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Discarded stoneware reveals secrets of 19th century Western New York


Fri, Sep 16th 2022 01:40 pm

Members of the public will be able to explore Western New York’s hidden history – as revealed by its stoneware pottery treasures – at the History Center of Niagara on Sept. 29. Peter Jablonski, an avid “privy digger” and historical researcher, and David Potter, a lifelong collector of historic stoneware, will present a program titled “History & Mystery of the Early Decorated Stoneware Potteries of the Queen City, 1834-1896.”

The free program will take place at 6:30 p.m. at 215 Niagara St., Lockport.

Organizers said, “They will speak about fascinating stoneware artifacts that have been unearthed from old privies, who the master artisans were who worked the clay and decorated the pottery, and what the artifacts reveal about the people who lived in the WNY area. The program will also feature new information not found in books on New York pottery.

“In the 19th century, stoneware was necessary to preserve food and protect it from vermin. Their decoration, however, made them more than just utilitarian items. They were also highly desirable as home décor. Four German potter families in particular – Heiser, Mugler, Braun and Bruehl – produced decorative works of art in local stoneware.

Jablonski and Potter will bring pieces of local stoneware for the audience to see.

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