Seeking an expert perspective, I took the photos to Ryan Forrey, master potter at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Forrey inspected the new and old images, paying particular attention to the handle, a distinctive element of handmade jugs. Forrey thought they looked the same but said he needed to hold the jug to be sure.
Several weeks later, Falk met Forrey and me at Schembechler Hall. Falk had taken the jug out of the protective crate where it's kept and set it atop a table in the equipment room.
Forrey quickly found two critical features that I'd missed. Beneath the Minnesota "M" logo painted on one side of the jug, he pointed out a small flaw or notch that matched one visible in the pre-1910 photo. And just above the same "M," he spotted a pair of raised, triangular areas under the paint--traces of an earlier, sharp-pointed "M" that had been painted over.
Forrey had seen enough. Considering the photo comparisons, distinctive shape of the handle, the notch, and the ghostly Minnesota logo, he said, "I'd be shocked if this isn't the original jug."