Until the 18th century, very few potters left their mark on their wares. Pottery used to be more functional and utilitarian rather than fine art. Sure, way back to the beginning of time, we potters put a little bit of ourselves into our pots, from shell and stick impressions to illustrations of the things around us and our interests. But mostly, potters did not mark their pots because pots were just a tool, to use and then throw away.
|Look closely and you can see H. BROOKS|
Here in Connecticut, our local potter from Goshen, Hervey Brooks marked his pots. Between 1820-1860, Hervey made utilitarian redware pottery and stamped some of his wares with his name... H. BROOKS
Potters stamps were made from wood, metal or clay.
|Old carved wood stamp|
The famous South Carolina potter David Drake, known as Dave the slave, wrote his name directly into the side of his pot, just as I and many other potters still do.
Pottery stamps were not common until the 1800s when pottery factories started to mass produce wares for the growing demand, use of power equipment, need for unskilled jobs and ease of transportation of raw materials and finished wares.
Even in Europe, marks were not common until the 1700s.
|Early Chinese potters stamp|
Today, we look at the bottom of tea cups at antique stores to see the place it was manufactured... Made in China, Made in Austria.
|Gebruder Heubach, Germany|
Alamo Pottery - San Antonio and Hondo, Texas
Gladding McBean & Co. - California