Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Collar or Jug Stacker?

Jug stacker or collar fused to the top of a jug. Courtesy, Alexandria Archaeology Museum.
I have a technical quandary I would like some input on. In working on my kiln furniture project, I have been struggling with whether to call the pieces placed on top of jugs for stacking in the kiln "collars" or "jug stackers."  My hesitation to use the term "collar" would be because the term “collaring” is used in referring to the pottery technique used to make the neck of a bottle. However, because of that too, I would option to use collar because the piece in question is placed on the jug where collaring begins at the shoulder of the jug. The collar goes on the collar of the jug.
And my hesitation to use the term “jug stacker,” as did Georgeanna Greer, is because it seems like a misleading term that does not fit its function. It does assist in the stacking of the jugs, but it by itself is not a "stacker" and is not stacked without being a part of another piece of pottery. Does that make sense, or am I looking too far into this?
Drawing made by Mike Heindl -- incomplete, not with all of the furniture! But just showing how the collars sat on top of the jugs and the jugs then stacked on one another.

This is the hole where the stacker/collar sits over the handle. This unfortunate piece was a bit overfired, or had too much weight on it, and it slumped making the collar/stacker stick to it. Courtesy, Alexandria Archaeology Museum.
For those of you still wondering what in the world I am talking about:
A jug stacker or collar was placed on the top of a jug in order to allow for an easier stacking method. Small bits of kiln furniture were placed on he bottom of the piece between the jug and the stacker/collar. I have also seen these pieces dipped in a white, sandy slip where the piece would come in contact with the pottery, assuming that the sand would keep the piece from sticking to the vessel. A hole was cut into the side in order to go over the handle. As opposed to saggars which are completely enclosed a jug stacker has a hole that goes above the bottle neck. Stackers/collars are also much shorter and smaller than saggars and tend to have angled sides or rounded edges (keeps the contact points to a minimal).
Collar/Jug Stacker from Rockbridge Baths Pottery Site, Virginia. Courtesy, Washington and Lee University Anthropology Department.
Do let me know whether you think it should be referred to as a "jug stacker" or a "collar"!


Dennis Allen said...

I like stacker because it points to the use of the object where collar does not.I love these little mysteries!

Oliver said...

I find "stacker" describes the purpose quite well.. Collar sounds too much like a vessel form descriptor. The important function is stacking..not collaring.

Liberty Stoneware said...

Thank you for your input! Now that I have typed "jug stacker" numerous times, I agree with the analysis. I think I have also been harboring a hesitation to use the word "jug" because I immediately think of English jugs-- or pitchers-- rather than bottles, but have not done enough advertising research to know whether a majority of American stoneware potters referred to their wares as "jugs" or "bottles"

Liberty Stoneware said...

However, "bottle stacker" does not roll off the tongue like "jug stacker"

Anonymous said...

This is a jug stacker. In southern Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) in Germany in the stoneware-production center of Duingen they call it "kuxe". The same kiln-furniture is used in Waldenburg in Saxony, Germany. Until know these objects are not securly dated, but we think, that they are used from the 18th until the early 20th centuries.

Dr. Andreas Heege, Zug, Switzerland

Liberty Stoneware said...

Herr Heege, I am very excited to learn what you know about jug stackers! I have learned that they were not used in England, or are not found archaeologically in the pottery manufacturing sites, so I wondered about the German origin of them. I would love to see photos of the ones from Germany, and look forward to reading the articles you sent me!

Rick Hamelin said...

I would like to suggest that they are called "shoulder collars". We have found here in Massachusetts several types of 19th century kiln furniture at several production sites dating from mid to late 19th century. There are wafers that display evidence of being placed onto the lip of a beer or ginger bottle and support the base of the top stacked bottle that strongly suggest another interpretation of the "bottle stacker" name. We also find the "dog bones" and they are positioned between the jugs, so they are also "jug stackers". The position of your "furniture" onto the shoulder of the jug suggests that "shoulder collar" as the more obvious name.