Vintage Pottery Jugs

Vintage pottery jugs provide us with an opportunity to revisit the work of the talented craftsmen who developed techniques in pottery that are still in use today. The jugs and crocks that were turned out in large numbers are still being used although the numbers have greatly diminished. Not only are these jugs useful as containers today, they are also very valuable as decorative pieces that can help to set the tone of a room.

Antique stoneware jugs are an essential part of American history with the pottery developed using local clays that have been fired at very high temperatures. The jugs that were produced were widely used across the country as valuable liquid storage for anything from water, milk, cider and liquor. But there are many other types of vintage jugs that are stunning pieces and well worth tracking down.

When buying vintage pottery jugs, there are a number of ways of determining the value and the age of each piece. The date of manufacture was rarely inscribed on the early pieces with jugs produced by a wide range of potters to meet growing demands.

Clues to the age of certain jugs can be determined in a variety of ways such as looking at the shape of the jug, the detail that went into the handles or the glaze that was used to finish them.

The preference in jug shapes changed as time passed with the earlier jugs tending to be made in an ovoid shape before gradually becoming more bulbous. The more rounded jugs then developed into jugs that were made with flatter sides. Developments in technology also helped to change the shape of jugs as more exact tools were used to craft each jug into a more precise looking shape.

The detail that was put into jugs can also help to identify its age. Very generally speaking, jugs that are more detailed with special designs and obvious attention to detail, the earlier the piece. This is due to the fact that the earlier jugs were made before the days of mass production that was required due to the growing demands of competition. As more jugs were required to be made faster, less skilled craftsmen were used to create standard looking jugs to get them out for sale as quickly as possible.

When looking for very early jugs, they will become obvious due to the extra detail that is put into parts such as the handles, the rim and the overall shape. Small marks in the lip or the base of the jug can indicate an era that the distinguishing feature is more likely to be added. Company imprints were used as identifiers but this was not commonly used until relatively late in the 19th century.

The progression of glazes used to finish pottery jugs can be a good indicator of when they were made. Whether the jug was completed with an alkaline glaze, a salt glaze or a slip glaze can point to where it was made as well as when. As an example, alkaline glazes were used extensively in the early 1800s through until around the turn of the century. The process was a time consuming one and when the competition increased potters looked for alternative ways to seal their jugs.

There are other ways that will give general clues about the age and the origins of certain antique pottery jugs. Marking, variations in design and manufacture and general wear of the jug can also help as a guide. If you are going to buy vintage pottery jugs you will soon develop an understanding of what to look for and what to ignore.

Collectible Whiskey Jugs

Pottery jugs were popularly used by distilleries to hold whiskey in larger quantities and these jugs were imprinted with markings to identify the maker. These jugs have now become valuable collector items for both those who admire fine pottery as well as those with a historical interest in the whiskey industry.

These collectible whiskey jugs trace the progression of the use of pottery though the years as well as the progress of each company who used them. From small half pint jugs to large 5 gallon jugs any that bear the logo of a favored company is given due consideration. Look for company branded jugs such as the McCormick Platte Valley whiskey jugs or the Henry McKenna whiskey jugs.

For a vintage pottery jug with a real difference and a look that will add a dash of humor to the home you should consider adding a folk art pottery face jug to the room. These southern American iconic jugs are ugly and beautifully constructed at the same time. Another range of very collectible jugs and crocks are available from The Western Stoneware Company

Buying vintage pottery jugs can be a very rewarding pastime, both as a way of adding attractive pieces to your collection that can be admired and enjoyed for their appearance, but also as a potential investment.

Decorate With Stoneware Whiskey Jugs

A great way to add old-style ambiance to a room is to place objects that were popular in the past, particularly items that may not have been considered to be decorative items. One such example is the stoneware whiskey jugs. Those old-style pottery jugs that are synonymous with whiskey and moonshine and the illicit manufacture of alcohol.

These jugs are iconic in appearance, certainly very distinctive and remain very useful as liquid containers. Placing one or more in the kitchen provides rustic charm to the room, but not only that, it also provides you with more storage that is just a little unusual.

These pottery jugs can be found by searching under the names stoneware whiskey jugs, stoneware shoulder jugs, moonshine jugs, gallon jugs or simply pottery jugs. They were very common in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century and the more recognisable are the ones that were glazed a dark brown at the top and pale on the bottom.

These pottery jugs are made from white clay and fired at high temperatures to form a nonporous vessel suitable for storing liquids. The exterior of the jugs are glazed using a method known as salt-glazing in which common salt is used in the firing process.

They are study pieces and many of have survived through the years to become extremely collectible and useful objects in the home. While they are synonymous with the liquor industry, particularly the illegal liquor industry, they remain very useful vessels that are capable of holding all types of liquids.

Anyone who is attempting to decorate a room in a rustic style that uses pieces that were of little value or were commonly seen in everyday life in the US would have to have a stoneware jug as part of the landscape. They are instantly recognizable due to their shape, size and the colors with which they were glazed.

Stoneware crocks and jugs were made in a range of sizes and the shapes varied slightly from the stout to the more streamlined versions. It is possible to find antique stoneware jugs with capacities ranging anywhere from 1 quart right up to 30 gallons. The most commonly seen are the half-gallon and gallon jugs.

It was not common practice for manufacturers to stamp or incise markings to indicate makers name or year of manufacture until around the 1860s. In some cases it may be possible to find jugs that have some identifying markings inscribed on the base that will give a clue as to what company manufactured it. Later jugs were stamped with identifying information, helping out those who would come later and want to collect these iconic pieces of history. Two such companies that have produced whiskey jugs that have become popular collectors items are McCormick Platte Valley Whiskey Company and the Henry McKenna Company both of whose jugs are available for sale by following the links.

Closely related to the whiskey jugs and just as keenly sought after by collectors are stoneware ginger beer bottles. These bottles were made during the 19th century and represent a huge slice of stoneware pottery that was manufactured at the time. Some of the ginger beer bottles that were made during the years of the 19th century to the early 20th century are very decorative and well worth tracking down.

Take this opportunity to browse through the selection of jugs for sale:

Moonshine Jugs
Stoneware Whiskey Jugs

Kentucky Whiskey Jugs

The long and successful Kentucky whiskey industry has resulted in the creation of a number of fine storage containers. Kentucky whisky jugs are part of the history of the industry and they also present a great opportunity to buy fine collectible examples.

Displayed below is a selection of fine Kentucky whiskey jugs, with the vast majority of them having been made out of stoneware pottery. They are available in a range of sizes and feature the plain white stoneware exterior with cobalt blue writing and illustrated design.

Kentucky Whiskey Jugs For Sale



Vintage Stoneware Whiskey Jug Henry McKenna Fairfield Kentucky Nelson
Vintage Stoneware Whiskey Jug Henry McKenna Fairfield Kentucky Nelson
$20.00
Time Remaining: 3h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $20.00

PSALE KENTUCKY HENRY MCKENNA STONEWARE 4 5 QUART WHISKEY DECANTER JUG with CORK
PSALE KENTUCKY HENRY MCKENNA STONEWARE 4 5 QUART WHISKEY DECANTER JUG with CORK
$14.99
Time Remaining: 5h 16m
Buy It Now for only: $14.99

Vintage Rare Kentucky Whiskey Jugs Salt  Pepper Shakers
Vintage Rare Kentucky Whiskey Jugs Salt Pepper Shakers
$20.00
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $20.00

Vintage Glenmore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Jug 4 5 Quart
Vintage Glenmore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Jug 4 5 Quart
$9.99
Time Remaining: 1d 13h 49m

VTG Glenmore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Jug Bottle Stoneware 1942
VTG Glenmore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Jug Bottle Stoneware 1942
$9.90
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 48m

Vintage Henry McKenna 4 5 Qt Whiskey Jug Kentucky Cork Stopper
Vintage Henry McKenna 4 5 Qt Whiskey Jug Kentucky Cork Stopper
$19.99
Time Remaining: 2d 6h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $19.99

HENRY MCKENNA STONEWARE 4 5 QUART WHISKEY DECANTER JUG with CORK KENTUCKY
HENRY MCKENNA STONEWARE 4 5 QUART WHISKEY DECANTER JUG with CORK KENTUCKY
$3.99
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 24m

VINTAGE HENRY MCKENNA STONEWARE JUG FOR HANDMADE KENTUCKY WHISKEY 1 2 GALLON
VINTAGE HENRY MCKENNA STONEWARE JUG FOR HANDMADE KENTUCKY WHISKEY 1 2 GALLON
$32.00
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $32.00

ca1880 1890 IW HARPER NELSON CO KENTUCKY WHISKEY HANDLED STONEWARE JUG
ca1880 1890 IW HARPER NELSON CO KENTUCKY WHISKEY HANDLED STONEWARE JUG
$82.00 (16 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 11h 27m



One of the most common maker’s jugs that is available is the selection from Henry McKenna. It is possible to find all kinds of Henry McKenna jugs in sizes such as half gallon, three-quarter gallon and full gallon. These whiskey jugs all held the liquor when it was sold from the distillery.

These containers are now highly collectible items, particularly the jugs that have been inscribed with the whiskey maker’s name and the year in which it was released. Collectors should become familiar with the distinctive markings that have been applied to the early whiskey jugs if they are to collect them based on the years in which they were first used or on the manufacturer who used them.

If you are particularly interested in the history of Kentucky whiskey making and the containers in which they were distributed, the selection of jugs available should prove to be very interesting indeed. The use of Kentucky bourbon jugs provided the early customers with an attractive storage method, although they were eventually replaced by bottles as a matter of convenience.

We have provided further resources dealing with the various types of whiskey jugs or moonshine jugs as they were sometimes referred to. You can read about ways of decorating with stoneware whiskey jugs or you can buy a stoneware whisky jug. For something a bit different you whould look at the range of pottery face jugs for sale too.

Buy A Stoneware Whiskey Jug

Add some character to the home with a Stoneware whiskey jug placed on display in the dining room or on the kitchen bench. Finding antique whiskey jugs for sale can be a very rewarding pastime and their placement in a room as a feature or accent piece can help set the tone very nicely.

Antique Stoneware whiskey jugs are tremendous examples of old style pottery that is both instantly recognisable and a great way to celebrate history. These antique jugs will provide a decorative touch to a room that is decorated in a more rustic style. Browse through the range of Stoneware whiskey jugs for sale below.

Buy A Stoneware Whiskey Jug

 



ANTIQUE PRIMITIVE COUNTRY USA AKRON CROWN ART STONEWARE WHISKY BOTTLE JUG CROCK
ANTIQUE PRIMITIVE COUNTRY USA AKRON CROWN ART STONEWARE WHISKY BOTTLE JUG CROCK
$195.00
Time Remaining: 32m
Buy It Now for only: $195.00

Antique Brown Stoneware Beehive Moonshine Whiskey Jug
Antique Brown Stoneware Beehive Moonshine Whiskey Jug
$40.00
Time Remaining: 1h 38m

Vintage 60s Munros King of Kings Scotch Whisky Stoneware DECANTER pottery jug
Vintage 60s Munros King of Kings Scotch Whisky Stoneware DECANTER pottery jug
$49.99
Time Remaining: 1h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $49.99

Vintage SNUFFY SMITH COMIC Stoneware Whiskey Jug Piggy Bank Souvenir of ChattTN
Vintage SNUFFY SMITH COMIC Stoneware Whiskey Jug Piggy Bank Souvenir of ChattTN
$50.00
Time Remaining: 2h 55m
Buy It Now for only: $50.00

ESTATES VINTAGE JACK DANIELS JUG TENNESSEE WHISKY STONEWARE TWO TONE Old No 7
ESTATES VINTAGE JACK DANIELS JUG TENNESSEE WHISKY STONEWARE TWO TONE Old No 7
$65.00
Time Remaining: 3h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $65.00

Phi Delta Theta Toga Party 1978 Stoneware Crock USA Qt Whiskey Jug Brown Tan
Phi Delta Theta Toga Party 1978 Stoneware Crock USA Qt Whiskey Jug Brown Tan
$14.99
Time Remaining: 3h 8m

4 Gallon Antique Beehive Salt Glaze Cobalt Blue Decorated Stoneware Whiskey Jug
4 Gallon Antique Beehive Salt Glaze Cobalt Blue Decorated Stoneware Whiskey Jug
$224.71
Time Remaining: 3h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $224.71

Vintage Stoneware Whiskey Jug Henry McKenna Fairfield Kentucky Nelson
Vintage Stoneware Whiskey Jug Henry McKenna Fairfield Kentucky Nelson
$20.00
Time Remaining: 3h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $20.00

Vintage Stoneware Crock Jug Moonshine Whiskey 12 appx almost 11 lb
Vintage Stoneware Crock Jug Moonshine Whiskey 12 appx almost 11 lb
$76.99
Time Remaining: 4h 46m
Buy It Now for only: $76.99

Vintage Stoneware Crock Jug Widemouth Moonshine Whiskey appx 95 5lb 11oz
Vintage Stoneware Crock Jug Widemouth Moonshine Whiskey appx 95 5lb 11oz
$54.99
Time Remaining: 4h 46m
Buy It Now for only: $54.99

Vintage Stoneware Crock Jug Moonshine Whiskey appx 7 3lb 4oz
Vintage Stoneware Crock Jug Moonshine Whiskey appx 7 3lb 4oz
$39.99
Time Remaining: 4h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $39.99

Vintage Platte Valley Stoneware Crock Jug Corn Whiskey Small 5 c1953
Vintage Platte Valley Stoneware Crock Jug Corn Whiskey Small 5 c1953
$39.99
Time Remaining: 4h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $39.99



Finding items to use as decorative touches in the home can be difficult, particularly if you aren’t sure exactly what the final effect will look like. Using a Stoneware whiskey jug is an imaginative way to add a rustic return to a previous time to the room. Not only do these jugs provide interest and charm they can be used as a vessel to hold liquids.

Placing a range of stoneware whiskey jugs of differing sizes on the kitchen bench as a display feature is sure to add a great deal of character to the room. The type of jugs that many people consider to be the typical looking stoneware whiskey jugs are properly described as two-toned stoneware featuring a slip top and glazed bottom.

Take some care when buying these old-style jugs that they are in good condition and that there are no cracks in the surface. A jug that is in fine or better condition will provide a valuable piece that will be more than a decorative item.

There is a tremendous amount of history behind the manufacture and use of old stoneware whiskey jugs from the early storage days to their use in the manufacture of illicit moonshine during prohibition. The early 20th century whiskey jugs provide some of the most collectible jugs available and they make terrific decorative features for placement around the kitchen or dining room or in use as water jugs.

Collectors of stoneware should not be able to go past some of the gorgeous old jugs that can be picked up for very reasonable prices. Not only will they look good in your home but the process of picking up pottery whiskey jugs can also provide you with some very interesting insights into the history of the whiskey industry in the country.

The early stoneware whiskey jugs were not actually used for storing or transporting whiskey. In fact, they were used as promotional tools as a means of marketing the products. Free promotional whiskey jugs were used to serve water as a mixer and the advertising that was placed on the side meant that these jugs became the decorative whiskey jugs that are now very popular decorative items.

Although there are quite a lot of different types of whiskey jugs produced by some of the more important pottery manufacturers, the practice of collecting them did not really take off until more recent times. It is now recognised that decorating with old whiskey jugs, particularly those that have been given an attractive finish with either a distinctive or colourful design, is a great way of adding to the look of an area.

Certain types of jugs may be very distinctive and could be easily spotted as a more valuable jug, something that other people might overlook. As a quick example it is very likely that if you spot a white antique whiskey jug with blue writing it could be a Henry McKenna whiskey jug. As far as antique whiskey jugs go these jugs do not necessarily cost a great deal of money but their decorative and historical value is quite strong.

An interesting variation on what might be considered to be the classical stoneware whiskey jug is a jug that is known either as a horseshoe stoneware jug or a Stiles Jug. You can read more about these types of jugs on our Horseshoe Stoneware Jug page.

Notable and Collectable Whiskey Jugs

There are many ways to go about collecting whiskey jugs and, ultimately, it is going to be up to your personal preferences for what you feel is pleasing to the eye or important. Described below are a few different variations of the stoneware whiskey jug, some of them are specific to a particular manufacturer and others are more descriptive of a whiskey jug style.

Beehive Style Whiskey Jug

The beehive jug is an early stoneware design that was used by a number of pottery companies to provide substantial liquid storage. It is probably more common to find these jugs in 3 gallon, 4 gallon and 5 gallon sizes although they were also regularly made in gallon sizes too. The beehive jugs were usually hand turned and this meant that it is quite common to see a slight variance in size from one to the other.

The beehive jug is a solid looking stoneware jug that provided a durable container that also kept its contents nice and cool for long periods of time. They were often given a salt glaze or a dark brown glaze with the occasional jug provided with a more decorative finish of some kind of painted feature.

Beehive jugs make extremely attractive decorative vessels for placement in places such as a fireplace mantel, the windowsill or as a feature placed on the floor, perhaps with a dried flower arrangement coming out of the top. Even if they are left unadorned they can look very impressive.

An example of a beehive jug that has become very popular with collectors is the Red Wing jug. Red Wing beehive jugs were available in sets of three different sizes – three, four and five gallon linked together by the design that was used on the front. We have created a separate post that provides more information about Red Wing Stoneware Jugs.

RCP Co Akron Ohio Stoneware Jugs

The jugs that you might see marked as RCP Co. Akron Ohio were made by Robinson Clay Products Co. in the early 1900s. Some of the jugs made by RCP Co. have a distinctive blue and white band around the pale salt glazed body of the jug. Others feature the more usual bi-tone dark brown glazed top and white body that is more synonymous with a whiskey jug. The markings of these jugs are stamped on the bottom identifying them as from R.C.P. Co. Some of these jugs are the types of old collectible jugs that are fascinating to research because much of it will involve the development and history of the company itself.

Detrick Distilling Stoneware Jugs

There are some very interesting whiskey jugs that originated from the Detrick Distilling Co. The company was first operated as a milling company from 1884 before turning to the business of distilling the grain and selling it as liquor. The company became known as the Detrick Milling and Distilling Company and operated until 1919 out of Tippecanoe City, Ohio.

There are still a sizable number of Detrick whiskey jugs in circulation today and the most famous are the 4-1/2” stoneware motto jugs that feature a common toast or slogan emblazoned on the side. An example of what these small jugs look like is pictured over there on the right. There are twelve of these mini whiskey jugs featuring the following mottos:

"As I go up the hill of prosperity, may I never meet a friend."
"Eat, drink and be merry."
"While we live, let's live."
"May fortune ever smile on you."
"To err is human, to forgive divine."
"There's always more from where I came."
"I am always welcome wherever I go."
"A friend in need is a friend indeed."
"When you see me you will always smile."
"If you try me once you will try me again."
"Drink weary Pilgrim, for tomorrow you may die."
"Rye on Toast."

The following is a selection of the various different types of whiskey jug manufacturers that you may want to consider when buying a stoneware jug: Ohio stoneware whiskey jugs, Glenmore whiskey jugs, McCormick Platte Valley whiskey jugs, Henry McKenna whiskey jugs, The Western Company crocks and jugs.

Alternatively you might be looking for a stoneware jug in a specific size. The most common sizes found include 1 gallon jugs, 2 gallon jugs, 3 gallon jugs, 4 gallon jugs and 5 gallon jugs.