C - Gauging the Marketplace
Location: Butt-Burnett Pottery at 8th and "Eye"
Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown Station (Red-Green-Yellow lines)
informational links below)
Standing in this neighborhood in 1850, you hear the
thudding of horses along the unpaved and rutted streets, passing grocery
stores and homes. Perhaps it is the wagon you’ve been waiting for to deliver
a cord of wood so that you can fire this kiln loaded with your new
merchandise. As a potter in the middle of the 1800s you would be faced with
a number of challenges. Competition from English potters was increasing and
you would have to decide how to respond. What could you produce to compete
with the fine English wares?
took over Richard Butt’s successful pottery here in 1843 and made American
salt-glazed stoneware crocks, jugs, and beer bottles until 1862. Such items
were used and reused for preserving and storing food and their broken
remains are found on sites throughout the city.
Archaeologists were thrilled to excavate this craft site,
recovering thousands of pieces of Burnett’s wares from a "waster pit," where
the potter had discarded unusable items. Just as interesting were the
thousands of pieces of kiln furniture used to stack pots during firing. Such
finds offer rare clues to craft and industry in the middle of the century.
FUN FACT: Potters threw salt into the
kiln as ceramic vessels were being fired to create the glaze, easily
recognizable by its "orange-peel" surface.
Archaeology in Downtown
a walking and metro guide to the past...
was produced cooperatively by the National
Park Service, National Center for Cultural Resources, Archeology and
Ethnography Program; the District of Columbia Office of Planning, Historic
Preservation Office; the Center for Heritage Resource Studies, University of
Maryland, College Park; and the Society for American Archaeology.
Pottery (scroll down for "English Wares")
Use of Salt
Glaze and the Elers Brothers, United Kingdom
Salt Glaze Stoneware of Alexandria, Virginia