Friday, August 6, 2010

What is it?

Join us this week as we explore a “what's-it”. We introduced this category in our blog several months ago and decided to revisit.

This household artifact was likely produced from local clay available to potters of the 18th and 19th century who produced ceramic wears identified as redware. The term is applied to earthenware pottery produced from red clays native to south eastern Pennsylvania. The availability of clay and the low firing necessary to produce this ware, made it inexpensive for utility in the household. Pennsylvania Germans produced large quantities of this ceramic type, although only a few known examples of this particular artifact survive today.

This unusual conical shape has straight sloping sides with circular ridges from top to bottom. The exterior surface is not glazed, but the interior “well” is glazed which provides a smooth surface. There is a small opening just above the base. It’s size is relatively small, average size of examples found are four inches high and six inches deep.

Please post your best guess and check back next week to learn more about this interesting object.

For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .


  1. Water purifier? Stones could be layered to a height above the hole. Water poured into the top of the vessel, runs through the stones and out the hole.

  2. A spittoon for a post that makes me want to spit.
    A few points: It's "wares" not "wears" and "18th and 19th" are plural, therefore you should have written "18th and 19th centuries".

    If you are trying to educate people, write more cautiously or at least let someone with a high school diploma edit your posts.

  3. Anonymous, thank you for participating. Your corrections are welcome, however your tone is a bit harsh. We at TWIPA, as humans, make mistakes from time to time, and will continue to strive for gramatical perfection in future posts. Have a great day.

  4. Karen, thanks for the comment. A water purifier is a good guess, but not quite on the mark. We'll post the answer this Friday. I'm sure the suspense is "bugging" all our readers.