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Three Butter Crocks
by Steve and Karen Stone
with thanks to Jerry Tebano and
Dr. Duane “Doc’s Crocks” Watson
This article discusses three butter crocks, the Chicken Wire with Daisy Garland, the Plume and Lattice, and the Pansies. Two are the same size and each is decorated with individually distinctive embossed designs. However, they all share the unique feature of a strap handle applied within a recess in the lid; the lid sits on top the crock rather than a shelf on the inside or overlapping shoulder design.
Combined, these similarities (especially the lid with strap handle) suggest these three crocks were produced by the same pottery at about the same time. Although embossed differently they have a strong visual similarity, much like the familial similarities of cousins.
One day a pottery company product catalog, bulletin, flier, or pamphlet may turn up that, with luck, will illustrate one or all three of these butters, and the production mystery will be solved.
Green and Cream Chicken Wire with Daisy Garland Butter Crock
This green and cream (or yellowware) butter crock is decorated with a unique Chicken Wire and Daisy Garland pattern. It measures 5-1/4 inches tall with a diameter of 7-1/4 inches; there are no holes or ears to attach a handle.
Dating to around the early 1900's, the clay and glaze of this crock are indicative of the many potteries in business in the Great Ohio Valley at that time; however the maker of this piece is presently unknown.
Two rows of spear points encircle the crock’s top rim, the body of the piece features a distinctive chicken wire background, with a garland of daisies encircling the middle.
The lid sets flush on the top rim, repeats the daisy garland decoration, and is complimented with a strap handle neatly nestled within a recessed area.
In 40+ years collecting stoneware we’ve seen no more than a very few of these crocks, all green and cream, and it would not be incorrect to determine it as extremely scarce. It would not be surprising to find it in other colors, such as blue & white, yellow, green, brown, and possibly white among others.
A Green and Cream Pansies butter holder is illustrated in the very excellent book by Terry Taylor and Terry & Kay Lowrance, 1996 (2001), Collector's Encyclopedia of Salt Glaze Stoneware. (page 120, bottom).
Another Pansies butter has turned up, this one in pale blue and white. The dimensions of the blue and white, and green and cream are identical, 4 inches tall and 6 inches wide, and both are furnished with the strap handle within a recessed area of the lid.
Although the manufacturer of this Pansies butter is presently unknown the glaze and clay are indicative of stoneware production in the early 1900's by one of the many potteries located in the Great Ohio Valley where access to good quality clay deposits was readily available.
Examples of this Pansies butter are also known to be colored a very deep, strong cobalt blue. It would not be surprising to find this butter in other colors such as brown, solid green or completely yellowware, or some other color or color combination.
Blue and White, Green and Cream Plume with Trellis Butter Crock
This blue and white butter crock is decorated with a repeating plume around its middle which is bordered top and bottom with a trellis. This crock is 4 inches tall with a diameter of 5-1/2 inches; there are no holes or ears to attach a handle.
Dating to around the early 1900's, the clay and glaze of this crock are indicative of many of the potteries in business in the Great Ohio Valley at that time; however, the maker of this piece is presently unknown.
The lid, which sets flush on the top rim, is highlighted by two narrow rows of dashes near the outer rim, then a narrow undecorated band follows. The strap handle is nestled within the recessed center, which itself is bordered by a band of dots and dashes.
This butter could be determined as extremely scarce; in 40+ years looking for and collecting blue and white stoneware this is the only blue and white example we’ve seen.
As the finishing touches were applied to this article a green and cream version of this Plume and Trellis butter was found. (Never rains but it pours, eh?)
Although we’ve seen this crock only in blue and white, and, now green and cream, it would not be surprising to find it in other colors such as green, yellow, brown, and possibly white among others.
AN ANTIDOTAL NOTE: In our searches, Karen and I tend to purchase orphan lids whenever possible. If the lid is in good condition and reasonably priced we’ll usually pick it up, even if we don’t know what goes under it.
At least 20 or more years ago at a little hole-in-the-all second hand shop in California we found this solo blue and white Plume with Trellis lid. We had never seen one before and had no idea what it went to but we were confident we would know the correct bottom when we saw it. Fast forward more than 20 years to a month or so ago and FLASH!! There it was. We knew the instant we saw it here was the crock for our orphan lid ... mystery solved. The lid and crock match perfectly (color intensity and mold crispness), the lid fit, and a beautiful set was once again taking its rightful place in the Blue & White world!