Pfaltzgraff - A Beginner's Guide to Collecting September 13 2014
Immigrant Craft Beginnings
The Pfaltzgraff tradition of pottery got its start in the early 1810’s when German immigrant George Pfaltzgraff and a few family members began making stoneware and redware pottery in the York area of Pennsylvania. They produced utilitarian housewares such as crocks, jugs, and pots until 1913. The natural clay deposits found in Pennsylvania helped them create the grey salt glaze and redware vessels that were so necessary for food storage during the time. Some art pottery was also made by Pfaltzgraff between 1931 and 1937; also during this time, the first kitchenware was introduced.
As a Collectible
From these modest beginnings Pfaltzgraff has grown into a major manufacturer of stoneware, pottery and ceramics. Known for offering numerous accessories in each pattern and its unique glazing technique, Pfaltzgraff stoneware is now quite popular with collectors.
Pfaltzgraff has acquired a reputation for beautiful, high-quality dinnerware, serving pieces and accessories, earning a loyal following of collectors. Collectors appreciate Phaltzgraff dinnerware collections for their utility as well as, their appearance. Some collectors focus on collecting just one specific patterns while other collectors are more interested in collecting Pfaltzgraff as an American folk art.
Original crocks and jugs from The Pfaltzgraff Co. inspired the Yorktowne dinnerware pattern, a classic stoneware collection that was introduced in 1967. The pattern features deep blue, hand-painted floral motif that gives some dimension to the smooth glaze reminiscent of the early salt-glaze techniques.
One of the most popular patterns which was established in 1985, Tea Rose is known for evoking a traditional touch of the English countryside. It features scalloped edges and delicate hand-painted watercolor roses.
Tips for Dating Pfaltzgraff Pieces
Distinguishing hallmarks were stamped into the stoneware at different production periods.
- Early pieces were marked "Pfaltzgraff Stoneware co. LTD York Penna."
- In the 1930s, a large "P" and "YORK" were used.
- In the 1960s, a mark of the Pfaltzgraff family castle appeared on the back of pieces.
As for dinnerware, certain names can be clues to age.
- Gourmet Oven Ware and Provincial Gourmet appeared in the 1940s and '50s.
- Heritage, the oldest pattern of dinnerware still in production, was introduced in 1963.
- The Yorktowne pattern began production in 1967.