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Bottle repaired with wire mesh

Part of the collection: Folk ceramics

Popularization note

Oval bottle-shaped stoneware vessels, also called flasks, were used to hold oil, alcohol, vinegar, or paraffin. This type of glazed ceramics, usually made from a mixture of high-temperature clays fired above 1200º C, is an extremely sturdy and durable ware, useful in the household. The best-known 19th-century Prussian centre producing stoneware was Bolesławiec, a town that is now located in the Lower Silesian Province. Numerous ceramic factories were already operating there in the Middle Ages. In the 18th century, the local wares, especially those featuring the distinctive brown tones resulting from clay deposits with a high silicon and alumina content, were known throughout Prussia, Saxony, Poland and Russia. Bolesławiec's boom was fostered by the technological solutions developed by Johann Gottlieb Altmann (1780-1851) and the founding of a training school for the profession of potter-ceramicist. Given the colour and quality of the vessel, it is very likely that the featured bottle was made in Bolesławiec. The wire mesh on the bottle does not appear to be an original element but is evidence of later repair. In spite of the popularity of stoneware bottles and their presumably affordable price, many villagers and burghers belonging to the poorer gentry could not afford to buy ceramics very often. One of the methods used to prolong the service life of these items was wire-working, which involved tightly wrapping the vessel with a wire mesh that held the broken sherds together. This type of vessel repair was usually carried out by wandering tradesmen, called wire-workers, who travelled from village to village on horse-drawn carts, and frequently also on foot, offering their services to the locals by performing the work directly on the spot. Iwona Karwowska

Information about the object

Information about this object

Author / creator


Object type



pottery techniques


stoneware, glazing, metal

Origin / acquisition method


Creation time / dating

1850 — 1900

Creation / finding place

powstanie: Rzęskowo (województwo zachodniopomorskie), Królestwo Prus, państwo historyczne (Europa), Cesarstwo Niemieckie, państwo historyczne (Europa)


Muzeum Narodowe w Szczecinie

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