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Personal Necessities

The assortment of goods recovered from the “Blue China” shipwreck site includes a number of utilitarian goods that would have been essential in the life of the mid-19th century American. Included in the mix was a square-toed leather shoe sole with its heel intact and lacking any evidence of wear – suggesting it represents the remains of a larger deteriorated shipment. Also counted among the items of necessity important to ones one’s everyday health and convenience were different sets of British-made toilet ware including chamber pots made of ironstone china and slip-decorated yellow ware.

Matching teaware sets discovered at the wreck site, comprised of sprig-decorated tea bowls, saucers, sugar bowls and cream jugs would have likely been useful to a large tea drinking American population. Included among the items of popular use among mid-Victorian Americans were  the 16 clay tobacco pipes recovered from the site in two different styles: Fluted and TD-embossed.  Both styles of pipes represent the remains of a larger cargo documented on the site, and are prevalent on archaeological land sites dating contemporaneously with the “Blue China” wreck.

This diverse assemblage of objects for personal use, shipped as cargo aboard the “Blue China” vessel, reflect the prevailing fashions, customs, necessities, and functional wares that inspired and shaped the U.S. consumer in the decade preceding the American Civil War.