Pawley Kiln Stonewares
The Pawley Kiln of Baltimore (1838-1845) produced utilitarian stoneware vessels for food production and storage. No maker’s marks have been noted on the Pawley stoneware recovered during the 1996 kiln excavation (Sanders and Williams 1998:88).
Pawley Kiln (18BC88) was the site of James Pawley’s stoneware pottery kiln, formerly located near the corner of Cross and Russell Streets in Baltimore’s Camden Yards area (Kuranda et al. 1992, Sanders and Williams 1998). Only in operation between 1838 and 1845, this pottery produced basic utilitarian stoneware vessels that were sold at Mr. Pawley’s retail and wholesale outlets in Baltimore. Pawley Kiln was a small, individually-owned, single kiln pottery and represented one of the earliest non-mechanized industrial enterprises in the Camden Yards area during the 19th century.
Pawley stonewares have a hard, impermeable body with low porosity. The paste is gray. With the exception of molded tobacco pipes, Pawley stoneware vessels were all wheel-thrown and display concentric potting lines on vessel interiors (Sanders and Williams 1998:85). Strap handles were typical on pitchers, while crescent-shaped lug or ear handles were added to the shoulders of crocks or jars (Sanders and Williams 1998:87).
Salt glazing was the most prevalent form of glaze used for Pawley kiln stonewares, resulting in the characteristic dimpled surface on vessel exteriors. Wide-mouthed vessels, such as bowls, pans and crocks were also salt glazed on interior surfaces. No slips appear to have been used on vessel exteriors, resulting in a grey exterior vessel color.
The interiors of more narrow-mouthed vessels were sometimes coated with brown clay slip or an iron oxide wash. This treatment was commonly used on vessels with salt glazed exteriors, in order to create an impermeable interior surface (Greer 1981:197).
Decorative motifs used on Pawley stoneware had a limited period of production and can serve as temporal markers for other sites, as well as help to document regional trade and mercantile networks. Twenty distinct decorative techniques, including incised, painted, and trailed motifs, were present on the ceramics from Pawley Kiln. Potters used simple painted cobalt floral decorations on larger vessels, such as pans, jars, crocks, and pitchers, while smaller flasks and bottles (base diameters of less than 3 inches) were undecorated. Cobalt tulips were the most commonly used motif, while waves, dots, feathers, and dashes also appeared. Table 1 lists the most common painted motifs on Pawley Kiln stoneware, along with the vessel forms on which each motif type is most likely to appear. Figures 1 to 3 depict typical cobalt decorations produced at the Pawley kiln.
Table 1 . Painted motifs on Pawley stoneware
|| Vessel Forms
| Painted tulips
|| Larger pitchers, 2 to 3 gallon crocks and jars, jugs, pans, larger bottles
| Painted floral
|| Crocks, jars, pitchers
| Painted swags/waves
|| Jars, pitchers, crock lids
| Painted dots
|| Jars, pitchers, crock lids
| Painted feathers
| Painted leaf
|| Bottles with base diameters <3”, flasks
Some vessels display incising, which falls into two categories. Crocks, jugs and jars were sometimes incised with gallon markings in Arabic numerals; these marks were probably created with a metal or carved wooden stamp. Other vessels had been incised with concentric circles adjacent to painted rim decorations.
Vessel forms recovered during the excavations included pitchers, pans/bowls, jars, jugs, bottles, flasks and butterpots. Bottles were produced in a variety of sizes and may have been used for a variety of liquids, including beer, ginger beer, ink and blacking (Sanders and Williams 1998:123). Molded stoneware tobacco pipes were also produced at the Pawley Kiln. Figures 4 to 6 illustrate vessel forms and rim profiles produced by the Pawley kiln.
Note: All black and white figures in this essay are from Sanders and Williams (1998).