This individual stoneware jug of American production is covered in an Albany Slip, a type of treatment seen especially in New York and Pennsylvania in the 19th century. The Albany slip glaze was made from natural glacial clay discovered in Albany, New York in the early 1800s. “Slip Glaze” is the potters’ term for a glaze made by clay mixed with water.
High in iron, Albany Slip produced a deep brown color as seen on this jug. It was common on earthenware, stoneware and salt-glaze pottery throughout the 19th century. Both durable and decorative, Albany Slip was often used as an interior glaze on salt-glaze pottery and other high-fired wares. It melted smoothly to form an impermeable glass coating, perfect for storing liquids and for ease of cleaning. Its popularity spread among potters with the expansion of the railroad system. Once quite common, this type of slip is rarely seen today.
The jug, the only example found at the SS Republic wreck site, was quite possibly a shipboard item intended for holding water or some other liquid for use by the ship’s passengers or crew.