We are avid watchers of the show “The Curse of Oak Island”, a reality show which documents the efforts to search for historical artifacts and treasure and find the speculated treasure or historical artifacts believed to be on Oak Island. Recent findings included a button, wood, a cross and some pottery, and everyone gets very excited over these finds.
As potato farmers, we find a lot of clues as to who lived here before us. Things appear when the land is worked up, potatoes are dug up, items founds when potatoes are graded.
Today this piece of pottery or stoneware was found by my husband, while getting the fields ready for planting. It is about 5mm in thickness, quite heavy, and the maker’s mark is about the size of a quarter.
Nowadays, with the help of the internet, we have such an easy access to information and knowledge and it only took a few minutes to find out where this piece of pottery originated.
Hanley was the most populous town in North Staffordshire, England, and generally described as the capital of the Potteries.
According to the 1893 trade directory, the Clementson Brothers made white, granite and printed goods such as dinner, tea and toilet ware, as well as plain and printed semi-porcelain.
According to the North Staffordshire Pottery Marks this mark (Circular band with Phoenix above) was used circa 1870 and later.
see also Book of Pottery Marks : William Percival Jervis
This shard of pottery tells us where and roughly when it was originally created.
However, it does not tell us what piece of pottery it was, whether a chamber pot, a platter, a pitcher, part of dinner set or another piece.
It also does not tell us how it came to be in the potato field – how did it make its way to Prince Edward Island.
One can only imagine :).
Clementson Bros. was a manufacturer of earthenwares at Phoenix and Bell Works, Shelton, Hanley, c.1865-1916. Joseph Clementson was born in 1794. In 1856 he bought the former Ridgway Bell Works in Hanley, Staffordshire, England and operated it in conjunction with his nearby Phoenix Works. He catered to the American markets and his answer to the Tea Leaf craze was his original “Coffeeberry” design – perhaps his tribute to those who preferred coffee as a beverage rather than the highly touted tea from China. The designs varied: some had as few as eleven little berries and very sharply serrated leaves while others had as many as eighteen hanging berries and rounded leaf edges. In 1867 he turned the business over to his four sons who carried on as Clementson Brothers from 1872 to 1916.
Nineteenth century pioneers favored heavy practical dishware that would stand long moves by river boats, heavy wagons or trains. Dishes had to withstand countless washings using homemade lye soap. Most American housewives followed fashions set by their English sisters – from pewter to yellowware, to cream colored Queensware, to multicolored Staffordshire, and finally plain white ironstone. Tea Leaf caught the ladies’ fancy because it was simple white, yet had elegant shapes, copper lustre added color, it was durable, and it was cheap. It is said Mary Todd Lincoln used Tea Leaf in the White House, but it was not the fancy china of lace-covered tables; instead it was used in the modest homes of farmers, miners, millers and country people across America. Undecorated white ironstone was first patented by Charles James Mason in England in 1813 and English potter Anthony Shaw created the original Tea Leaf motif in the 1850s. Due to its sturdiness and affordability Tea Leaf decorated ironstone was made into everything from tea cups to chamber pots.
From 1875 to 1900 Tea Leaf was the most popular pattern made. By 1900 at least 25 English potters had produced their own variations of Tea Leaf and perhaps 12 American contempories tried to get a share of the market. English Tea Leaf was sent to the U.S. by the shipload. It was packed in barrels and distributed throughout the country by the cheapest method possible. Tea Leaf was used as ballast in ships landing along the Atlantic Coast. After discharging the dishware they loaded with cotton, wood, tobacco. Thus the Tea Leaf ballast made the trip more profitable than using & dumping rocks as ballast. After 25-30 years Tea Leaf went out of style and was not shown in catalogs after 1910
For now we can say:
A piece of pottery ????
Found in a potato field ?????
in Rustico ?????