Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Material World of Early Springfield


Redware mixing bowl

c. 1830-1850
Recovered from the Edwards Place privy
Collection of the Illinois State Musem

This redware bowl represents the type of utilitarian crockery found in antebellum kitchens and workspaces; this type of ware would not be found on a dining table.

Redware is a low-fired earthenware, usually made of a soft, red clay coated in a clear lead glaze in order to render the vessels waterproof and easier to keep clean. Most redware vessels used in Springfield were made locally. Redware clays are abundant and easily accessible in the Midwest, and the utilitarian vessels they produced were too heavy and inexpensive to justify importing from other locations. This bowl was likely made at the Cotton Hill pottery of David Brunk and purchased at a local dry goods store.