set knows that she can easily replace a cracked or broken dish without disrupting her set. Wedgwood created a number of different styles of crockery, all of which are still available today. Queen's Ware is made of flint and white clay to produce durable but thin china. Black Basalt is fine stoneware that can be etched in a variety of colors. It was originally used to mimic Etruscan-style pottery. Jasper Ware is arguably Joseph Wedgwood's best pottery innovation. It is stoneware that looks delicate but is hardy. It also takes bas reliefs and colors richly and evenly.Though both of these styles of crockery are vastly different, they both fall into the category of antique dishware. Also, because of their immense popularity and timeless design, if you are unable to find Red Wing of Wedgwood at your local antique store, it is possible to purchase new crockery based on the old designs.

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