Skip to comments.Orange-Red Vintage Art Pottery Glazes -- Chrome Red or Uranium?
Posted on 05/11/2010 7:07:04 AM PDT by jay1949
Did North Carolina potteries use uranium oxide glazes in the pre-WWII art pottery era? For a long time many students of North Carolina art pottery have held that they did, but this author has been unable to find any verifiable example of such a glaze. There are many examples of chromium oxide red-orange glazes, of course, and the colors of these glazes can be very similar. However, chromium oxide is not radioactive -- uranium oxide is, even in a glaze -- and chromium oxide does not glow under ultraviolet light, while uranium oxide glazes often do fluoresce in the presence of UV light.
(Excerpt) Read more at backcountrynotes.com ...
“The government needed the Uranium that was used to make the red glaze during World War Two, so red was given up for the war effort, until March of 1959, when you could once again purchase uranium oxide in the hills of West Virginia.”
Were actual dishes and cups ever made from this?
Was RED Fiestaware ever actually radioactive???
My mom was a long-time collector of the dark orange/brown Roseville pottery. They were made in Roseville, Ohio, but I wonder what was used to color those?
Yes. There are links in the references in my article and one is also provided in a comment above. Dishes, cups, pitchers, etc., all were made with uranium glazes and were intended to be used.
Very. Ironically, the most radioactive ware was Fiesta Red made by Homer Laughlin from 1959 to 1972, using depleted uranium which the Atomic Energy Commission had made available for commercial use; depleted uranium is far more radioactive and toxic than sodium uranate and resulted in glazes that produced radon.
I don’t think so.
I don’t know about that particular Roseville glaze, but Roseville did use uranium in some of its glazes. See: http://www.jstor.org/pss/1506809
Check these out:
Has anyone ever done any longitudinal studies on the physical health problems of longtime collectors of this radioactive collectable?
I believe it was but they fixed it since. My sons physics class took a Geiger counter to some other red/orange dishware (3 yrs ago) and it was radioactive.
Sure, and I saw a collection of it displayed under UV light — talk about yer eerie green glow!
We recently visited the CRHEST museum in the Tri Cities area, and they have a hands on display with various items where you can wave a geiger counter. There were common household items like glow watch faces and red Fiesta ware. By far, the most clicks came from the Fiesta ware. I remember thinking how odd that was. Fun waving the geiger counter, I had always wanted to do that.
By the way, are you familiar with this volume on America's founding principles? Its Editors/Publisher were/are from the pottery area in North Carolina about which you often write.
Keep up the wonderful work!
Preservation of the ideas of liberty, as well as retelling the wonderful history of those who populated and made America the greatest bastion of freedom on earth are important contributions for future generations.
The traditional potters of North Carolina played, and are playing, an important role in the economy of their particular locations, using their liberty to create beauty, art, useful wares, and carry on the traditions of their ancestors. Adam Smith would be proud of them.
Well, truth is, the FDA did get concerned once it found that Fiesta Red was producing RADON! Compare this to the FDA anti-lead-glaze campaign — there is virtually no evidence that domestically-produced lead-glazed dinnerware is harmful. There were two cases of fatal lead poisoning in the late 60s or early 70s — one from a Mexican-made pot, another from a cup someone’s kid had made in an art class. The 1970s FDA “lead scare” drove many excellent art pottery glazes from the market. They go around and check all the studio potteries every year — including the mom-n-pop shop my sister and brother-in-law run in North Carolina. This shop produces only stoneware, fired at high temperatures, and lead is NEVER used in high-range stoneware glazes because it simply volatilizes out of the glaze mix in the kiln. Even if there were lead in the glaze to start with, it would be gone when the firing process is finished. But a small army of tax-money-funded bureaucrats runs around testing stoneware just to make sure.
But uranium oxide? Well . . . the government was ~selling~ it, you see . . . .
What’s not to like about that?
Self cleaning, kills germs and bacteria, and the food stays hot longer...
I was in Seagrove last week. It is a beautiful rural area. We bought some lovely pottery, had a great time.
Their descendants, as well as others who have moved into the area, have sustained and revived the tradition, and they are contributing to the economy of the entire area.
By the way, check out the historical work mentioned in my previous post. Coincidentally, your "lovely pottery" and this volume on liberty were created in the same area you visited.
I feel safe with domestic pottery and dish ware. As has been posted Fiesta fixed the problem long ago. The orange dishware that proved radioactive was I believe imported. My son brought a Geiger counter home so we tested our dishes and found nothing bad. I own some Fiesta ware and I plan to buy more.
Did North Carolina potteries use uranium oxide glazes in the pre-WWII art pottery era?Staff and attendees of the Antiques Road Show should start dropping like flies any minute.
Well then you know that "eerie green glow" comes from the Uranium content. I happen to think it's awesome!
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