Pfaltzgraff Northwinds Flat Cup
2 3/4 in
Pfaltzgraff Pottery was founded in 1811 by German potters in Pennsylania. In the early 1960’s, the business was renamed The Pfaltzgraff Company. And in 1967, the company introduced Yorktowne – considered to be the top selling table top pattern in history. The design of a blue flower on a gray background was borrowed from Pfaltzgraff’s 19th Century salt-glazed stoneware. At that time, salt-glazed stoneware was decorated using characteristic cobalt blue slip, a mixture of liquefied clay and cobalt pigment that could be brushed or stenciled onto the pieces in a variety of designs or labels. Because the decoration liquid was made of the same clay as the ware, during firing it would become part of the body of the piece insuring that it would not fade or wear off. Yorktowne’s pattern was based on these salt glazed, cobalt slip designs. Yorktowne continues to be manufactured today, however it is no longer made in the United States. In 2005 the company was sold to Lifetime Brands, and Yorktowne as well as the other Pfaltzgraff patterns, are now manufactured overseas. The last American made Yorktowne was manufactured in October 2005.
It Began With a Voyage
Johann George Pfaltzgraff was born in Germany in the early 1800’s. He learned the potter’s trade, but because of a restrictive guild situation he had trouble establishing himself. So he and his new bride Elenora decided to emigrate to Pennsylvania, perhaps on the urging of a relative named George Falsgraff who had been a potter there since 1811. Johann and Elenora boarded the Brig Charles Ferdinand in Germany in May 1833 and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland almost four months later. By 1835 they had established themselves in George Falsgraff’s home township of Conewago in York Country. Look at the two tax entries above. They are almost identical, detailing both men as potters living on 21 acres in Conewago Township, and owning one cow, presumably not the same cow!
In 1839 Johann George decided to grow his family business by moving to Freystown, a small community that is now incorporated into the east side of the City of York. The family remained there until 1848 when they moved back to a more rural location north and west of town. Johann George’s nephew Henry Miller eventually purchased the Freystown pottery. Four pieces of redware attributed to Miller have survived. However, as part of a research project into the history of The Pfaltzgraff Co., an archeological dig unearthed pottery shards that could date back to Johann George, and confirmed the exact location of the historic site. For more on the quest to find the Freystown pottery, click on “The Freystown Dig” at left.