I initially launched this site – with the able assistance of (first) my daughter-in-law
and (now) my son webmaster – for two reasons. The first was to share my fascination with the
numberless ways in which such a straightforward thing as a cow can be represented in the
form of a creamer. The second was to invite others to help me pinpoint more specifically the
origin and provenance of the many creamers that I own but haven’t been able to trace. Most
come with little or no information and even generic terms like “Staffordshire” or “Delft”
can be misleading; and in spite of several web sites that help with hallmarks and makers
marks, there are many that are unmarked or with marks that I haven’t been able to
Over time however I’ve found a third reason to maintain and upgrade the site: my web
searches to trace the creamers have given me many fascinating hours of fun learning about
history, geography, pottery in general, and even evolution. I’ve tried to share some of the
interesting things that I’ve learned in these web pages…starting with a bit about when,
where, and maybe even why people started making these things, in the section on
I’ve also found that I’m not alone – there are indeed other cow creamer collectors, and
even more folks who have inherited one or more from a relative and want to learn a bit about
it. I’m always delighted to converse with other collectors, and more than happy to try to
help folks identify what they have. This works best of course if you send me a picture, but
again the caveat is that I myself have little idea about the maker, or even the age, of many
in my own collection. One touchy subject is value. About all I am either able or willing
to do is tell roughly what I have paid for an item, and when and where I got it, which is
often eBay. Even this can be way off the mark, since eBay itself has had such a significant
impact on price, and also because some eBay sellers have really weird ideas about what their
items might be worth; I’ve gotten some bargains, but probably have overpaid just as often.
When I had to scour the antique shops for cow creamers it was hard to impossible to figure
out what was rare and what was common. It’s a lot easier now, and in many cases what I was
originally excited to find, turns out to be pretty routine. The Jackfield creamers are a
good example of this. When I lived in the UK (1995 and 1996) I’d very rarely see one, but
now there are almost always 10-20 or more on offer on eBay. So if you do want to ask me for
advice, please be patient because I don’t always have ready access to email, and don’t
expect anything more than very rough estimates about how much something may be worth.
Indeed, your best bet is to start by looking for similar items on eBay.
With over a thousand cow creamers in the collection, plus assorted other cows that fit my
basic two-hole rule (see My Story), I’ve tried to put some order
into their presentation on this website. First, there are categories for the older or
- Silver, starting
with two examples made by John Schuppe in the 1760’s, and including some modern creamers
- Staffordshire, or more properly 18th
and 19th century British cow creamers (with a couple newer ones), plus separate
sub-sections on Welsh
Ceramics from the potteries in Swansea,
and Spill Vases which
were made to hold paper tapers or wood slivers used for transferring fire but which also
were designed to serve as creamers.
- Jackfield, which probably could be lumped
with Staffordshire but that have a distinctive black glaze and gold gilding
- Bennington, which is sometimes termed
Rockingham for the caramel glaze
- Delft, for both older and new creamers marked
Delft, Holland, or in the typical Delft blue and white styling
- Faience, for a few examples of classic and
Then there are a lot of more modern ones, nominally 20c and 21c Here, I’ve tried to put a bit of order into things in the following way:
- Places, or Countries of Origin: examples
that seem typical of a country’s style
- Favorite Brands: Examples from makers or
factories that have produced a number of interesting cow creamers, e.g. Schafer and Vater,
Royal Bayreuth, Fitz and Floyd, and Goebel
- Advertising and Souvenirs: Creamers
made to promote products (the most famous is Borden’s Elsie), or with pictures or slogans
of places (e.g., Niagara Falls)
- Modern Variations: This is the
biggest category, with an eclectic assortment of interpretations, many of which are
unmarked. If there’s also a teapot or pitcher that matches, I’ve put them in those
- Creamers and
Sugars: More ‘modern variations’, but
enough of them that they’re best kept separate.
- Heads: I think these
deserve a category of their own…there will be some overlap, e.g. with Royal Bayreuth and
Many of these are doll-house (1/12) scale, some are a bit larger but still too tiny for
Santa cow, etc. Enough of them, especially teapots and pitchers, to single them
- Pitchers: Just
too darn big for cream…but designed to pour, most likely milk or water, but in some cases
wine. Most follow the two-hole rule, but there are a few that were too neat to resist
- Suiteki or Water
Droppers: This is a later addition to the
collection, of interest to me because they meet the ‘two hole’ rule, and because I wanted
some traditional versions of a cow, bull or ox from the lactose intolerant populations of
the Far East.
- Teapots: They
fit the rule! And, they’re fun. I have over 200 of these, which is a good sized collection in and of itself.
Many of them also have creamers and sugars as a set.
- Rhytons and other Liquid
dispensers: This somewhat eclectic category includes modern
reproductions of ancient rhytons (see the History page), as well as some cow and bull shaped
cruets and vessels designed for wine, oil and vinegar, liquor, that didn't fit well elsewhere. It also contains a separate area for Nandi because like Rhytons they are used for ritualistic purposes.
- Nandi (Shiva’s Bull) – Hindu holy water
pot. These are included with Rhytons because of their religious use. This section also
includes a number of holy cow and bull vessels used for other purposes in Hindu
- Tea Sets: Some of these include real cow
creamers; but I’ve also included a number of the resin ‘collectibles’.
cans: What can I say? They do have two (more
than two actually) holes.