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Compared to redware, stoneware was made from finer, denser, nonporous clays and was fired at a higher temperature of about 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. Stoneware dates back to the 1500s in Europe. The production of stoneware in America began in the late 1770s and was in general use by the early 1800s. Fine stoneware clays were found in northern New Jersey and were shipped to potteries in New England and New York. The potters of western Pennsylvania, the Middle West and the South had large quantities of fine local stoneware clays. Stoneware largely replaced redware for commercial and household use. It was more durable, easier to clean and could withstand extremes in temperature. The toxic lead glazes used for redware were replaced by salt glazing. Sodium chloride, thrown into the kiln at its highest temperature, vaporized and combined with the silica in the clay to produce a glaze. The salt glaze was not smooth or bright and had an “orange-peel” texture and appearance. The interior of a piece was often coated with the brown Albany slip glaze before firing. The various local clays used or added to imported clays gave a wide variety in color to the stoneware. Shades of gray, cream, buff, yellow or brown can be found. Because cobalt could withstand the high firing temperature of stoneware, potters used a slip of cobalt salts to decorate there pieces. The result was a clear, bright blue decoration. Slight variations in color can be found due to different firing temperatures and the local source of the cobalt. Free-form cobalt decorations were slip-trailed or brushed onto the piece. Stenciling was also used. Incised and applied molded decorations can be found. These techniques were also used to mark the capacity of a piece. Unlike redware, stoneware was often signed by the potter and incised with the maker’s name.

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