Antique hand thrown British grey stoneware Puzzle Jug with green-tinged translucent alkaline glaze impressed with 'Gentlemen Drink & Let Your Skill be Tested & Forfeit Made If Anything Be Wasted' in Printers Type on its front (see all 15 Photos). It has a serrated rim (Photos 1 and 12), four spouts (Photos 1 and 4), twelve hand carved cut-outs decorating its neck (Photos 1, 2, 11, 12), and a cordoned band accenting its shoulder (Photos 2, 3). And this British stoneware jug dates from the 1820 to 1860 period, hence the c1840 mid-date, although its strongly pronounced bellied shape is much more reminiscent of jugs and mugs of the 1600s or early 1700s than the 1800s.
Puzzle jugs were special novelty vessels produced by potters to amused drinkers and travelers in local taverns, pubs and inns across Great Britain and America since the 1600s before falling out of fashion in the late 1800s. They were produced in delftware, fine white salt-glaze, slip decorated redware, Agateware, brown stoneware, creamware, pearlware, whiteware and other clay body variants. Puzzle jugs were also produced in Europe in Faience and delftware, too. Designs were not standardized and puzzle jugs sported from three to seven spouts along with perforated or carved openwork on their necks to prevent drinking or pouring from them in the usual way. Instead, the user had to figure out how to plug all but one of the spouts along with a special hidden extra hole before they could use the proper remaining spout to siphon the beverage up a special tube concealed in the handle. Typically, only one special combination would work properly. Of course, once a novice inductee learned its secret, the puzzle jug lost its mystery. I leave it to the viewer to find the extra hole which is clearly shown in one of the Photos. And so one cannot help but believe that puzzle jugs were best imposed on the traveling visitor, newly inducted tavern guest, or foreign tourist.
Puzzle jugs were often associated with friendly wagers, too. The impressed saying on the face of this jug alludes to this practice with the understanding that the user would forfeit their wager if they were unsuccessful and wasted the jug's contents. And because this jug was typical at the center of attention among those encouraging others to try their skill at imbibing various alcoholic beverages and local concoctions, it has suffered a few mishaps and accidents over the past centuries. The jug's carved serrated rim shows some of the damage this jug has sustained (Photos 1, 4, 12), and more details on its Condition are provided further below. Importantly, the jug's main body is fully intact and has no cracks, repairs or hairlines probably due to being thickly potted (jug empty weighs 2 ¾ lbs, see full Condition notes farther below).
British earthenware and stoneware with sayings impressed into them using printers' type occur from the mid 1700s on into the late 1800s. Some of these impressed typeset local ceramics have been assigned their own label, and Sussex ware is one such earthenware example that also takes 'printers type' impressed decoration to a higher level by infilling the impressions with white pipe clay that contrasted dramatically against the dark red clay. So if you are looking for a wonderful antique stoneware puzzle jug that is more than 160 years old, then make sure you seriously consider this one while it is still available. And as always, this jug also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy (see complete Return Policy details farther below). You also have the option to ask for a customized lay-away plan for purchasing this item and others when combining orders in my shop by simply requesting the terms you wish to use and then let Doc set it up.
SIZE & CONDITION: This antique stoneware puzzle jug measures about 8 inches tall, has a rim diameter of about 3 1/4 inches across, a base diameter of 3 3/8 inches, and measures a maximum 6 inches across from outer most handle edge across to outermost spout tip (Photo 4). It rests on a base that is glaze free and gently pushed up in the center to create an outer base edge on which to seat the jug. The base also has traces of very fine concentric turning rings caused by granular impurities and sand grains in the clay matrix (Photo 10), and some traces of ferruginous kiln drippings and firing contact scars (Photo 10). This jug weighs about 2 3/4 lbs empty and its capacity is not measured due to the neck cut outs. Final shipping weight after proper packing is about 4 1/2 lbs empty. And as the Photo help indicate, this jug is in good condition with no body cracks, hairlines, deep scratches, heavy wear, major stains or other types of major damage to its body or rim with but three important declarations: (1) its carved serrated rim has chips to nine of the pointed rim tips (Photo 1, 4, 12), (2) one spout has been knocked off (detached as a single piece) and then subsequently reattached using an unknown clear adhesive with no cosmetic overpainting (see Photo 15, pencil points to visible reattached break fissure), and (3) damage to its handle that has been professionally repaired and overpainted so that the extent of damage is not known and not visible (see Photos 13 and 14). This repair is so well done that I did not see it at the time I purchased the jug, and carried it around by the handle until discovering this repair while examining the jug in detail for this listing. How strong and permanent the repaired handle is and how much weight it can sustain is unknown since the extent of the damage is not visible. And so, I leave it up to the next owner to determine on their own whether and how they wish to favor handling this jug, too. The full main body of this jug is intact with no hairlines or cracks from its base and foot all the way up to its rim as the Photos help reveal. This is because the jug is stoneware and comparatively thickly potted. Chips are also minimal and solely restricted to the serrated rim. Beyond that, the damage is restricted to simply one spout, a professionally repaired handle, and minor rim chips on some of the serrated points. Satisfaction guaranteed or send it back for a refund as per my complete refund policy. And so if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return this jug for a refund so long as it is set back in exactly the same condition as originally listed here and has sustained no new damage from shipping, delivery or your own accidents (see our complete return policy for all details as stated below). Lastly, we pack professionally and have had no shipping casualties in years.
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $13.80 for well packed USPS Priority Mail and this is an estimated savings of $3 to $8 since insurance and tracking are INCLUDED in this amount. That is, this is less than the actual insured shipping costs we expect to spend or we refund the difference back to you, and there are never any handling or packing fees added to any of your Docs Antiques purchases, ever. All international buyers will also pay less than the actual shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the Continental US mainland. Send us your complete full address details and then we will email you several options for sending this item to your address and country. These are estimated to range from about $63 USD up to $79+ USD depending on shipping choice and final destination. Importantly, all VAT, Customs fees, import taxes, and tariffs are NOT INCLUDED our shipping costs and, therefore, are always the buyer’s responsibility. Please check with your country's Customs Office to determine what additional Custom’s charges, taxes and tariffs are anticipated prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques listings here on Ruby Lane. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with a purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within fifteen days of the original receipt of the item at your address for a refund. Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we pack professionally, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary. Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help if you have any questions and we will gladly assist.
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Checks on US Banks (no temporary checks, all checks must have 9 digit routing code; item ships after check fully clears), USPS money orders, PayPal, or contact us with your verified address for more options. If you wish to use a credit card by way of PayPal, then that option becomes available after you submit a Ruby Lane purchase order. Once submitted, a PayPal icon will appear at the bottom of this listing and then you may proceed from there if you wish to pay via PayPal by way of a credit card. Or see our Terms of Sale for additional information should you wish to ask for a customized layaway plan customized to your own needs and situation (email me a request for a customized layaway). Thanks for looking and we invite you back again when you have more time.
Item ID: RL984.a