Thursday, November 8, 2012

50 gal and 40 gal Crocks

     My brother Kerras came across these large crocks recently - a rare sight!!  
     The one on the left is 40-gallons and the other, with cover, is 50-gallons.  I've read the large crocks were called "self-draining" or "fermenting" crocks.  Each of these crocks have holes at the base where a spout would have fitted in. 

For more information regarding crocks and stoneware see:
( The text and images below comes from the above website )

Heavy Stoneware Manufacture in North America Once Thrived

     This site is a celebration of the determination and craftsmanship of ordinary people who created an industrial ceramic industry without equal in the middle of the vast and isolated Canadian prairies during the 1920s to 40s. Companies such as Medalta Potteries and Medicine Hat Potteries made huge quantities of stoneware utilitarian vessels before the age of plastic. These were times when Canadians and Americans were independent and made their own products and young people starting their working lives in community owned manufacturing facilities learning the pride of self sufficiency.
Would you like to be
able to make these
classic stoneware crocks?
     Today many of the classic shapes are once again very popular, especially with collectors. There is an active trade in these original pieces across North America and many pieces are now fetching high prices. Many potters would like to be able to make these again. However there is much more involved than you might think, modern ceramic industry uses completely different materials, fabrication and firing processes. The secrets of their manufacture are in danger of being lost, that is the reason for this site. In addition, most of the surviving pieces are not being used for utilitarian purposes because of their value, but also because they are not sanitary by modern standards. However you can use modern materials, processes and more care and attention than the original manufacturers could afford to give to create wonderful replicas that can be used in any home or kitchen today.
     Digitalfire Corporation creates chemistry and lab software and information products used by engineers around the world in the ceramic industry. The owner, Tony Hansen, grew up in the pottery town of Medicine Hat, Alberta and knew and worked with many key surviving figures in the industry from 1972 to 2003. Over many years he accumulated and archived a large body of material and gained a deep knowledge of the local clay materials, processes and equipment used to make these pieces. This site is dedicated to making this knowledge available now to anyone so the memory of the people and their stoneware will live on in a new generation.
     Coming soon we will have articles, patterns, recipes, artwork, historical drawings and catalogs, photos, packaging artwork and ideas, etc. to help you make and market pieces like these. There are hundreds of shapes and types of articles to choose from. You are going to need computer, mechanical, material, chemistry, equipment and fabrication and firing process knowledge to make this happen and we will help you get it.

Vitrified Heavy Bean Crock

     The master mold and a number of prototypes have been hand made by Tony Hansen. This crock is made from the same clays the original companies used. Even the glaze is made from local high iron bearing clays blended with feldspar and other fluxing minerals. We will release complete information on how to make this.
This vitrified crock is much more than just an extremely durable container, it is history. A besides, there is just no better way to make beans than in one of these!

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