A Rare Stoneware Miner's Water Jar

Southwestern Pennsylvania or Southeastern Ohio, circa 1840s

an unglazed stoneware vasiform open mouthed jar, with high elaborately tooled rim, and two applied rope handles. 

Height 16 inches.

While the history of this remarkable watercooler is lost to time, the cobalt script Miner's Water Pot leaves no doubt of its intended use, and is further emphasized with the word Miner in cobalt-filled incised block lettering below. A stylized device featuring leaves and flower pods in cobalt completes the decoration on the front; similar floral devices, though with drooping flowers, decorate the sides. The back side of the jar is decorated with a large bird standing on a floral device. Cobalt also decorates the base of each handle at the point of application to the body.

Though unmarked, the decorative elements of this jar suggest a southeastern Ohio origin. Coal mining began in this part of Ohio as early as 1800, and active mines were located in Meigs county by 1806. By 1820, 10 southeastern counties were mining coal. Mining accelerated thereafter, and by 1870, 30 eastern Ohio counties were producing coal.  

Coal mining in the Pittsburgh area has a similarly hoary past. By the late 18th century coal was being mined at "Coal Hill," just across the Monongahela River from present-day Pittsburgh, and by 1830 the city was consuming 300 tons of locally-mined coal on an annual basis.

A remarkable survivor. 



Rim with numerous chips, body of vessel with variable small spalling; underside of base with chipping, rear of vessel with several visible cracks.

Estimate: $600 - $800
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

Internet Bidding

Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us


Cowan’s Cincinnati Office offers an in-house, full-service shipping department which is unparalleled in the auction industry. Shipping costs are provided with your finalized invoice 24-48 hours after auction. For furniture and oversized items, we recommend using third-party services. For more information, click HERE or contact cowansshipping@hindmanauctions.com.  

NOTE: All pickups and preview are by appointment only. To make an appointment, please call 513-871-1670 or email cincinnati@hindmanauctions.com