While finer grades of clay, porcelains and china have been transformed into delicate works of art, the “wares” made in stoneware clay are traditionally utilitarian. A large part of the thrill of stoneware collecting is the discovery of exceptional examples of beauty and graceful form among these common containers.
Red Wing’s factories brought stoneware manufacturing to its high water mark. They were unsurpassed in quality and output, consequently their products enjoy enduring fame and wide distribution.
|Red Wing Jugs Collecting Red Wing jugs is fun! The one stoneware item that fits all collectors’ tastes are jugs. If you like different shapes, then jugs are for you. They come in many different shapes such as the dome top, funnel top, beehive, bailed and more. If you like color, then jugs are for you. They come in light tan (salt glaze), white, brown, and brown/white. If you like different sized items, then jugs are for you. They come in small sizes such as the one-eighth pints to big five-gallon sizes while others are huge – measuring up to fifteen gallons in size. The fifteen-gallon sizes have been affectionately called the “Big Boys”. If you like advertising, then jugs are for you. They have advertising from New York to California and from Canada to Texas. If you like special events, then jugs are for you. Many jugs were made to celebrate and commemorate special events, such as the Minnesota-Michigan football games, convention of physicians, a potters’ excursion and much more. If you like fishing, then jugs are for you. The Red Wing Stoneware Company produced a jug especially for the local fisherman who plied the waters of Lake Pepin. These jugs were designed to help weigh down the nets of the fishermen.Are you convinced that jugs offer a variety of opportunities for all collectors? If so, let’s read on by discussing jug basics. There are two basic shapes, one, a “crock-jug” and two, the “beehive” jug. The beehive jug is technically referred to as a “common” jug. The crock-jug has a crock bottom and an applied top. Typically, they came in six sizes: one quart, one-half gallon, one gallon, two gallons, three gallons, four gallons, and five gallons. The applied tops vary and are referred to as standard, cone, ball, dome, pear, and funnel. To see an example of the various tops refer to the book, Red Wing Stoneware, page 20, top picture. The second basic shape, the beehive, gets its name because of its shape. The early three, four and five gallon jugs were hand-turned and it is not uncommon to see a variance in shape from one jug to another. The smaller sizes (half-gallon, one-gallon, and two-gallon) were molded, thus they remain pretty much the same from one jug to another. Both the crock-jug and the beehives have handles that were applied. A variation of the beehive jug are those that have bailed handles. They were used for liquor, vinegar, and other general uses. Some had wide-mouths and were used for storing fruit and tomatoes. These jugs came in three sizes, quart, half-gallon and gallon. They have a wide variety of shapes and can be found in white, brown, and brown and white. The most difficult color, and by far the most attractive, are those glazed with a blue sponge.
Many collectors like jugs and simply choose to collect whatever they can get their hands on while others decide to collect in a specialized area. Now that the basics have been covered, let us examine different areas in which collectors have chosen to specialize.