Not long after the War of 1812, when trade between Britain and the United States resumed, pottery factories in Staffordshire, England, began to design lines of tableware especially for the American market. The pieces were decorated with American imagery: historical scenes, portraits of heroes like Washington and Lafayette, and picturesque views of notable places. On this Staffordshire platter, produced in the 1830s, the steamboat The Pennsylvanian dominates a view of Pittsburgh.
Images of Pittsburgh have always been inseparable from images of its industry. Pittsburgh has been known as “Iron City” and “Steel City,” but its first industry was transportation. Situated at the head of the Ohio River, it was the gateway to the West in the early nineteenth century, when the Ohio and the Mississippi were the West’s main highways. The first steamboat on the Ohio was built in Pittsburgh in 1811, when the town had a population of some 1,500, many of whom were traders and migrants just passing through. By the time of the Civil War, Pittsburgh was a manufacturing center with a population of 50,000.
Historical Society of Western
Transfer from the South Carolina