What Was a Colonial Potter?

colonial-potter Credit: UIG via Getty Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

A colonial potter was an early American colonist who created pottery items as his trade. Much like a blacksmith makes items out of metals, a potter creates items out of feldspar, a type of rock that is used to produce clay.

A potter would most often use a flat, circular worktable that spins around a central pivot much like a top, called a potter's wheel, to shape and mold his clay. Sometimes, the potter's wheel wasn't needed, and the potter would simply use his thumbs. When the potter was finished, he would remove the item from the potter's wheel and place it in the sun to dry. The practice of commercial-scale pottery was founded in 1688 by Dr. Daniel Coxe.