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: Based on research done for a preliminary archaeological report, the principal potter at Sycolin Road was Charles Lewis Gardner, whose family operated potteries in Loudoun County for three generations from the early 1800s through the 1860s. MESDA has identified his father-in-law, Charles Dunkin (c.1746-1808) as one of the earliest Loudoun County potters. Lewis Gardner was listed in the 1810 and 1820 censuses for Waterford township in Loudoun County, and he was consistently identified as a manufacturer or tradesman. His brother-in-law, George Dunkin/Duncan (1788-1854), was listed as a potter in the 1850 census for Loudoun County, and his son, William H. Gardner (1814-1894), was listed as a potter there in 1860.
Bertsch, Ackman, Hyland, et.al., “‘Forgotten’: A Preliminary Report on the Sycolin Road Pottery,” Northern Virginia Community College, 2008.