Stoneware Crock


This stoneware butter crock was made by John Burger, who operated a pottery in Rochester, New York, between 1839 and 1870. It is one gallon in capacity with a maker’s mark just below the rim. Its floral design is rendered in cobalt blue, and the interior is brown glazed.

John Burger came from Alsace-Lorraine in France, and first worked at a pottery in Lyons on the Erie Canal. In 1839 he moved to Rochester and joined Nathan Clark and Company as manager of the pottery. In 1855 Burger became the owner of the pottery and continued in the business of making stoneware for domestic uses—preserve jars, churns, pitchers and batter pitchers, cream pots, jugs, molasses jugs, water fountains, beer bottles, stove tubes, and the butter pot seen here. He was joined in the business by his sons in the 1860s. Decorative floral motifs of this kind were common by the 1850s.

Early in the 19th century, the potters themselves executed the designs, but later they employed women to paint the pottery’s motifs onto the vessels. Women’s skills in writing and in decorative techniques expressed in the home prepared them to execute designs with fluency and without any formal art education.

Date Made: 1854-1867

Maker: Burger, John

Place Made: United States: New York, Rochester

Related Event: Expansion and Reform


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass, Food, Work, Industry & Manufacturing, New York Stoneware

Exhibition: On the Water

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Dr. Cornelius and Sui-ling Soo Osgood

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: CE.319884.161Catalog Number: 319884.161Accession Number: 319884

Object Name: jarcrock

Physical Description: ceramic, stoneware, coarse (overall material)Measurements: overall: 6 1/4 in x 3 3/8 in; 15.875 cm x 8.5725 cm


Record Id: nmah_574150

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.