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American Tobies



TOBY JUGS WERE first made in England in the 18th century. The Toby jug is a caricature of a fat man with shoulder-length curly hair. The figure is usually seated and wears a three-cornered hat and holds a pipe or ale mug in his hand. Sometimes he is smiling and again he leers or scowls. The name Toby was probably an 18th-century title for those who frequented the alehouse, since Toby jugs were made by Whieldon before Stern created the jovial Uncle Toby in Tristram Shandy. At any rate these caricatures of Toby Philipot became popular and were made by many English potteries. The first Toby was made by John Astbury before 1743, and other English potters who made Tobies were Whieldon and Ralph Woodabout 1765-Enoch Wood, Wilson, Voyez, Copeland and Garrett, and Davenport, and from 1832 by Doulton. The English Toby was usually decorated with bright-colored glazes in blue, yellow-green, yellow, tan, black, and rose red. However, the Whieldon Tobies have the typical Whieldon mottling, and several Tobies were made in brown Rockingham, including the "Wellington" and the "Snuff Taker." They range in size from 1 inch to 18 inches in height, but the average is about 10 inches. Miniature Tobies and Toby mustard pots were also made.

The earliest Tobies made no attempt at portraiture, but bore such names as "Night Watchman," "Jolly Good Fellow," "Post Boy," "Falstaff," and "Inn Keeper." However, later, portraiture was introduced as a sales procedure, and a caricature of George II was made. Few portraits were attempted in the 18th century, although one of Lord Rodnev was made in y8o and one of Lord Howe in 1790, but portrait Tobies did not become popular until the 19th century. They were also made full length. English 19th-century Tobies included Mr. Pickwick, Gladstone, Nelson, and Napoleon, The demand for these early English Tobies has been so great that the price of a really fine one is out of range of the average collector. Moreover there are few to be had and since fake reproductions and late copies flood the market the Toby collector must beware. For these reasons the collector interested in the quaint charm of the Toby would do well to look to another field of interest and consider the American Toby. American Tobies followed the tradition of the English; in fact, some of the oldest American brown Rockingham Tobies seem to be exact reproductions of the English "Snuff Taker" and "Wellington" jugs.

The earliest American Tobies were made of Rockingham ware or stoneware with a Rockingham glaze, and the earliest known American Toby was made at Jersey City in about 1830 and is marked "D & J Henderson Jersey City N. J." It is a large Toby and holds a well-defined jug. A similar Toby was made at Salamander Works, Woodbridge, New Jersey, between 1842 and 1850. In about 1840 Daniel Greenbach made a Rockingham Toby for the American Pottery Company at Jersey City. It has a typical Toby head, but the lower part is divided into panels with floral decoration. It is light in color and is marked "American Pottery Co., Jersey City, N. J." A later owner of the pottery works discovered old molds for four different varieties and sizes of Tobies, but not all of these have been identified or traced to the Jersey City works.

Three types of Rockingham and flint-enamel Tobies were made at Bennington by Lyman Fenton & Co. between 1849 and 1858. The wellknown snuff Toby was made at this time. It is a small sitting figure with a wide-brimmed hat and holds a cup and a jug. He sits with one foot crossed under the other. A Toby jug with a bent leg for a handle is often called the Franklin Toby. However, the costume is not contemporary with Franklin and his time, and the jug was probably only a caricature. The other Lyman, Fenton & Co. Toby is a seated figure holding a glass. The Wellington Toby made at Bennington is almost identical to the one made in England. Bennington Tobies have a flat bottom and often a grapevine handle. A later Rockingham Toby represents a full figure of a fat man standing. It may have been made at any of a dozen later factories, for Rockingham Tobies were a part of the stock in trade of W. H. P. Benton of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1858; of Swan Hill Pottery, South Amboy, New Jersey, in 1849 to 1852; of Enoch Wood, Perth Amboy, in 1865; and of Port Richmond Pottery Co., Philadelphia, in 1868, as well as of dozens of other small potteries.

In 1848 R. Bagnall Beach of Philadelphia, who had been trained in the Wedgwood potteries in England, made a Rockingham Toby or jug of a head of Daniel O'Connell, the Irish patriot. It was a good likeness and was later copied in 1851 by Thomas Haig of Philadelphia.

In 1848 a large I3-inch Rockingham Toby was made representing the head of Zachary Taylor. Part of the lettering remains which identifies the subject matter, but the maker is unknown. This is a rare jug and is men tioned here only for documental purposes, since the collector has little chance of finding such a jug.

It is a far cry from the ordinary brown chophouse jug made of Roclcingham by 19th-century American potters to the late glazed-earthenware portrait Tobies of American heroes. However, although these late Tobies are hardly within the sphere of antiques, they are no farther off the collecting track than much of the glass and china and other Victorian objects which are being collected. There were enough of these portrait Tobies produced to make them available today yet the quantity is sufficiently limited to make diligent search necessary.

The earliest of the American portrait Tobies is the Napoleon made by the Columbian Potteries of Philadelphia in 1876. This is often mistaken and sold for an old Staffordshire Toby, and since it is not marked the mistake is difficult to detect.

In 1892 J. S. W. Starkey, a potter of East Liverpool, Ohio, made glazedearthenware portrait Tobies of Pope Leo XIII, Washington, and William Penn. The first two were heads, but the William Penn is a full-length figure. They were made at the East Liverpool Art Pottery. There were thirty dozen of Washington made, twenty-five dozen of Pope Leo XIII, but only a few of the William Penn jug, which makes it the rare and scarce item. The Pope Leo XIII is 8 1/2 inches in height and is a good likeness and on the hat is impressed "Leo XIIL"

In 1896 the Edwin Bennett Pottery Co., of Baltimore made a crude McKinley Toby with a likeness that can hardly be distinguished.

In 1896 Isaac Broome modeled porcelain Tobies of George Washington for Lenox Potteries in New Jersey. These were made in several sizes. Lenox also made a William Penn Toby which was modeled by W. W, Gallimore. These are easily recognized because they are excellent likenesses. The William Penn Toby is a three-quarter-length figure and has a handle with an Indian head and feathers.

A portrait of Theodore Roosevelt hunting big game was made by Lenox at the close of Roosevelt's last term in office in 1909. It was designed by Edward Penfield and modeled by Isaac Broome and depicts Roosevelt in hunting costume with a book inscribed "Africa." The handle of the jug is an elephant's head, and the coloring and portraiture are good. Both the Roosevelt and Penn Tobies made at Lenox are well worth collecting for their fine workmanship and design as well as historical interest.

A brown salt-glaze Toby of Roosevelt was also made by Doulton & Watts of England in 1910.

After the First World War a series of portrait Tobies were made of the English, French, and American heroes. They were designed by Sir F. Carruthers Gould, modeled by A. J. Wilkinson, and made at the Royal Staffordshire Pottery. The only American hero represented was Woodrow Wilson, and only five hundred jugs of his head were made. It is not a very attractive jug, but since the molds were destroyed it will some day be valuable.

As late as 1928 the Patriotic Potteries Association of Philadelphia had jugs made with the portraits of Hoover and Alfred Smith. They are white and were made in china by the Onondaga Pottery Company of Syracuse, New York, and in earthernware by the Owen China Company of Minerva, Ohio. The earthenware Tobies are harder to find because only seven thousand were made, while twenty-five thousand china jugs were made. They all have printed autographs along their bases.



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