This hand-thrown jar was made by the Oregon Pottery Company, the first pottery to be established on the Pacific coast. Due to the clay in the area and the primitive kilns first used by the company, their glaze is very distinctive. It is a reddish brown glaze with an almost iridescent, glossy, glassy surface covered with pit, bumps and pinholes. Many of the bumps can be felt; the unglazed bottom has a rough, concrete-like surface. Both the inside and outside (except for the bottom) are covered in the glaze. This was primitive, utilitarian pottery made with clay containing impurities, and probably a fair amount of iron, which did not affect their usefulness.
Some history on the pottery company:
Amedee M. Smith of Pennsylvania learned the pottery business from his brother Freeman Smith who had a pottery in Iowa. Amedee ultimately ended up in Buena Vista, Oregon, outside of Salem, where suitable clay was found. His brother and his father joined him there and in 1866 they turned out the first of the pottery’s wares. In 1881, Amedee moved to Portland, Oregon, where he incorporated in 1883 as the Oregon Pottery Company, making pipe, such as sewer pipe, while their pottery continued to be made in Buena Vista. The manufacturing of the pottery was discontinued in 1890.
The condition of this jar is excellent—there are no chips, cracks, breaks or crazing. The areas shown in the photos that appear as rough areas are actually areas that the application of the slip glaze missed. The jar measures 5 1/2 inches tall and 4 1/2 inches across both the top and bottom. We purchased this jar in Salem, Oregon and although it is unmarked, we firmly believe it to be a piece of Oregon Pottery.