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Coffman, Andrew
Place Made:
Timberville Rockingham County Virginia
Date Made:
salt glazed –stoneware
HOA: 8 3/4″; WOA: 9″
Accession Number:
Inscribed along the upper half of one side of the crock is “Aprile th 28 1832,” and “Jacob Zigler” on the opposite side. Jacob Zigler was the proprietor of the Zigler Pottery in Rockingham County, Virginia. Along the same horizon as the inscriptions is a cobalt blue brushed star pattern similar to that found on other Zigler Pottery pieces with cobalt decorations. This wheel-thrown, wide-mouth crock has a narrow foot and is not glazed on the interior with an applied glaze, but is coated overall with salt glaze.

Salt glazing was a technique used by stoneware potters to create a glassy surface. When the pottery kiln reached over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, salt was introduced to the kiln, creating a vapor. This vapor adhered to the silica in the clay, forming a glassy appearance on the pottery. Because of the high temperature at which the pottery was fired, the clay often became non-porous, or vitrified. This, combined with the salt glazing, meant that potters did not have to apply an additional glaze to the interior of the vessel. Salt-glazed pieces generally did not seep, as did earthenware pieces.

MAKER: Though signed by Jacob Zigler (1812-1896), this crock was likely made by Andrew Coffman (1795-1853). As described by Jeffrey S. Evans and Scott Hamilton in “A Great Deal of Stone & Earthen Ware,” Andrew Coffman is considered the “father of Rockingham style” pottery in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Coffman moved to Rockingham County in the 1820s and was the primary potter at the pottery owned by Jacob Zigler’s father, John Zigler (1786-1856), in Timberville from 1829 to 1839, based on evidence from the surviving account books of the Zigler Pottery. John was not himself a potter, but an entrepreneur operating the pottery a few miles west of New Market, and supplementing his full-time work as a successful farmer and tanner.

Evans, Jeffrey S. and Scott Hamilton Suter, “A Great Deal of Stone & Earthen Ware.” Dayton, Virginia: Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, 2004.

Credit Line:
The William C. and Susan S. Mariner Collection