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Suter, Emanuel
Place Made:
Rockingham County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
salt-glazed stoneware
HOA: 5 3/8″; WOA: 5 3/4″
Accession Number:
As noted in Jeffrey S. Evans and Scott Hamilton Suter’s exhibition catalog, “A Great Deal of Stone and Earthen Ware,” family lore suggests that this jar held sugar. The form is characteristic of many vessels made in Rockingham County, with a “thick-rimmed mouth wider in diameter than the base.” Often with an accompanying lid, many jars of this form have inscribed words that allude to what they held, such as “Plumb,” “Peare,””Strawberrys,” and “Blackbury” [sic]. Commonly called “squat pots,” this particular piece, although missing its lid, is rare in that it is one of the few surviving pieces with Emanuel Suter’s name stenciled in blue cobalt on the face of the pot. The stencil is surrounded by a feathered design painted on with cobalt blue slip. Painted on the reverse face is a cobalt blue floral design, and incised on the rim of the jar is “III.”

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 into 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 a glaze to the interior of the vessel. It could hold liquids and not seep, unlike earthenware storage vessels.

MAKER: The maker of this pot was Emanuel Suter (1833-1902), one of Rockingham County’s most prominent potters in the second half of the nineteenth-century. In 1855 his shop was located in West Rockingham, but he may have been working as early as 1851 with John D. Heatwole. A practicing Mennonite, Suter was a prolific and innovative potter.

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

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