Monday, August 13, 2012

Decorating with Transferware Slop Pails

A slop jar pail / bucket was a large pail used to receive waste water from a washbasin or chamber pot.  They were in use before bathrooms and were part of the bath set which comprised of a very large, 15-16", wash bowl and a large wash pitcher along with smaller pieces like pin trays, soap dishes, shaving mug, and of course the chamber pot.   Water from the wash bowl, after bathing, would be poured into the bucket so that it could be carried away and more easily disposed of than it would be in a large bowl.  Many pieces had an inner funnel shaped insert that rested on the inner rim of the bucket and helped water from spilling or splashing out.  Some of the inner pieces had small holes to so that when the waste water was poured into the bucket the bar of soap could be salvaged.

Items you might find in a Chamber set.
Top Row: Chamber Pot, Combinet, Shaving Mug, Covered Soap Dish, Brush Jar, Mouth Ewer.
Bottom Row: Slop Jar, Slop Pail, Ewer and Basin.

One item not seen here is a razor box.

Today, slop pails can be repurposed in many ways.  
Our powder bath has no cabinetry so the extra toilet tissue rolls are kept in this dual handled slop jar.   Unfortunately mine no longer has it's lid but if it did it would have looked something like the one the lid shown in the photo above, bottom row center.

Slop pails are also perfectly suited to use as bread bins, ice buckets/ coolers, containers for a collection of rolling pins or large kitchen utensils, planters, floral containers, trash bins and of course a place to hold a few rolls of toilet tissue.
I've got a few around the house.  This one holds some cooking utensils.

Some slop jars have knobs on the sides where a woven wicker or rattan carrying handle was attached (as shown in the first photo of this post).    I've got two such slop pails, both missing the wicker carrying handle.  You may have noticed this one before. It holds a small collection of vintage rolling pins,

and this one makes a great pot for a topiary.  

All of my slop buckets are from the Aesthetic Movement (1880's). 
There are countless ways you could decorate with a slop about as a waste basket in the bathroom?  Slop pails are also large enough to hold a few rolled up bath towels. 

I just got this teal colored slop pail in and it's in my shop HERE
It is complete with the inner drainer.

I once had this one on my back patio with a narrow trellis and clematis growing in was gorgeous!
Later it became a centerpiece for a tablescape filled with silk flowers.

Hmm, what else could you use a slop pail for?

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  1. I was born and raised on a farm and I know all about slop jars, but ours sure weren't that pretty. LOL These look like jars from an old plantation, or at least that's where I visualize them. So pretty!

  2. Nancy, your posts are always so interesting and informative. The slop pots look like versatile pieces with their large size. I like the knobs on the sides even without the rattan handles. Your collection is endless and such fun to see what you have and how you use it. Thank you for sharing........Sarah

  3. I like how you used your pot to hold the TP. Who needs a lid? They are all so pretty. Laura

  4. How pretty they all are! Yes they have a variety of uses due to their handy size. Love these ideas!

  5. Beautiful slop pails and even more beautiful are the ways you've used them.

  6. Oh, wow....I never knew that's what those were called! Yours are beautiful and so decorative! Since they come from the "Aesthetic Era", I'm guessing those before that time were functional but not much to look at...certainly not decorative in any way! I guess it's like the difference between a port-a-potty and a luxurious bathroom!!!

  7. I have an enameled slop pot that was my Grandmother's. She would have laughed to see that I use it to store things. I was at an auction a couple of weeks ago and a dirty, dusty chamber pot was up for bid-wouldn't the family that used it for as a chamber pot just be amazed at us today?
    You have the most beautiful things, your home would take my breathe away. Thanks for sharing such lovely treasures with your readers.

  8. I do believe my great grandma had a slop bucket. But nothing as pretty as these chamber pots!

  9. So neat to learn the history. Your pails are just gorgeous.

    - The Tablescaper

  10. Nancy, I learn so much from your posts. You are very knowledgeable about transferware and its history. You really should write a book about it. I love how you repurpose the transferware pieces and use them in your daily life. I love your philosophy to use the pieces that your love and enjoy them every day. I have known women who kept all of their treasures put away behind cupboard doors and never got to see or enjoy them because they were afraid that they would be broken. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and philosophy with us.


  11. I am so glad you showed your slop jars
    I have a beautiful blue & white one and have it proudly displaced in my living room and have had a couple rude comments about it however it's my house and i will put in it what I enjoy ? right? right I say

  12. Those pots are lovely, Nancy. And I love the way you use them throughout your house. I've seen them before but never realized what they were! If I had one, I can imagine filling it with hydrangea blossoms.... or my knitting needle collection.

  13. Your slop buckets are amazing. I love ow you have used each one! Gorgeous!

  14. Well, although I knew about slop pails, yours are the prettiest I've ever seen! What an amazing collection and the ways you have used them are all beautiful! I would love to have a slop pail, as long as it looked like these!


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