These shapely vessels boast as much history as they do style
Long before Tupperware, there was stoneware, nonporous vessels made from clay fired at high temperatures and salt-glazed for a smooth surface. Tucked away in cellars and kitchens, stoneware crocks stored everything from syrups to pickled vegetables—and thanks to rich clay deposits found nationwide, stoneware potteries became regional fixtures. As time went on and ceramic techniques evolved, American potteries became famous for everything from handmade wall tile to mass-produced dishware. These pitchers showcase the art and industry of nine potteries with deep roots, whether because they've been around for decades or feature designs with a home-grown history. Take your pick.
Bauer was known for colorful dishware and garden-pot designs from the 1880s through the 1960s. Revived in 1998, it now issues castings of original releases. The Russel Wright American Modern line reproduces classic modernist pieces by the designer circa 1939 to 1959.
About $90; bauerpottery.com
The more than 200-year-old pottery, established in 1809, is still owned by the same family, now six generations in. Bybee makes its stoneware the way it always has, using clay mined near the Kentucky River. This pitcher, cast in a mold made from a classic hand-thrown piece, shows off the pottery's signature Bybee Blue glaze.
About $32; bybeepottery.com
The Louisville Stoneware pottery has flourished under several different names and owners since it was established in 1815. The hand-painted Bachelor Button design on this cast pitcher was created by artist Edith Ellis in the 1940s, making it the pottery's oldest pattern still in production.
About $55; louisvillestoneware.com
The Bennington area was a hotbed of pottery manufacture from the Revolutionary War era until the early 1900s. Inspired to keep the art alive, young potter David Gil founded Bennington Potters in 1948 to carry on the tradition. This cast pitcher, based on 19th-century designs, has a matte green glaze.
About $50; benningtonpotters.com
Red Wing, Minnesota
This pottery originally ran from 1877 to 1967. Revived in 1984, it now replicates its early salt- and zinc-glazed releases. That even includes mimicking the original clay, once locally sourced, with a blend of American clays. This zinc-glazed cherry-band pitcher is a slip-cast replica of a 1914 piece, complete with the iconic Red Wing logo.
About $29; redwingstoneware.com
Founded in 1948, Heath creates hallmarks of mid-century design. All the lines, from tableware to house numbers, are made in the original factory. The company uses the unique clay formula developed by founder Edith Heath; it allows for an energy-saving, low-temperature kiln firing that results in pottery as durable as porcelain.
About $72, heathceramics.com
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
This Southern pottery, operated by the same family that founded it in 1928, employs the same mixed-glaze technique created back then to give pieces a multi-layered style.This hand-thrown pitcher in Spring Green is glazed using a three- part process—dipped twice, then sprayed—for a mercurial, opalescent look.
About $50; shearwaterpottery.com
Queens, New York
Though KleinReid is a relative newcomer, only established in 1993, these porcelain pitchers bear the mark of artistic legend Eva Zeisel, with whom they were designed in 2002 as part of an eight-piece line. The pitchers are created in the late artist's signature curvy style. Their yin-yang forms allow them to fit together, taking up less space when displayed on the counter.
About $315 per pair; kleinreid.com