18TH CENTURY PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH CAST IRON KITCHEN PRESS W/ RARE BIBLICAL MOTIFS - THOMAS POTTS
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We are proud to offer for sale this wonderful 18th century cast iron kitchen press with biblical motifs most likely Pennsylvania Dutch. Germanic immigrants were the most skilled iron workers in the Americas during the early 18th century. Many settled in PA and large Pennsylvania Dutch communities flourished. Cast iron forges we're a very labor intensive practice requiring many skilled laborers. The forges were coal fired and the molten iron was transferred and poured into sand molds. This early example is finely decorated with quintessential PA motifs. The press actuates with ease and has a delightful age appropriate consistent pitting. The press is 10 1/2" wide x 39" tall. The plates measure 10 1/2" x 5".
***** We've reviewed this with our SR council and feel it is more than likely a very rare early example by PA iron forge master Thomas Potts. There were very few furnaces operating this early at this level and when we revisited the initials vertically we note the TP, and IF. Thomas Potts assumed control of Colebrookdale Furnace from proprietor Thomas Rutter in 1725 until his death in 1752. The "Bible in Iron" is the quintessential resource book when studying early American iron works but unfortunately features mainly fire backs and jamb stove plates.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Forges and Furnaces papers (collection 212) is another exemplary collection of resources and knowledge. Below a short excerpt on naming of forges.
"Eighteenth and nineteenth century ironwork naming conventions present some difficulty in correctly identifying ironworks in general and using the forge and furnace books in the collection specifically. With an unlimited number of names to call their works, ironmasters on the whole proved fairly unimaginative in providing unique names. Often given the name of the stream on which they were located or the builder’s or a major investor’s wife, many ironworks in Pennsylvania had the same name. Mt. Joy, Mary Ann, Mt. Pleasant, Oley, Pool, Elizabeth, Colebrook, Union, Hopewell, Reading, Speedwell, and Spring are all repeated by different owners. Almost all ironworks were also known locally by the owner’s name and numerous examples exist. Hence, Oley Forge was called “Lesher’s,” Rebecca Furnace was known as “Peirsol’s Furnace,” Vincent Forge was known as “Young’s Forge,” and so forth. This however, creates some identification problems when the owners had more than one ironwork in the same area at the same time. During the 1777 Philadelphia Campaign, Washington’s orders noted Gen. Maxwell was at “Potts’ Forge,” which created some disagreement among later researchers as to which Potts forge he meant "
Colebrookdale furnace was situated on Ironstone creek waterway and isn't a stretch to draw the connection between Thomas Potts and Ironstone furnace. The hearts, tulips, and sun design are on par with fire back and jamb plates being produced by the furnace.