Gluggle jugs, with their distinguishing fish shape, have become synonymous with Dartmouth pottery. Called ‘Gluggle’ because of their characteristic ‘glug glug’ sound when poured, they were originally made in Staffordshire back in the 1870s. Thomas Forester & Sons designed the unusual fish shape along with other unique designs in pottery and vases, which became popular household items.
Over time, the design of the jugs passed through various manufacturers, ending up with Royal Winton Grimwade in the 1930s.
After WWII however, wartime restrictions limited how much they could manufacture with the materials they had. Demand was still high, so they needed to find a manufacturer who could supply what they needed. Dartmouth Pottery had recently opened, and did not have the same restrictions that Royal Winton Grimwade was encumbered with. A partnership was created; Dartmouth Pottery would mould the jugs ready to be decorated by Royal Winton Grimwade.
Over the next 20 years, Dartmouth Pottery became well associated with the Gluggle Jugs, even manufacturing their own design called the Cod Fish Jug. However, this was generally seen as a commercial failure due to the tendency of the tail to break off. Despite this initial drawback, by 1958, Dartmouth Pottery were selling and marketing the Gluggle Jugs as their own, using the slogan ‘A jug that gurgles’. At this time, the Britannia Royal Naval College commissioned a pair of the jugs to be made and presented to the Queen and Prince Philip. As such, they became in high demand, and jugs in various sizes and colours became collector’s items.
Dartmouth Pottery continued to successfully produce and sell the Gluggle Jug, creating a long standing association between this South Devon port and the unusual yet charming fish shaped jug. In keeping with its geographical connection, in later years Plymouth Gin commissioned the jugs to be used to advertise their drink.
In 2002, Dartmouth Pottery closed and the manufacture of the jugs moved, over 100 years after its creation, back to its original home of Staffordshire. Wade Ceramics now produce the jugs, where many are exported to the US. Jugs dating back to earlier days, particularly those made under Thomas Forester & Sons in the late 1800’s are highly prized collector’s items. Many home ware and country shops stock Gluggle jugs, sometime called Glug Glug jugs, if you were interested in buying them. They are not hard to find and add a unique touch to any home décor.