Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Junkin' Finds:Someone's Granny's Yelloware Bowl


I snagged this unmarked McCoy bowl at a Savers store on Saturday for $6.99.  Crazier things happen, but this was a find for the slim pickings of after Christmas thrift store shopping. It's in pretty good shape with no chips except for the manufacturing flaws...which it has a bunch of.

This OLD bowl is quite ornate, from the Ohio Valley, and considered Yellow Ware, or sometimes described as butterscotch for it's darker color. The ornate rim was a result of clay being turned into a mold on a wheel.


The bandings vary on these OLD McCoy bowls...this particular design came in sizes of 5" to 17". This bowl is a whopping 12"and I have found very few floating around the internet right now this large. It definitely needs a good cleaning, but first I wanted to show you close up, it's attributes and it's negatives.

Last Fall I did an extensive post on vintage Stoneware and Earthenware mixing bowls from my husband's and my Grandmothers, HERE.


I'm not actually a collector, but they say when you have three....LOL. My mom collected everything and I was a stoneware potter for 35 years and have always had an interest in clay pottery.

The large bowl on the right was  Grandmother's baking bowl most probably McCoy. These were simple banded cream colored bowls made from the 1930's to the early 1960's. Marks on the bottom help to date them.

My NEW OLD bowl in a close-up shows the the detail from the mold, the edges are quite crisp and clean, the top rim is unglazed and probably had been waxed to repell the dipped glaze.


It really is large, just short of 12" wide. Perfect for mixing baking.


The bowl is simply marked USA  on the squared bottom, this design is most attributed to McCoy, and prior to 1930.  Surprisingly the foot of the bowl shown is also glazed, meaning the pot was fired on its rim or stilted (pronged-high temperature stilts) on the inside as there are no stilt marks on this foot. (small pinhloles in the glaze usually 3 or 4)

The bowl's clay body is a deep yellow/tan stoneware with multiple imperfections resulting in glaze flaws and clay impurities typical of utilitarian wares of that period. Usually these do not detract from the value.

Early yellow wares were made in England, and later potteries throughout the Ohio River Valley began producing yellow-bodied wares with clear glazes and banding from the 1840's on. However, American potteries produced only 40% of the US market's needs in the mid to late 1800's.


This shape with the banding and the rim...has what is called a draped-square bottom. Here you can see the draping in the raised relief pattern ending at the foot, which are perfect design details for a cottage style home.


I do love the proportions of this piece. the smaller ones are quite angular and those larger than 12" become wide and squat.



Let's Look and See!

This piece has lots of manufacturing flaws, here is a faint (center up) criss-cross crack under the glaze, probably occurring before the clay was bone-dry by being bumped from the inside. As the pot fired in the kiln, it expanded opening the fissure, glaze filled in and sealed the surface when it cooled making it water tight.


Here's another type of flaw. On the point of the fourth triangle from the left---has a bare-spot, where the glaze was rubbed-off bare before firing, this doesn't effect the use of the bowl, as the underside of the rim is also bare, probably from being waxed prior to glazing and it has been fired to a high temperature, and the outside doesn't come in contact with food.


On the edge here is a ding caused before glazing--a scrape if you will --not detrimental in anyway to the use of the bowl and considered a manufacturing flaw.

 The inside is another story though.


The small L shape mark at 6 o'clock---is the bump that caused the criss-cross outside, and it has begun to craze making the bowl vulnerable because whatever has been in the bowl, can seep into those discolored fissures. Eventually this will expand and contract if the bowl is subject to heat and cold---so best not to use this bowl for any hot or cold food preparations or storage.  There are several other pit holes, here and there.

The three round flaws in the bottom are most likely clay impurities pushing out of the clay body causing an eruption of sorts or from pinhole stiltmarks that have deteriorated. This happens over time in old pieces and is sometimes called pings or blisters, but around these are more unsound fissures and crazing, opening the bowl to 'storing' bacteria or moisture within the walls. Since glazes were lead-based in this pottery, it would be unwise to use this particular piece for any food prep and definitely not for baking. In unsound glazed surfaces, the lead may leach out.

Intereting tid-bit...if you ping the side of yelloware--if it rings...it's supposedly British, if it thuds--it's American. This will help in narrowing down some of the early wares, however---thudding can also mean the piece has a crack or flaw.
Am I disappointed on closer inspection, no---mine is still a gem and I will REDO and use it to keep rolls warm with a towel or cloth. I think fruits can be stored in it or maybe even a flowering plant placed inside.

I will give it a good scrubbing and will try one of the methods recommended here: cleaning your pottery.

One of many interesting sites on McCoy is this, McCoy Pottery Collector's Society site. 
There isn't a lot of information on this piece of early McCoy, but it is still informative reading.

Martha Stewart has an old video post on: All about Yellow ware.

Mitzi's Collectibles did a great post on collecting and displaying yellowware, as did Good Things by David who uses his bowls in his everyday food preparations. Pinterest is full of great pictures of vintage bowls and NEW ways to use them.

As always, thanks for visiting and I appreciate your comments and I'll try and answer your questions.