Kovels’ book and Godden’s index of symbols and images allows archaeologists to search by image rather than by company name.
The Society for Historical Archaeology published an extensive list of marks from American factories in East Liverpool, Ohio and is particularly good for companies manufacturing from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.
We recently came across a mark that was unfamiliar and set out to identify it. In order to get as much input and range of terms as possible we asked everyone in the Archaeology Department how they would describe the design on the back of these pearlware sherds.
Without any text on the sherds we had to come up with descriptive terms to search for it in the mark encyclopedias. Each suggestion was used as a search term in both the printed encyclopedias and internet searches.
This allows us to make the interpretation that this ceramic vessel was most likely associated with the early Cobbs family household or the enslaved individuals living on the property at that time.
In the early 1840s the British government created a standardized patent mark, known as a registry mark, for pottery companies and was in use until the early 1880s.
The various components of these marks identify the year, month, and day a vessel was produced, making them incredibly valuable to archaeologists and collectors alike.
This mark, when unaccompanied by an additional printed mark, dates from 1828 to 1841, the span of operation for Heath’s company. was located in the town of Tunstall, the northernmost town of the Staffordshire Potteries in England.
Heath’s company produced earthenwares, including printed vessels displaying American historical vistas.
These marks identify when the ceramics were produced and therefore help archaeologists determine the age of archaeological contexts.