On the Water

Stoneware Jug

This two-gallon stoneware jug was made by Calvin Boynton & Co, Troy, New York, about 1826-29. The maker's mark is stamped on the front shoulder above a gaff-rigged sloop in full sail with a banner flying from the masthead and "TROY" marked on the stern.

Two brothers, Jonah and Calvin Boynton, came from Vermont to, at first, become merchants in Albany, New York. The pottery on Washington Street in Troy was first in operation by 1816, but Jonah appears to have abandoned the trade early on, leaving Calvin to continue the stoneware pottery, which was then taken over by Moses Tyler and Charles Dillon in 1826. Calvin Boynton then moved his business to West Troy.

The sailing vessel incised onto the jug was probably a local sloop used in the Hudson River trade and inshore waters. The technique of incised decoration on stoneware, common in the early 19th century, had more or less disappeared by 1840.

The presence of nearby stoneware clays gave rise to the New York state salt-glazed stoneware tradition that, by the early 1800s, developed in villages and towns along the Hudson River. Shipped upriver, the clay returned downstream after being transformed into useful ceramic vessels. With the Erie Canal completion in 1825, stoneware production extended its range to meet the increased flow of perishable goods from the Great Lakes region.

The production of these sturdy salt-glazed containers declined following improvements in tinning and canning perishable foodstuffs. In the late 1850s, the glass Mason canning jar entered the market, after which the potteries lost much of the demand for food storage containers that sustained so much of their production.

ID Number:
Place Made:
New York
ceramic, stoneware, coarse
13 3/4 in; 34.925 cm

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