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Saggers and Sagger Pins
Most of the vintage plates, platters, saucers and other pieces of tableware made in the area will have three pin marks on the reverse. The plate shown was made by the Homer Laughlin China Co. in Newell in the 1970s. The three arrows point to the pin marks left behind after being fired in a sagger - a fireproof container which held the plates in stacks and protected them during the firing process.

These marks are not considered damage, but part of the normal production process. Larger hollowware items such as creamers, sugar bases, teapot bases, casserole basses, etc. generally will not have sagger pin marks. They were almost always made with wiped, unglazed bottoms resulting in a ring of exposed clay. Such pieces are commonly said to have a "dry foot."

Some potteries made their own saggers, others purchased them from supply and refractory companies. Today, the existing potteries such as Homer Laughlin and Hall China don't use saggers and every piece, flat or hollow, has a wiped, dry foot.



A dinner plate sagger with pins recovered from the
Taylor, Smith & Taylor Co. before the plant was demolished.

A sagger filled with saucers. This is part of a display
at the Museum of Ceramics in East Liverpool, Ohio.


Vintage Homer Laughlin postcard showing saggers being loaded into bottle kilns.


This image comes from an undated catalog put out by the Potters Supply Company of East Liverpool.
Besides selling different types of saggers, they carried various sizes of sagger pins, spurs, and stilts.


Here are the backs of two Fiesta saucers. The example on the left has a "wet foot" and sagger pin marks. It was made during the line's original run. The cobalt saucer on the right has a "dry foot" and no pin marks and was made sometime between 1986 and today.

When it comes to any of the flat pieces of Fiesta (plates, platters, saucers) vintage pieces will have pin marks and new ones will have dry feet. This general rule works every time, but only with the flatware.

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