An unusual example of New Jersey stoneware recently came in the door for our October 26 auction: a squat-shaped jug impressed “CAMP & OSBORN.” Bearing a simple slip-trailed floral design underneath its somewhat crude mark, this jug does not line up very well with any of the more prolific stoneware makers of the time period. So determining where the firm of Camp & Osborn was located became imperative in determining an origin for the jug.
It turns out that Camp and Osborn operated, in specific terms, a “Wholesale and Retail Grocery and Commission Business,” at 164 Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey, from 1855-1877. What this meant in practical terms is that they sold a great deal of liquor and wine, and jugs like the somewhat mysterious one at hand would have been sold containing something along those lines. It is unclear who made the “CAMP & OSBORN” jug, but it was very probably a local product; many Newark potters are listed in the 1860 census (about when this jug was made), but we are unsure at which shop it originated.
But in researching this example, we came across an interesting ad that we thought was worth sharing, that gives a great amount of detail as to the specific types and brands of liquor that might have found their way into it. Published in 1866 in the Newark Daily Advertiser, ads like this one provide a great window into why American stoneware was made in the first place, who handled it on a daily basis, and how intertwined it was with the fabric of American life throughout the nineteenth century.
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