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Water Cooler

Decorative Arts and Design
Water Cooler

Artwork Details


Attributed to Thomas Chandler (American, 19th century), maker
Phoenix Factory, Edgefield district, SC, 1840–1846


ca. 1840


Alkaline-glazed, slip-decoration stoneware

Accession #



Please contact the Museum for more information.


On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 2, Gallery 202


A cooler was a tall jug used to store and dispense large quantities of a beverage through the bunghole-a hole set above the bottom of the jar (where sediment would collect). The British trained potter Thomas Chandler is believed to have introduced the cooler form to Edgefield from New England. This vessel is thought to have been made for the wedding of a favored slave couple. The decoration depicts a man and woman toasting each other. Below them are a hog and, apparently, a depiction of this cooler, both of which may have played a part in the wedding celebration. This jug is considered to be the most striking piece of Edgefield ware known today.


Purchase in honor of Audrey Shilt, President of the Members Guild, 1996-1997, with funds from the Decorative Arts Acquisition Endowment and Decorative Arts Acquisition Trust