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Scottish Creamware Large Jug Depicting The Columbus,
John Geddes' Verreville Glass and Pottery Works, Glasgow,

Scottish Creamware Large RareJug Depicting The Ship Columbus,

John Geddes' Verreville Glass and Pottery Works, Glasgow,

Early 19th Century.

The large creamware jug manufactured by John Geddes's Verreville Glass & Pottery Works in Glasgow.  The front of the jug depicts the disposable ship The Columbus.  This is one of a group of ships designed to sail one way from North America and be dismantled so that its timbers could be sold in Great Britain and thereby avoiding tax as high as 275%!  Minor hairlines now invisable to each side.

The jug is printed with the factory name in several places.

Dimensions: 8 1/2 inches high x 7 inches wide x 9 1/2 inches across handle.

The coloured print of the Columbus is titled Columbus, The Largest Ship ever Built and surrounded by the dinensions of the vessel and with a band reading, "Verreville Pottery and Glass Works Glasgow" all within a brown and orange leavy border.

On the reverse a Farmers Arms print with "God speed the Plough. Long life and success to the Farmer above, a farmer to one side and a lady with a rake on the other and a shield in the center with farming implements.  Below a small plaque reading, "John Geddes, Verreville, Glasgow".

Below the spout is a rod enhanced with coloured flowers with Verreville Pottery and Glass Works Glasgow printed on it and below that a poem:

The world's a city with many a crooked street,

and death's a market place where all men meet,

if life was merchandise which men could buy,

The rich would live, the poor would die.

Hoyt & Roberts, Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.


Epitaph to John Gadsden, died 1739, in Stoke Goldington, England. See E. R. Suffling—Epitaphia. P. 401. On P. 405 is a Scotch version of 1689. Same idea in Gay. The Messenger of Mortality, in Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry. A suggestion from Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale. L. 2,487. Shakespeare and Fletcher. Two Noble Kinsmen. Act I. Sc. 5. L. 15. Waller—Divine Poems.



A disposable ship, also called raft ship, timber ship, or timber drogher was a barely seaworthy vessel assembled from large timbers lashed or pegged together for the purpose of making just a single voyage from North America to England, where the vessel was subsequently dismantled and its timbers sold piecemeal to British shipbuilders. The disposable ship avoided two problems that adversely impacted profitability of shipping in the British timber trade: high taxes and small cargoes.

The structural timbers of a disposable ship were exempt from high British taxes imposed on "oak and square pine timber" cargoes. In the 19th century, these taxes eventually reached 275% of the value of the timber cargo. Further, the return voyage from England to North America was unnecessary. Typically, return trip cargo volume was one-tenth that of the timbers brought to England. This usually required the use of ballast stones to establish the proper vessel trim and maneuverability. Ballast stones had no significant commercial value and ballast loading and unloading was costly and time-consuming.

One of the largest wooden sailing vessels ever built was a disposable ship called the Baron of Renfrew. Launched in June 1825, the 5294-ton crudely built Baron of Renfrew was wrecked as it was being towed toward London in a storm. Although reports differ, most indicate that the vessel's timbers were recovered and sold, and that the venture was ultimately successful.

Glasgow and Verreville Glass and Pottery Company

The Verreville Glassworks was established by a group of Glasgow merchants in 1777. Workmen were brought from England and Germany to build the cone, a major Glasgow landmark of its day, which reached a height of 120 feet. The company amalgamated with the Glasgow Bottlework Company in c. 1786 and in 1806 the business was sold to the Dumbarton Glass Company. The new business was immediately sold to John Geddes, on the condition that he did not make window glass or bottles.

John Geddes founded the ‘Glasgow and Verreville Glass and Pottery Company’, which quickly established itself and developed an export trade to North America and Ireland. However, pottery production was a very competitive market and Geddes was soon declared bankrupt. In 1830 the pottery was taken over by Robert Montgomery, a former manager. Montgomery’s involvement with the pottery was short-lived and by 1833 he too was declared bankrupt. The glassworks were closed in 1834.

When the British tax on timber cargoes was changed, the economic advantage was diminished and disposable ship construction ceased shortly afterwards.

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