It seems to me that the use of decals came into common use around the 1890s (perhaps even a little earlier) and can be distinguished from transferwares as the decal is placed on top of the glazed piece. I've been making wheel thrown pottery for quite a few years and recently took a class on making decals, etc. After the second firing the decals are applied (just like you would to model cars, etc) to the glaze and fired yet again, though at low fire temps. When you rub your finger across them it will feel a little rough relative to the surrounding glaze. Decals will also often have a number of different colors with elaborate designs (especially floral) where transferwares are typically limited to one or two (though there are exceptions). I'm doing a dig on a historical site in MI. We recently found a well that was loaded with over 7 cubic feet of mid to late 19th century artifacts, many of which have decals.
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