The museum’s collection of 19th-century Norwalk-made redware and stoneware is one of the largest available for viewing by the public. Ubiquitous and utilitarian, redware and stoneware are now recognized as the “folk art” of their time.
Redware was the first pottery made in the American colonies. It was made from red clay found in most areas. Soft clay was pressed over a mold, which formed its shape. The notched rim was cut with a hand-held, wooden or metal coggle, a wheel designed for making decorative impressions. The inside of these wares were often decorated with a liquid white clay that was poured to form patterns, names, or sayings. To create a watertight surface, the interior was coated with a clear, lead glaze and fired.