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While a variety of ceramics was made in the United States, stoneware was among the most practical because it was hard and dense, and did not require a lead glaze to make it watertight. Stoneware was created from clays found mainly in New Jersey and Long Island and shipped to potteries in upstate New York. Three basic techniques were used to decorate stoneware: stamping, incising, and brushing or slip-cupping. As pottery production increased markedly in the 1840s, brushing was most commonly used because it could be done quickly with aesthetic results. This water cooler is unusual in that it is elaborately brushed. Hilfinger worked as a decorator at both Fort Edward and Bennington Potteries.
diameter 13 in ; height 21 in ; width 15 in