This salt-glazed stoneware jug was made by Chatham County potter Nicholas Fox between 1830 and 1850. The jug is stamped with both the potter’s name “N. FOX” and Masonic symbols. Fox's pottery was characterized by the inscribed bands seen on this jug, as well as a thumb or finger print at the handle.
Salt glazing was a technique used by stoneware potters to create a glassy surface. Salt glazing required firing the pottery at a high temperature that resulted in the clay becoming non-porous. This, combined with the salt glazing, meant that potters did not have to apply a glaze to the interior of the vessel. It could hold liquids and not seep, unlike earthenware storage vessels.
Nicholas Fox (1797-1858) and his family migrated from Pennsylvania to Chatham County, North Carolina, in the late 18th century. Fox and other family members became established potters in the area and trained other potters, most notably Nathaniel H. Dixon and John and Henry Vestal.
The jug is in the collection of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem. You can find additional photos and information on the Museum's website. https://mesda.org/item/collections/jug/1705/
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