Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stapled Staffordshire Blue Transferware

Stapled Staffordshire Blue Transferware
Unrelated activities - twice within one week and at two different friends' houses - uncovered stapled antique Staffordshire plates and platters.

First, some prerequisite information: transferware was developed in Staffordshire, England in the mid 18th century.  The process involves transferring a print from an engraved and inked copper plate to a sheet of paper, then to clay,which is glazed and fired.  The blue was the only underglaze that could handle the heat.

Historical Blue Staffordshire "Old Blue" - City Hall, New York, by John and William Ridgway, Hanley, England (1814-1830)
Back to the staples (because for most, upon seeing a broken plate, the stapler would not be the repair tool of choice):
Until the early part of the 20th Century, when new glues were perfected, all early repairs were riveted or stapled! Generally, it wasn’t the kind of thing you could do at home, so it had to be carried out by experts. 
During the 18th and 19th Century hand-drills were used to carefully drill holes either side of a crack in your porcelain. A staple or rivet was then heated up and fitted into the holes. As the staple cooled the metal contracted and pulled the porcelain tightly together. This formed a very stable repair with a solid feel and prevented the crack from travelling further. A very old and skilful method!  - Antique Porcelain Collector

The Beauties of America Series - The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Description

This platter was made circa 1830 by (Enoch) Wood & Son(s), North Staffordshire, England.

Classic Shell Border (around a scene depicting crimes against humanity)

The Wood Family " the celebrated English family of Staffordshire potters"  were related to Josiah Wedgwood.
A few other interesting objects were also uncovered.

A Charming, Footed Limoges Cup and Saucer

Even More Charming Maremma


Cranky Yankee said...

I always learn something from TDP. Have you ever run a post on Rose Medallion?

betsy said...

My family story is that the repairs were done by an skilled itinerant china man. Households saved the broken pieces for the next visit of the china man. My mother followed the tradition of always saving the most recently chipped or cracked item in the belief that every house had to have one and if you threw it away, you'd just damage another. I never questioned the need to keep the most recently damaged piece when there was quite a selection of stapled items in the cupboards! I don't have anyone alive from that generation to ask.

I have been told that a conservator can restore the stapled pieces. I haven't investigated.

Anonymous said...

I'm conflicted. I don't know what I want more, the dog or the Dutch front door. Of course, the dog wins, but boy that entry looks inviting.

When I see old tableware I think of service and presentation. I like to wonder where it has been, who has eaten from it, and what conversations took place. When I see broken pieces or an uneven set, I wonder whether it was a great dinner party or a simple accident.

Although I have seen stapled pieces, I was not aware of the process, so thanks for the lesson. I helped a family friend pack up some 18th century stapled pieces that she sent to the Metropolitan Museum to have the staples removed and the pieces restored. It all came out beautifully. They were important family pieces, so it was worth it to her. Otherwise, I think it is cost prohibitive, and the staples only add to the character and history of the piece.

Stephanie Bell said...

We have a Meissen tureen with a staple. It came from my grandmother who was the last family member to live in New Hampshire. I have no idea when the turreen broke but it sits on the buffet in the dining room and I still look at it every day. Just love the blue and white.

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

My maternal grandmother had a few such pieces, which, sadly, are now gone. Agreed on the dog's lovely face.

Best Regards,

Heinz-Ulrich von B.

BlueTrain said...

While we on the subject of crockery, here's a question for the assembled company.

How does one prevent the "crazing" or fine cracking of stoneware or ironstone? It seems to happen especially to cups and serving pieces. It is frustrating that it never seems to happen to the most ordinary, everyday dishes.

Among the large number of pieces of one set that we have, there is a soup tureen. But we've never used it so far, although it would be a good place to keep the butter and egg money.

mary anne said...

I so often learn something new from you. I also find a new dog picture to love. Thank you!

Bitsy said...

So sweet that this begins and ends with that lovely dog. One of the many things that draws me to this blog is that the writer and the readers are animal lovers.

How interesting to learn about this process for repairing crockery -- although we have old family china, there are no stapled pieces. I'm sure many pieces were broken in all the years, so now I wonder why none were so repaired. Another of those family mysteries that will never be solved.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pieces, Muffy! And I just adore that gorgeous dog. I remember seeing stapled china already, and it surprised me. What's more interesting, is the clean break of that old piece. Normally things shatter into a zillion bits. --Holly in PA

Anonymous said...

Hello, Muffy. I'm a frequent visitor to your blog but have never commented before. Today, I actually have something to contribute. I was not familiar with stapled repairs to china until I read this article in the New York Times:
which made me a fan of Andrew Baseman, whose blog, "Past Imperfect" I now subscribe to. If you read the article you will discover that Mr. Baseman has a huge collection of antique china -- all of which is in a state of glorious imperfection. Just thought I'd pass this on. Susan Sobol

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. There is no china I love so much as Historical Blue Staffordshire and feel fortunate to have a few pieces. Years ago I met a teapot in antique shop with a wooden lid, called, as the article Susan Sobol cites, a "make-do." Presumably when the lady of the house broke the lid of her favorite teapot, her husband fashioned her a replacement of wood. True love!
~Hearthstone Farm

Flo said...

Can I just say--I loved this post! I'm a sucker for dishes and this was such an educational piece as well. Very interesting. I love that Limoges cup and saucer with the bee print too! And of course, the dog ;)

Blue Train--I've learned that the crazing can be caused by a number of factors--how it was fired, how much moisture was in the piece when it was fired, if you use it in an oven--the list goes on and on. I have several pieces by the same manufacturer where some have done this and others not--they are all used about the same amount and all treated in the same manner. It frustrates the heck out of me! I did call one company and was told that they are safe to use as long as the crazing has not come through completely to the glaze. But I've also heard of some of these crazed pieces just cracking in half, so I don't know. If you ever find out the soution, let me know, I want to know too.

Pigtown*Design said...

Great article! I have a few pieces of stapled china and love what it represents - that pieces were too dear and too important to be thrown away.

As for crazing, it happens to lots of different makes and ages of china. To lessen the look of the crazing, soak the piece in about a gallon of water and a half cup of Oxyclean for several hours. It should clean up nicely! I did post about the Oxyclean and you can see the results. Click here

Happy Chappy said...

Stapling together plates? How resourceful!

Mayes Hall said...

Great article--and yes the dog is adorable.

Anonymous said...

I really learned a lot from this post! I love transferware but never knew about the staples. I enjoy salvaging broken items, especially those that mean something to my family. Betsy's comment makes perfect sense.