Blue and White Stoneware Kitchen CanistersBy

Blue and White Stoneware Kitchen Canisters

Most pieces of new molded "stoneware" have been relatively simple shapes such as pitchers, bowls and mugs. However, sometimes a more sophisticated imitation is made, such as this complete set of kitchen canisters.

The new set is a direct copy of an authentic vintage pattern. In both the original and the copy, a basket weave texture is embossed over the entire surface. The ingredient name appears on a raised molded scroll, or banner, on the front side only. Both old and new are made in two sizes, about 7 and 4 inches tall. Original 7-inch jars sell for about $250-$350; smaller jars, $125-$200. The new jars were sold as a four-piece set for $75 and came in four graduated sizes.

There are several key differences between old and new. The most obvious is an extended lip in the new lids (Figs. 5). This lip is grooved to hold a plastic ring which seals the new jars. Even if the new ring is removed, the grooved extension is a clue that the lid is new. The vast majority of vintage canister lids (Fig. 6) have straight sided inner lips without a groove and rarely extend as far as the new lips.

Old 7-inch basket weave jars have a morning glory pattern on the back side. No morning glory pattern appears on the back of the new 7-inch basket weave jars. Some, but not all new jars are marked C.M.I., the mark of Crazy Mountain Importing, an American giftware importer.

The new jars are a relatively thin fired ceramic material. Original pre-1930 stoneware is much thicker and heavier.

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Fig. 1 New blue and white imitation stoneware canister in basket weave pattern. Stenciled label "Sugar" on a molded banner in front. One of a four-piece set which also includes Flour, Coffee and Tea. Sizes range from 7″ to 4″; retail price per four-piece set, $75. Copied from the original canister set in Fig. 2.

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Fig. 2 Original pre-1930 blue and white salt-glazed 6¾-inch canisters made in America. Embossed basket weave pattern all over the surface. The molded banner in front is stenciled with the name of the contents. Matching spice-sized 4¼-inch jars were also made (not shown).

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Fig. 3 The reverse side of the original canisters shown in Fig. 2. The backs of the original 6¾-inch canisters have this morning glory pattern running over the basket weave. The new 7-inch canisters in Fig. 1 do not have the morning glory pattern on the reverse.

Photos in Figs. 2 and 3 from Collectors Encyclopedia of Salt Glaze Stoneware, Taylor & Lowrance, ©1997. Courtesy Collector Books.

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Fig. 4 Mark on new jars, C.M.I., is Crazy Mountain Importing, a giftware firm located in the United States. New jars are made in China.

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Fig. 5 Lids in new jars have a grooved band around the bottom. This band is used to hold a thick plastic ring which helps the lid seat against the jar and make an air-tight seal. The plastic ring is removed in this photo to show the groove.

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Fig. 6 Typical lid with straight-sided flange on bottom. There is no extension with a groove like the new lid in Fig. 5. Of course this style lid in no guarantee of age, but at least it is in the proper shape.