Five different variants totaling 43 examples of British white granite, also known as white ironstone china were recovered from the Jacksonville "Blue China" wreck: plates, bowls, chamber pots, wash basins and salve jars with covers. Twelve jars and four lids are counted among the latter. Three of the jars contain a salve or grease-like substance, possibly cosmetic or medicinal in nature and suggestive of products frequently marketed in this type of container during the 19th century.
Ironstone is a heavy, thick-bodied undecorated ceramic ware was mass-produced by England’s Staffordshire potters. By the mid-1800s it had become quite popular among both commercial and domestic American consumers. The preceding stone china and ironstone wares first introduced in the early 19th century were heavily decorated, often in a Chinese style, and were produced to imitate the popular Chinese export market porcelains in both design and shape. However, the later ironstone forms introduced after 1830, such as those found on the “Blue China” wreck site, were more thickly potted, relief molded and/or undecorated utilitarian vessels manufactured largely for the American market.
This modest, plain and durable product was highly desired in the ‘colonies’, where it could be found in various social environments from steamboats to taverns and hotels. The ironstone china trade appears to have reached the Western frontier of America by 1839, supplied by a network of wholesalers, some of whom were working in St Louis, and had strong ties with large-scale wholesalers and importers in Philadelphia and New York. Steady shipments of exports to America began in the early 1840s.