Located in Argent sur Sauldre, near Orleans, France, the family-run workshop of Poterie Renault closed after producing sturdy stoneware pieces, many of which are fired in the company's traditional salt glaze, for over 170 years.
Louis Stanislas Renault opened the pottery in 1847 and chose his location for the richness of the local clay. The materials, methods and forms have remained relatively unchanged in the company’s history. The walls of its kilns were more than a meter thick. During its heyday, Poterie Renault was used by restaurants and professional kitchens all over France.
The stoneware retains heat or cold for much longer than plastic, metal or glass. The company’s signature translucent salt glaze is formed by throwing sea salt into the kiln during the hottest part of the firing process. Sodium from the salt reacts with the silica in the clay body to form a glossy and glass-like coating of sodium silicate.
Preparation bowls for proofing sourdough, Pot-au-feu, meat pies, handled-vinegar pots with small spouts called chevrette, bowls with slightly turned-in rims for mixing, whisking and leavening, jars for storage and pickling, sieves for cheese – all things the professional and home chef required.
John Nicolas Renault, a mathematician from the University of California at Berkeley, is the final heir of Poterie Renault and organized the sale of the company’s remaining inventory. A few stores like Copper Beech were given the opportunity to purchase this now vintage inventory but once the inventory is gone, these collectible relics of the classic French kitchen will be gone forever.