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Crosse & Blackwell Crock

This stoneware crock bears the stamp of the Crosse & Blackwell Company of London. Having opened in 1706, the firm packaged a variety of foods including fruit preserves, jellies, chutneys, and mincemeat, the spicy, minced fruit filling used in pies and other desserts. Plum pudding was also a savory delicacy sold by the company and which by Victorian times had become a favorite holiday tradition. Early 20th-century documents refer to Crosse & Blackwell as a packaging company in England, but in regards to its worldwide trade, it was a wholesale house whereby the company bought goods from Canada and other regions and sold them under the Crosse and Blackwell name. Even today, the company continues to sell specialty foods.

One of two Crosse & Blackwell stoneware crocks recovered from the 1865 wreck of the SS Republic (the latter missing its lid), this jar may have held one of the many culinary delights produced by the company during this time. The limited number suggests they may have been intended for shipboard use, although it is quite possible they represent the remains of a once larger cargo bound for New Orleans, yet lost at sea.

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