Rarely did anyone bother to write about pottery making during America’s early days. One who did was Nathan Clark, working from 1839 to 1851 in Rochester, NY. He wrote “Rules for Making & Burning Stone Ware.”
1st. Let the wheelman be careful to have every piece run exactly true on the wheel. Make them of a kind precisely of the same height & width. Have the ware turned light, of a handsome shape, smooth inside & outside, the bottom a suitable thickness, and a good top.
2nd. Let it be handsomely & smoothly polished in proper season.
3rd. Let the ware when dry be carefully set in the loft washed and blued.
4th. Let the plats be well made, Kiln cleaned out and mended in complete order for setting.
5th. Care must be taken to set the courses plum and one piece exactly over the other.
6th. Have your wood in good order, raise your fire progressively, neither too fast nor too slow. Examine well & understand the management of your Kiln so as to heat all parts alike. Be careful not to throw your wood in the arches too soon or do any other act that may have a tendency to retard the heat. When fit to glaze have your salt dry. Scatter it well in every part of your Kiln (during this act you must keep a full and clear blaze so as to accelerate the glazing and give the ware a bright gloss). Stop it perfectly tight and in six days you may draw a good kiln of ware.
The Art of the Potter. Diana and J. Garrison Stradling. Main Street-Universe Books/New York. 1977.