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: