I first discovered antique cheese slabs when I saw them in a shelter magazine many years ago. For some time afterwards, I kept looking and looking in antique stores and at flea markets, but to no avail. I didn’t even know what they were called at the time. How naive I was! These antique dairy slabs are incredibly rare, and unbelievably expensive, with originals selling for literally thousands of dollars. Once I found out how rare they were, it all made sense. No wonder I never came across any! And if I had, I certainly would have been shocked to learn how valuable they were. Originally, they were used to display dairy products, “cheese” or “butter”, etc, in English groceries over a century ago. They have since grown in popularity, and of course, this has driven up the prices.
I’m not sure when my love affair with white ironstone started, but I do know that when I remodeled my kitchen four years ago, I had already started collecting and putting it aside for the new room. For those of you not familiar with ironstone, it is antique pottery originally made in the United Kingdom. It was developed in the 19th century by potters in Staffordshire, England as a cheaper, mass-produced alternative to porcelain. Originally made in transferware patterns, beginning in the 1840s, British potteries created white ironstone for the American market where undecorated tableware was popular.