A jug is a vessel which holds liquid. It typically has a narrow section, now known as the spout, used for pouring, and a handle. In some countries the term “jug” can also mean a vessel which beer is served in. People have been making jugs for centuries. In fact, soon after pottery was invented, jugs were being made. This is why an antique jug is something that always has value. It's one of the best reflections of the time in which it was made because as people became better at making jugs, their creation became expressions of art.
The complete or comprehensive history of jugs will be difficult to write. It will take an entire book just to discuss it. This is because each country has its own version of this vessel. A basic history will tell you, however, that the oldest jugs known to us are stoneware jugs. These jugs were used for many years until ceramic jugs were made. (Even after ceramics were used, some continued to create stoneware jugs.)
Some say that it was when ceramic was being used that potters began to become artistic with their jugs. This is not entirely true since there are some stoneware jugs that show evidence of design. What is true is that ceramic jugs opened up more artistic doors. Ceramic jugs were often painted, becoming beautiful decorative pieces apart from being functional. They also became a source of games, as with the Exeter puzzle jug, which had holes in its neck. Other times, they were used to either poke fun or pay tribute, such as with Toby jugs, which are made to look like a person, often a British king.
As artisans became more skilled, more materials were used to create jugs. Sterling silver jugs became very popular, and valuable, making their antiques even more valuable. Each European country has its own take on the silver jug at different points in their history. Another material used for jug creation was glass. Some manufacturers made plain glass jugs with glass tops, while others made glass jugs with silver tops.
Starting an antique jug collection is a worthwhile hobby. It is difficult to find very old jugs, such as those made by the Greeks, Romans, or Egyptians because these are tucked away in museums around the world. However, there are still thousands of other jugs on the market which are one or two centuries old. These are fantastic additions to any antique collection, but the do cost quite a bit of money.