With a tall, narrow neck, straight sides, and rounded shoulder, this small bottle is incised “July 20th 1820 / A. Landrum.” “A. Landrum” is Abner Landrum, an early founder of the pottery industry in the Edgefield, South Carolina, area. The bottle was thrown on a pottery wheel and then received an alkaline glaze. Alkaline glaze is a mix of clay and ash or lime that acts as a flux. In her publication “Great and Noble Jar,” Cinda K. Baldwin notes that the earliest glazes found in the Edgefield area were a light gray-green or yellow-green, as seen on this bottle, whereas darker green colors tend to be found on later wares. With its 1820 date, this is one of the earliest known pieces of dated Edgefield stoneware, and the only known example signed by Abner Landrum.
MAKER: Abner Landrum (1771-1859) established one of the first stoneware pottery factories in Edgefield, South Carolina, around 1815. He is often credited with the development of alkaline glazing in the South. Abner Landrum was also the proprietor of the “Edgefield Hive,” a local newspaper thought to be where the enslaved potter David Drake learned to read and write while he worked there for Landrum in the 1820s. Abner Landrum left Edgefield and moved to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1831.
Baldwin, Cinda K. Great and Noble Jar. Athens, GA: UGA Press, 1993.