Bringing Reminders of Home

Image of German Staffordshire Plate
Image of German Staffordshire Plate detail
Image of German Staffordshire Plate detail
German-made plate reveals clues

Immigrating to a new land brought with it plenty of uncertainty. That may be why a German immigrant family brought items with them that reminded them of home. This transfer print plate, made in the style of Staffordshire, England, potters, was actually made by Villeroy & Boch, a German pottery firm. Villeroy & Boch hired potters from Staffordshire who were experienced in the technique of transfer printing. They decorated their plates with scenes of German towns like Mannheim, depicted here.

This plate is one of several found in pieces during the excavation of a McLean County site, dating from the late 1840s to the 1860s. The names of the people that lived there are unknown, but we can surmise they were part of the great migration from Germany to the Midwest in the mid-1800s because Villery & Boch pottery was likely not exported for sale in the United States. The residents probably brought it with them, giving us a clue to their country of origin, if not their names.

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