Yours is a complex question. The packing from Staffordshire was usually in crates. These were made from willow and were squarish in shape see Pic 1 below. The ware was packed in straw and this is usually itemized in invoices. You can see this from the detail of a invoice from Enoch Wood of 1833 shipping to Brown & Co of Philadelphia. A complete set of shipping documents can be found in the Winterthur digital collections online at http://content.winterthur.org:2011/cdm/search/collection/Invoices/searchterm/pottery!Enoch%20Wood/field/subjec!all/mode/any!all/conn/and!and/order/nosort/ad/asc Other pottery invoices can be found in the Manuscript Invoices section.
If you look at pic 2 below – you can read the end of the invoice. The top line says ‘4 crates same as 196” meaning same content which was ‘40 doz. edged plates ¼ soups’. Crates are the usual description of the packaging in invoices in the 19th century. At the bottom of the mss you can see charges for packages & Straw 39.15.0.
How the pottery reached merchants would depend on the size of their business and access to them. It seems reasonable to assume that crates sent directly to retailers in port cities would get there in the state they left England. Large retailers might sell directly to the public and also repack wares into lots for smaller retailers inland. Some dealers specialist jobbing merchants see
George M. Coates, Pottery Merchant of Philadelphia, 1817-1831
Author(s): George L. Miller
Source: Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring, 1984), pp. 37-49
Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Inc.
I think this is available through JSTOR
After the opening of the Erie Canal at least one retailer in Albany I think boasted that he got his wares directly from Staffordshire without the need for them to be repacked etc.
How the wares got to Louisville is outside of my expertise – but a barrel suggests repacking at the place where a larger consignment landed.
Of course, you probably know that James Clews was in Louisville in 1836 after his (and his brother’s) business failed in 1834/35. He set up the pottery at Troy Indiana – for more information see the TCC online exhibit http://americanhistoricalstaffordshire.com/history/ralph-james-clews-potters-plagiarists
Another book which will be of use is
Ewins, Neil. 1997. "Supplying the present wants of our Yankee cousins-": Staffordshire ceramics and the American market, 1775-1880. Stoke-on-Trent: City Museum & Art Gallery.
I know it is still available from the ceramic department of the museum, now called "The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery"
I love Louisville and have many friends there, but no-one ever took me to visit Historic Locust Grove. I did an exhibit for the Speed (when it was the JB Speed) and although I have returned to the UK I have very fond memories of that part of the USA.
If I can be of any further assistance – please get in touch
Oops- seems like I can't add photos from my own files - so send me your email address if you would like to receive them
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