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Last Updated 30-05-2018


Related PDF Articles
The Evolution of The English Bulbous Tavern Measure
Evolution of The Mug Handle
Features & Guide To Dating Tavern Mugs
Mugs & Pubs by Trevor Moore


What is a drinking mug? It is usually un-lidded and has a handle and is for drinking out of.

What is a tankard? – generally it is as described above but with a working lid.

What is a measure? It can be lidded or un-lidded, with or without a spout, with or without a handle and is used to pour liquid into other containers to drink out of.


Let us consider this mug –

This is a half pint and is 3 3/4" tall from the table to the top of the lip rim.

This mark shows 4 Hall Marks and a crowned X quality mark.

This mark is on the inside base of the mug and is called a ‘pot touch’

Checking the Hall Marks with the Pewter Society data base we find these hallmarks represent the firm of Bolton and Wylde who traded from the Pepper Mill in Wigan from 1822 to 1835. So we could say this was made about 1829. But there are no verification marks so either it was made for a private owner who did not need it verifying (official recognition of the capacity it holds) or it was pre-imperial - that is before 1826. The Imperial Standard was introduced in 1826 to ensure uniformity of standard through the land. This Wigan Mug is likely to have had a private owner as it has had very little use.

So it is a Wigan Half Pint Mug made round about 1829 by the firm Bolton and Wylde.

Taking a look at other Mugs and Measures which have marks –

Four Hall Marks to right of Mug handle by Nathaniel Barber Pewterer of London 1777 to 1834 (succeeded by someone who still used the marks maybe?)

A County Verification on an Abbot Mug for Northumberland The No. may indicate the verification Inspection District.

Crown over VR over 49 indicates a late Victorian Verification for Appleby Westmoreland

A Pot touch (in the base of the mug) for John Abbot – Abbot was known to trade as this until 1864 at Gateshead Tyneside near Newcastle-on-Tyne

Interesting makers Hall Marks of Dogs chasing Rabbit or Hare (perhaps Thomas Hunt of Newcastle on Tyne from 1765) and use of crowned X quality marks below lip rim

Artwork use on lid of a measure of Pelican in its Piety for T Wilshire of Bristol Pewter of Bristol 1785 to 1812

Crowned ER (Edward 1905-1911) over 390 over LCC for Surrey County (from 1881) – and label of capacity showing QUART to the left of a Mug handle

Crowned V R over 560 for Hampshire County…- and label capacity showing PINT to the left of the handle on a Spouted Mug/Measure

Crown over remains of GR indicated George IV – and Imperial so after 1826 and before 1831. Crowned X quality mark and likely owner’s initials BB

Early Victorian (flecked) style of engraving for owner’s initials to front of Mug

8 Gills – scarce Scottish Capacity Mark. Glasw 66 (1866 Glasgow) as for Tree (myth – ring, salmon, etc). Crown over VR over 226 indicates Glasgow (another verification mark another year) R T Galbraith pewterer Glasgow. Large Mug.

David Thomas – proud owner!

A letter P on the thumbrest is likely to be the Surname initial of the Landlord.

1837 - 1881

made by James Yates of Birmingham, capacity of 1 Pint, used in areas 150 (Northampton County) and 226 (Kilmarnock) …….in the reign of Queen Victoria

To the right of the handle the makers name and address with a Victorian verification for London. Pewterers from 1859 onwards (firm closed 1960)

Ignore my ticket – this RG was perhaps Richard Going of Bristol from 1683 with a shop on the Quay Side his mark found under the base of a measure.

London makers Pot Touch found inside on the base of a Mug Pringle of Brick Lane London perhaps 1850 - 1882

Used in Victorian times in areas 479 Midlothian County) and 3 (Edinburgh) and in Edwardian times again in area 479. Year verifications go from 1896-1909

Another style of Victorian Verification for area 28 Middlesex from 1879-91 and afterwards for London County - to the right of the handle on this mug.

was Burley a Pewterer or a Retailer? ‘London Pewterers 1600 to 1900’ by Carl Ricketts says he was a Working Pewterer from 1877-1920

George Farmiloe and Sons were making Pewter from 1876 in London EC1

H Wardrop was a Glasgow Pewterer from 1813 - 1814

1830 - 1860

Was Hood a retailer or maker this was found in the base of an ornately spouted Jug. (The style of spout being used by Galbraith of Glasgow who was a maker.)

Last Edinburgh Pewterer 1846 - 1891

Unknown Maker – 3 animals passant – stags or horses, not lions? Made in time of Crown over WR verification… likely William III ale standard

Unusual use of 4 Hall marks under the lid of a measure to spell out the name of William Scott (1794 - 1836.) of Edinburgh

No doubting who this belonged to..

A fine Pot Touch found in the base of a Mug made by Robert Galbraith of Glasgow Pewterer 1830–1866

Remains of the Channel Islands mark of PDR (Pierre du Rousseau before 1700) in front of the thumbpiece on a Channel Islands Measure

The small symbol is not understood other than known to be used by Pewterer William Hogg of Newcastle (1780-1815). The Initials could be an early Inspector’s marks but are also unusual, in being 4 and well stamped by the maker. He could have been A F of the local authority ‘G’ Borough.

Hall Marks known to be of Joseph Morgan (& Son) perhaps of Manchester (1863 – 1895) but also traded from Birmingham Bristol London in the 1800s for many years

Distinctive Lion Rampant in Shield (used in West Country) found in a Mug of John Ferris Pewterer of Exeter (1780-1795)

(enlarged considerably)

A Mark of NL over a Lamb found on the underneath of a lidded half pint measure base. A Rebus or Pun was not uncommon in the middle 1500s onwards. This man might have been say – Nicholas Lambkyn of about 1556

A Pot Touch found in a mug for John Carruthers Crane a Pewterer in Bewdley Worcestershire1807-1835. This touch shows a crowned X quality mark of I C C and that over BEWDLEY

Hall Marks are usually the makers marks and often applied once to either side of the handle below the neck rim – more often 4 but sometimes 3. There is no comprehensive list of what hall marks may contain known to the writer. Initials frequently occur as do animals, faces, buckles, mythological beasts, boats, knives, teapots, any number of everday items, plants, etc.

Touch Marks – not usually found on Mugs but sometimes on the Lids of measures. Often serious artworks in their own right.

Pot Touch – a Mark to the inside base of the Mug usually centrally placed that is likely to identify the pewterer maker – though sometimes a retailer would apply his mark there often a name and address

Owners Initials – to the front of the Mug an engraving sometimes difficult to read - those with knowledge of engravings might be able to identify the years when that style was popular. Sometimes the owner would put his name and address to the front. Sometimes a publican might put his name, the pub’s name, or the pub’s name and address to the front centre or underneath the Mug, to clearly establish where it belonged.

Quality X Mark – alleged mark of good quality workmanship – but used by many makers either near the handle or inside centrally on the base – sometimes simply X uncrowned.

Verification Mark – often a crown over a monarch’s initials over a number. The number indicates the town or county where the measurement of capacity was checked. These marks though can also be very nice little art works incorporating, castles for example.

A Capacity Mark – such as Pint, Quart, Pint sometimes incised cut into the surface sometimes incuse standing out from the surface by using a pressing tool rather than a cutting tool. Applies to names as well.

Year Numbers – commonly found on late Victorian mugs are the numbers from say 80 upwards to 00 and beyond into Edward’s reign after Victoria.

Rebus or Pun – the maker’s initials over say a lamb – might indicate a maker whose surname included or was ‘lamb’ usually found on very early pewter in a smaller dotted circle or similar, stamped on or inside the measure, tankard, or tavern pot (early mug).

Thumbrest Initial – made it easier for a landlord to quickly identify a customer’s favourite drinking mug

Further reading will show more marks and greater variety of them but the above are the ones likely to be found.

On this web site the Article on ABBOT who were manufacturing pewterer’s and large scale casting engineers of Gateshead Tyne and Wear shows some wonderful verification marks mainly from the North of England

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