Q: This was my great-grandmother's molasses ewer. I'm 83 years old, so there is no doubt it is an antique. The words "Troy N.Y. Pottery" are printed on it. It is about 11 inches high and is in good condition. Can you tell me something about the maker?
A: Stoneware jugs and ewers like yours were popular in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Troy, N.Y., was one of the centers of production and several potteries were located there. The city's location on the Erie Canal made it easy to transport pottery to the west. One of the important stoneware manufacturers in Troy was Israel Seymour, who began working in 1809. When he died in 1852, his son Walter took over the business and operated it until 1858. The pottery continued in business under several changes in ownership until about 1890. The "Troy N.Y. Pottery" mark was probably used by Walter Seymour or his successors. The blue design adds value to your ewer. It could be worth $100 to $500; a qualified appraiser would have to see it in person to give you a more precise value.