THE 1873 BENNETT’S SYROP JUG : FROM PENNSYLVANIA TO BALTIMORE.
In this note, we solve the mystery of the white ware (ironstone) syrop jug which bears under its base the stamped mark “ BENNETT’S PATENT, jan 28 1873 ”. We take this opportunity to dispel some inaccuracies about the Bennett family activities.
Several molasses or syrop jugs bearing the stamped mark “BENNETT’S PATENT, jan 28 1873” are known to exist, generally attributed to the famed Baltimore Queensware Pottery of Edwin Bennett. However, this patent was not issued to Edwin Bennett, although many take it for granted, but to Mark J. Bennett, of Braddocks, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. What was the patent about and what was the relationship, if any, between Mark and Edwin Bennett?
Syrop jug with pewter top, white ware of the ironstone variety with hand-colored flowers and gold bands and the stamped mark on the bottom. H. 18 cm. A similar undecorated syrop jug with the same mark is shown and discussed in the recent book on Philip Pointon, a master potter in Baltimore and elsewhere (Beaudry Dion & Dion, 2013, p. 102). Photo Jacqueline B. Dion.
The second and fourth paragraphs of the USPO Letters Patent states clearly the improvement claimed by Mark J. Bennett on that date:
“ My invention relates to that class of molasses jugs or pitchers provided with an inner spout, an outer lip or ange to catch the drip, and a channel between the outer lip and inner spout, through which the drip can run back into the body of the jug or pitcher…the said spout and shoulder being formed in one piece and of the same material as the body of the jug…”
The Bennett Brothers, James, Daniel, Edwin and William, are associated with the first East Liverpool pottery, Ohio, which produced Rockingham and Yellow Ware. James (1812-July 31, 1862), a potter from England, left for the USA while in his early 20’s. After some work at the Jersey City Pottery, and the Indiana Pottery Co., he settled in East Liverpool to erect, in 1839, a pottery. His first kiln of ware was burned in 1840. Foreseeing success, he asked in April 1841 his three brothers, all practical potters in England, to join him in the manufacture of pottery and they in turn arrived in America in September 1841, as an Ancestry.com photo of the ship manifest of Daniel and William Bennett so indicates (Hawkins, 2009, p. 139, gives a wrong arrival date of 1842). In 1844, they moved to Birmingham, now a part of Pittsburg, PA, to establish another pottery (see Barber, 1893, p. 194-198; Barth, 1926, p. 196-197; Cushing, 1889, p. 499; Jervis, 1902, p.43-45; Spargo, 1926, p. 321-323 as well as the East Liverpool Historical Society website
Daniel (1815- April 6, 1892) had arrived to the USA with his wife Catherine Bates, his son Mark J. and daughter Ely. (Cushing, 1889, p. 499 and p. 574). Mark J., aged 21 at the 1860 US census, was thus born c.1839. At the 1870 census, Mark J.’s occupation is described as Glass Manufacturer. Effectively, by 1869, William and Daniel stopped manufacturing pottery and became involved, with Mark J., with the Crystal Glass Co (1870-1888), located nearby in Pittsburg, (Southside). An advertisement of 1870, given in Hawkins, (2009, p. 142), indicates Daniel Bennett as President of the Crystal Glass Co., William Bennett as secretary and treasurer, Mark J. Bennett as Business Agent and John Henderson as factory Sup’t. Clearly Mark’s motivation for the patent was to have the production of glass syrop jugs at the Crystal Glass Co., but it could be used also, as stated in the letters patent, for earthenware containers.
Meanwhile, Edwin Bennett (1818-June 13,1908) moved to Baltimore; he erected a pottery at that place in 1847 (not in 1846 as inferred by Barber on p. 195, and repeated by Spargo, p. 224, Ramsay, p. 164 and many others). We take this opportunity to establish firmly that fact. The following two extracts from Newspapers of 1847 are self-explanatory.
William (1821- August 24, 1889) was Edwin’s partner in Baltimore from 1848 (or 1849) to 1856, before returning to Carrick, a neighborhood of Pittsburg. Then in 1863 William again united with Daniel in the pottery venture. During the civil war, according to Revi, p. 163, Edwin Bennett left Baltimore for Philadelphia where he became partner in a glass factory accordingly called Gillinder & Bennett (1863-1867). His involvement and close ties with William T. Gillinder is attested by several glassware patents attributed to Bennett alone or jointly with Gillinder, during the period 1865-1869 (improvement for fruit jars, 1865; for glass bottles, 1866; for preserve jars, 1866; for lamp chimneys, 1869; for a machine for cleaning sand, 1869). One patent dated July 13, 1869, indicates that Edwin Bennett is once more a resident of Baltimore, having returned since a while to take care of his Queensware Pottery. But his relation with the Gillinder family would continue: his own daughter Martha married James Gillinder, son of William T. Gillinder, in April 1867 and they had a son in 1870 which they named Edwin Bennett Gillinder...
White ware was introduced in 1868 (not 1869 as stated by Barber, p. 195 and others) at the Edwin Bennett Queensware Pottery. Philip Pointon, who was then Superintendent at the Queensware Pottery, did produce, already in August 1868, white granite as well as cream color ware (see Beaudry Dion & Dion, 2013, p. 42). Both Bennett and Pointon are recorded in the alphabetical section of the Woods’ Baltimore City Directory for 1868-69, published in Nov. 1868.
At the time of the patent for the Bennett’s syrop jug, Edwin Bennett was the only member of the family still involved with pottery, notably white ware, plain and decorated. It is more than likely that he is the one responsible for the production of the earthenware jug pictured here, using freely his nephew’s patent.
The exhibition The Potter’s Craft in Maryland held in Baltimore from March to May 1955, presented a white ware syrop jug with pewter top, marked Bennett’s Patent 1886 [1873?], lent by Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Bennett Filbert (exhibit no 54 in the 1955 catalogue of the Maryland Historical Society). The exhibition also contained a copy of the resolution of the Mayor and Council of Baltimore, dated May 20, 1847, granting Edwin Bennett permission to erect a queensware factory at the corner of Caton [Canton] Avenue and Canal Street. [In fact, this resolution was amended and passed already on May 13, 1847, according to The Sun, May 14, 1847, p. 4]. Despite that information, the catalogue repeats the date of 1846 for the erection of the pottery in Baltimore.
This Pottery had a long and fruitful life, as did its founder and owner. Edwin Bennett, born March 6, 1818, was said to be the oldest potter alive in America before he died on June 13, 1908, being 90 years old. (Trenton Evening Times, June 16, 1908).
In conclusion, the stamped mark Bennett’s Patent jan 28 1873 on the syrop jug does refer to letters patent issued to Mark J. Bennett, of Braddocks, Pennsylvania. Mark was only involved, at that time, with glass ware, not pottery. The white ware syrop jug itself was most likely produced at the Baltimore Queensware Pottery of his uncle Edwin Bennett, sometimes after that date. One such syrop jug was reportedly offered to Wallace Nutting as a wedding gift on Oct. 28, 1884 (The Palm Beach Post, West Palm Beach, Florida, March 25, 2001).
Signatures of Mark J. Bennett, 1873 and of Edwin Bennett, 1874, both from USPO documents.
BARBER, EDWIN ATLEE. The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States, N.Y. & London, The Knickerbokers Press, 1893, 446 p.
BARTH, Harrold B. History of Columbiana County, Ohio, Topeka and Indianapolis, Historical Publication Co. 1926.
BEAUDRY DION, JACQUELINE & JEAN-PIERRE DION. Philip Pointon (1831-1881), maître-potier à Baraboo, Cap-Rouge, Trenton, Baltimore, Saint-Jean. Privately printed by the authors, Saint-Lambert, 2013, 128 p. ISBN 978-2-9812228-2-4
CUSHING,Thomas. The History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Chicago, A. Warner & Co, 1889.
[EAST LIVERPOOL HISTORICAL SOCIETY]
GOLDBERG, Arthur F. “Highlights in the Development of the Rockingham and Yellow ware Industry in the United States- A Brief Review with Representative Examples”, Ceramics in America 2003, (Robert Hunter, ed. 321 p.) Milwaukee, WI, Chipstone Foundation, 2003, p. 26-46.
HAWKINS, JAY W. Glasshouses and Glass Manufacturers of the Pittsburgh Region: 1795-1910. iUniverse Publ., 2009, 612 p.
JERVIS, W. P. The Encyclopedia of Ceramics, New York, W. P. Jervis, 1902, 673 p.
[MARYLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY]. The Potter’s Craft in Maryland / An Exhibition of Nearly 200 Examples of Pottery Manufactured 1793 to 1890, Baltimore, Maryland, The Maryland Historical Society, 1955.
MYERS, Susan H. “Aesthetic Aspirations : Baltimore Potters and the Art Craze”, American Ceramic Circle Journal, Vol. VIII, NY, The American Ceramic Circle, 1992, p 25-54.
RAMSAY, John. American Potters and Pottery. Clinton, Massachusset, Colonial Press Inc., 1939, 304 p.
REVI, ALBERT CHRISTIAN. American Pressed Glass and Figure Bottles. Nelson, New York, 1964, third printing 1970. 446 p.
SPARGO, John. Early American Pottery and China, NY & London, The Century Co., 1926, xviii + 393 p.