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The Post and Courier: The story of David Drake, an enslaved potter

In the First Hall of The Charleston Museum, a pair of stoneware vessels looms large.

Positioned one atop the other in an illuminated glass case, their mass and heft begs a question: How were those behemoths turned, coiled and lifted, let alone lugged into some cave of a kiln to be fired and dragged out once more.

Both inscribed with the date of May 13, 1859, the vessels, which were made by enslaved potter David Drake with the assistance of another enslaved man by the name of Baddler, are big. One comes in at a staggering 25¼ inches tall and 81 inches at its widest diameter; the other at 28½ inches tall. Both would hold 40 to 45 gallons.

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