When the name Bennington is mentioned most imagine the brown and off-white sponge like finish ware. However, these two major Bennington, Vt., potters produced wares other than those for every day use and those just in brownish glaze.
John Norton and his brother-in-law were partners during the 1790s. Later, Julius Norton, the brother-in-law, started his own pottery in 1847.
Redware. The first ware produced by Julius Norton was redware, a few pieces coated with a clay slip before firing. Other wares were dusted with powdered lead. Upon firing, the lead fused with the clay forming a transparent hard glaze.
Around 1820, salt glaze wares were produced. Salt glaze is obtained by throwing quantities of salt in the kiln fire, producing a type of acid-resisting glaze finish.
Stone ware jugs were commonly made. Other wares were various crocks, pitchers, bowls, ewers and water coolers.
Cow creamers were special among the unusual art type products. These were quite in demand. Besides American-made types, England also made these quaint pitchers that emulated Bennington types.
England made over 900 pitchers of this copied design, however they were without the familiar mottled brown Bennington finish.
Bennington cow creamers were produced in diverse materials using the same mold. These were without identifying logos of any kind, and these can be authenticated by four values.
Distinguishing features. Bennington cows have open eyes, crescent shaped nostrils, ribs are prominently sensed by touch or even obvious to the eye and the hide folds can be felt or even seen.
The creamers were also produced with a flint hard enamel; colors were yellow, blue, browns and yellow.
Quite an amount of American Rockingham ware is considered Bennington, however most were undoubtedly from East Liverpool, Ohio.
Many pieces were made on a potter’s wheel and multitudes were poured in molds of plaster of Paris. Color varied from a brilliant light brown to a drab dark brown to black.
Toby or Coachmen bottles are another well known Bennington-type product. Tobies were first made in England and resembled an overweight man with a rather wrinkled cloak and a tall hat.
Some even resembled a postal carrying boy, a happy go lucky chap. Later, types resembled popular political candidates.
In the 1970s, they were still being made in England. Around 1830, Tobies were made by Bennington and companies capable of producing such wares.
Three designs. Bennington made three selected designs in diverse sizes, glazes and body. The first and tallest, Toby, had a short hat and was with a tassel around the waist.
The middle size, 9 3/4 inches high, had a tall hat, waist bound in a tassel and had a mustache. The last and smallest was 8 1/2 inches tall.
The least found of Bennington ware is what is termed “Scroddled Ware”. This has been attempted by some potters in the last few decades.
Two processes were employed to produce this ware. One appears like chocolate and vanilla (sometimes off color) mixed together with a resulted mottled or marble like finish.
The second method was to mix different shades of slip together resulting in a more definite marbleized finish.
Scroddled ware by Bennington was made between 1847 and 1858, and was made only in very limited quantities.
Bennington produced a large volume of varieties and attractive, diversely-colored wares. He made outstanding blue and white porcelain pitchers, gold adorned granite wares, figurines of animals, redware and many other noteworthy wares.
Duplication. The brown-glazed articles have often been copied. Many times local private potters have attempted Bennington’s diverse finish, especially the Scroddled Ware.