Between the 1830’s and 1940s, when Pyrex and plastics took over, yellowware was a prominent and ubiquitous fixture in kitchens large and small all across America. Yellowware is a ceramic fired from the fine yellow clay lining riverbanks from New York in the Northeast to the Ohio Valley. It ranges in colour from corn or butter yellow to dark mustard, and its popularity was due to its low cost, sturdy design and durability - it could even withstand the heat of a wood stove or cooking range.

During the last 10 to 15 years, yellowware has attracted the attention of collectors and the values have increased. To identify an authentic piece of yellowware from other similar-looking forms, make sure that the piece has a clear glaze, only the base clay should be yellow. Yellowware is difficult to date accurately or determine its place of origin, because only a small percentage of approximately 5% of this pottery was marked. If you find a piece with the original potter's marking, expect to pay prices between 25% and 30% higher than for a comparable unmarked vessel. A simple method for determining whether a piece of Yellowware is British or American is to tap test. Tap it solidly with your fingertip. If it rings clearly, it is probably British; but if you hear a thud, the piece was most likely made in the United States.

Because the glaze on Yellowware contains lead, avoid using cracked pieces for food preparation. Even dishes in top condition should not be used for storing food in the refrigerator, preparing acidic foods, or for baking, because this may cause the lead to leach out of the glaze.

Yellowware was mostly used for mixing, baking, and storage rather than as tableware.
 
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Here are some common pieces:
 
Bowls
Sold in nested sets of six to eight pieces ranging from 3 to 17 inches inches diameter. Many pieces were decorated with coloured bands of slip, a clay derivative material mixed with flint and dyes. Collectors often seek complete sets, although the smallest and largest sizes are harder to find.
 
Nappies
Circular vessels with straight sides and no lips that were used for baking and serving.
 
Pie Plates
Found in four or five sizes; the rarest are larger than 10 inches in diameter.
 
Milk Pans
Similar to nappies but with a turned lip.
 
Moulds
In patterns like a stalk of corn, wheat, or a bunch of grapes.
 
Pitchers
Available in many sizes and shapes, from creamers to large ewers. Whether thrown or cast, they usually have applied handles and spouts.