Monday, June 3, 2013

What a crock!


This week, I'm calling on all of you expert collectors out there to help me with two questions: What is this thing? And, what should I do with it?

My mom gave me this (very large and heavy) crock last time I was at my parents' house. My husband was really thrilled, I'll tell ya. One more thing to add to the collection of dishes, knickknacks and assorted furniture that is crowding our house at the moment. But I am a sucker for anything with a sense of history.

My mom bought two of these at an auction over 20 years ago for $17 each. (And yes, I'm sure I'll be taking the second one home too.) Originally my mom and I thought it was a butter churn (missing the lid), but (with a little googling), I see the butter churns tend to be a different shape.



It's pretty clear from the marking that this piece is stoneware from the Robinson Ransbottom Pottery Co. of Roseville, Ohio. The company began operation in 1900, and, by 1906, it was producing 12,000 gallons of stoneware a day. Ransbottom Pottery became the world's largest manufacturer of stoneware jars before it stopped producing in around 2007.

While googling, I found they sell something similar on the Williams-Sonoma website. Their crocks are actually made by Ohio Stoneware, the company that bought the Ransbottom Pottery equipment and continued making the same type of crocks. Williams-Sonoma calls them "classic stoneware pickling crocks." My crock is larger than the Williams-Sonoma offerings at 8 gallons.

Okay, so is it a butter churn? Is it a pickling crock? Or is it something else?

And does it matter? 

Because, let's face it, I won't be doing any of these things. So, what should I use it for? My mom suggested an umbrella stand, but I already have one of those. For years, Mom wanted to plant cacti in it, put plexiglass over it and make it a patio table, but she never got around to that. I'm thinking it would be better off indoors, anyway, so it doesn't get broken.

What do you think?



And by the way, Jolene is the ultimate photobombing champion. I can barely take a picture without her getting into it.


Linking up with these wonderful sites: Boogieboard Cottage and A Living Space and Remnant and Me and My Shadow and Sir Thrift A Lot and Hey What's for Dinner Mom? and Knick of Time and The Thrifty Groove  and The Cottage Market and Free Pretty Things and Apron Thrift Girl

50 comments:

  1. It's just a stoneware crock. These multi-purpose crocks are for storing kindling, magazines and newspapers, holding a small Christmas tree, making corned beef, sauerkraut, and pickles, or keeping beverages cold on ice.

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    1. Hmmm...magazines and newspapers...that could be dangerous, given my tendency to over-collect. But I like the Christmas tree idea and the beverages idea! Thanks!

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  2. Yes to the above post for sure-- and they are worth a mint! They had a bunch of crocks at that auction we went to & they fetched a pretty penny

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    1. That's always nice to know. ;) Thanks Taby!

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  3. I'm sorry, but I would be so tempted to make pickles in that crack just to see how they would turn out! I love getting back to making our own food and love pickling/canning projects. Other than that, it could be a great storage vessel that could go anywhere! Wishing you a wonderful week Jo! Angie xo

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    1. I am slow to the pickling/canning thing. I would definitely like to try more, but I will have to start small! ;)

      Have a wonderful week too Angie!

      Jo

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  4. I would have guessed it was a planter, glad more knowledgeable people led into that one. It's beautiful. So is your puppy :)

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    1. I think it would definitely work as a planter!

      And thank you. Jolene is a cutie. :)

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  5. I thought they were for butter too! My mom has a ridiculous amount of them in all sorts of sizes. They can be pricey!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that. :)

      What does your mom do with them all?

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  6. When we see them here they are typically labeled as Denver crocks, though I don't really know why...
    Whatever it's original use, it's cool!

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    1. Denver crocks...interesting. Thanks for commenting! :)

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  7. Oooh, I love it for an umbrella stand!

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    1. I like the idea too Mary, but I don't know what I would do with my actual umbrella stand. ;)

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  8. i have been looking for something just that shape and size (although i always thought it would be a basket, not a crock, but yours is so much better) to use as attractive shoe storage in the entryway. summer flip flops and canvas shoes and slippers tend to pile up and this would be so much more attractive. and with it being solid i would line the bottom with a bit of kitty litter to take care of odours and wetness. easily cleaned.

    please update us on what YOU finally decide, yes? =)

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    1. Hi Chrissy,

      That's a great idea! Except my kids would be tossing all the shoes on the floor to get to theirs. ;) Maybe I could just use it for my shoes?

      I will let you know when I decide. :)

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  9. Oh! it;s large! I thought it was flower pot size (and would suggest that) until I say it next to the photobomber! hah

    I have NO idea what it is.. or what to use it for.. but I like it :-)

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    1. Oh, maybe that's what Jolene is doing - offering perspective! ;)

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  10. Ha! Love your photobombing dog, what a cutie!

    No idea what the pot is, but who cares? It's lovely. I'd use it as an umbrella stand or filled with logs/kindling by the fire. I have a smaller British one which is helpfully labelled as a marmalade pot. I use it on the drainer with my washing up liquid, cloths and brushes but I guess this is too big? Maybe paintbrush or knitting storage if you're crafty?

    Thank you for linking up.

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    1. I guess Jolene is just in need of a little extra attention? ;)

      Knitting storage would work! Nice idea. :)

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  11. I have a few that I brought from home - I just have them placed in the family room - nothing in them - there are still more there - big ones like yours - they're worth a lot of $$$.

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    1. It's nice that they are worth lots, but I bet neither one of us is getting rid of them, eh Jill? ;)

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  12. I would store Jolene's dog food in there.

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    1. It's definitely a great size for her food, but we would need a lid or Jolene would eat her way through the whole thing. ;)

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  13. Oh I do like this how useful! ...over from magpie Monday

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  14. I think it's a fermenting crock to make sauerkraut and would originally have come with a lid. So now when you have a hankering to ferment some cabbage you have just the vessel to do it in!

    You could find a terra cotta pot that is the right size to sit suspended in it and have a nice plant stand.

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    1. It would take a lot of cabbage to fill that thing! I don't think I'm up to the task. ;)

      I could probably handle the plant stand. :)

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  15. they are actually made for fermenting--you chop veggies--slice them, salt them pound them and cover them for a few weeks and they make a fermented goodies-cabbage makes sauerkraut and so on--it just needs to be covered tightly to make sure it doesn't spoil

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    1. Probably not happening Laura. ;) Just being realistic. It will have to be purely decorative. :)

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  16. I would use it for a giant coffee cup :-)

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    1. Now that's a creative way to look at it Keith!

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  17. I love the your photo bombing pup! Jolene always looks like she is posing.

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  18. It's definitely a crock used for making pickles. My mom always used these for pickles and mincemeat. You put the pickles in with vinegar etc. put in a cool dark place and it ferments in the stoneware crock. You'd have to follow an old recipe to get it right for different types of pickles. Sometimes you fill up the crock with the cucumbers and brine and then change the brine every so often. Mom also made mincemeat in these crocks, and Dad has made mead (beer). Very handy! I fill mine with pinecones or poinsettias at Christmas. I would never put mine outdoors for fear of them getting broken. You don't see them so often anymore at the flea markets etc., so you've got a good find. Wendy :)

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    1. Beer, huh? Good one!

      I also like the pinecone idea!

      Thanks Wendy. :)

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  19. I have always LOVED these crocks. I always thought it was for butter too. I always wanted one and would probably use i for storing kindling if I could get a really big one.

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  20. Put in it whatever you want! Kindling, magazines, crafting stuff, greenery, rolled up towels in your bathroom, etc. The possibilities are endless!!

    Have you seen what those things go for in the antique malls? So nice of your mom to give you one:-)

    Erica

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  21. My mom has one that she's used for pickling since I can remember. So get to pickling, lady!

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  22. I second the magazine-holder idea. Amazing piece -- and yes, they can be quite pricey! Your mom sure does pass along some amazing stuff to you! ;)

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  23. It's definitely not a butter churn. Churns sort of curve in a bit at the top, and have an inner rim/lip to hold the wooden lid in place. As others have said, it's just a beautiful big crock, useful for all sorts of things. You really lucked out with this one, especially as it's marked.

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  24. Well It is very cool and I see you have gotten lots of info from others. I wouldn't know what it is, but I do like the umbrella stand use or a planter. Great crock! Thanks for sharing with us at TTF this week.

    Linda

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  25. My sister uses her as a trash can. of course she lives alone.. no kids
    use with a plastic liner or bag

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  26. Hi Joann, i have a smaller one filled with rocks from the beach in Cape Breton and lots of shells and sea glass from all over..

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    1. I REALLY love that idea! I might do that one day and then put a glass circle over the top for a side table. Thanks! :)

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  27. i have several of them in different sizes, passed down from relatives. it is NOT a kraut crock as they are different shape/color and have a lid. (i have one that i could take a picture of it you would like to see it).
    Your mother gave you quite a treat with this beauty.
    My son took one of my huge ones to put on his deck and made a fountain out of it. Luckily he took the only one that i had with a crack in it or i would have been a little upset that it was being kept outside. lol THey love it.
    I use one large one for a waste can in the kitchen, medium one for bath trash, large one for kindling for the fire place. lots of little ones just taking up space...oh i mean hiding lots of other little things that were taking up space.
    cat s

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  28. Love the crock...but Jolene sure steals the show : ) hugs and TFS!

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  29. I'm about to acquire one just like yours and i was thinking of putting some type of water feature mimicking sounds of a stream or waterfall and maybe some fish in it.

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  30. I stumbled on your post and found this article. http://www.17apart.com/2013/09/estate-finds-our-8-gallon-blue-crown.html
    I would keep it indoor also so that it would not get broken. I love thrift store shopping and finding vintage items.

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    1. Thanks for sharing the article Libby! They look just the same don't they? I have been using mine as an umbrella holder too...and using my umbrella holder to hold hats and scarves! I hope to do more shopping for vintage when the weather is nicer...maybe hit some outdoor garage sales and flea markets. Enjoy the hunt! Jo

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