German immigrants brought the redware craft to Montgomery County in the eighteenth century. Their unique designs made their redware iconic.
Pottery is one of the oldest crafts in Montgomery County. When Germans arrived in the eighteenth century, they brought the redware craft with them. Using clay that possessed a considerable amount of iron oxide, the pottery turned red after it was fired in the kiln, hence the name “redware.” These potters created designs and techniques that were replicated often by potters in later decades.
The three large plates at the bottom of the case were loans from Holly Cairns. They were made by her mother and grandmother, June Keyser Adams and Mildred Keyser, who owned Brookcroft Pottery. These plates are made in the distictive style of Pennsylvania German redware pottery. The Brookcroft Pottery was located at the family's home on Butler Pike in the late 1930s. Brookcroft pieces were signed on the bottom with a stylized pine tree and either an "A" or a "K" for the potter who made the idividual piece. The small jelly jar at the top of the case was also made at Brookcroft Pottery, but is part of HSMC's collection. It is a example of sgraffito. This technique is used to remove a surface layer to reveal a contrasting base color of the pottery.
The smaller plate to the left of the jelly jar is an example of slipware. Donor records suggest it may have been made by Jacob Medinger, a redware potter from Neiffer. Medinger was born in 1856. He is considered to be the last of the original redware Pennsylvania-German potters in Montgomery County. He died in 1932 when his clothes caught fire from his kiln, causing severe burns.
The two vases on the sides of the case are believed to have been used at Valley Forge during the 1777-1778 winter encampment. The donor did not state what the vases were used for, but given the aged look of them, the vases likely date sometime from 1770 to 1830s.