Sunday, September 29, 2019

Character Jugs ( 1955 )

If you love arts and crafts, then today's British Pathe newsreel is truly fascinating.....we are given a quick tour of the Royal Doulton factory to watch how Toby character jugs are being made. The earliest of these Toby jugs date back to the mid-1700s and the process of how they are made has changed little since then. 

At first, the artist creates the clay mold and then it is fired in a kiln. Artists paint the colors on the busts and they are then coated in a white glaze. This part is interesting because, even though they look like they have been coated in white paint, once they go through the second trip in the kiln they come out in brilliant color. In the short, you can see the busts of Dick Turpin and General Bernard Montgomery coming out of the oven along with Long John Silver, who was a new addition to the Doulton collection.

Today, you can buy these jugs for $5-50 on eBay, Etsy, or at antique shops across the country. One American collector loved these little jugs so much that he collected 8,000 of them and created the American Toby Jug Museum to showcase the tiny treasures. They also can be seen in the background in numerous films, usually sitting on fireplace mantles, desks, or on a shelf in a pub.

Ready to watch Character Jugs ( 1955 )? Just click here! 

Similarly themed British Pathe shorts:

Toy Fair ( 1958 ) - 3:01 sec

The Making of Wedgewood ( 1958 ) - 19:19 sec

Miniature Ceramics ( 1961 ) - 2:38 sec


  1. Really interesting! Our Nana had a jug in the likeness of Harry Lauder. I knew who he was before I knew who he was (if you follow).

    1. I follow you! Harry Lauder was an ideal face to have on a mug! Come to think of it, it's probably due to the Toby jugs that we use the word "mug" to refer to someone's face. One of these days I plan to write a post about the various films that these mugs appear in.