I found this information years ago, with no credit on who wrote it, so if it's you, I apologize in advance. Just thought this was really informative, and wanted to share, as we have so many Redware pottery collectors. (A note: The redware we sell is all food safe.)
Redware Pottery is a porous earthenware product made from clay obtained locally in the New England area. It is found most often near local riverbanks, and can be tan, orange or red, depending on the clay's variation.
Typically redware was made up of 3 parts red lead, 1 part clay and 1 part sand or silica in a watery slip. These ingredients were mixed using a glaze mill or quern. Manganese and iron were added to give the glaze a specific color.
Most potters lived and worked on the same lot which might include one or two kilns, a workshop, a glaze mill and a house. This industry thrived between 1630 and 1880.
The American Revolution destroyed many thriving redware businesses by fire which occurred during war, leaving only a few to continue in the New England area. During this time in history, the public began to prefer salt glaze pottery as it was more durable and safer to use. The lead glaze used on redware in the early years was responsible for both sickness and death due to lead poisoning. However, in the New England area, the clay conducive to salt glaze stoneware making, was not available and most of the salt glaze stoneware potteries closed. Then, pewter began to be imported mid 19th century, and began being used for household use which caused the use of pottery to decline.
Now hundreds of years later, we treasure the redware available to us as decoration today. The primitive home is accented and warmed by redware, reminding us of a time period long past.
Colonial children played with marbles made of redware...wouldn't you love to find these in an antique shop now, and fill a jar with them?