(1730-95)

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - NAVAL SERVICE -

It was largely due to Josiah Wedg­wood that the mak­ing of pot­tery was trans­formed into a mod­ern in­dus­try in the 18th cen­tury. He was am­bi­tious to sell his ware not just loc cally, but na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. Hee ex­per­i­mented with dif­fer­ent clays to pro­duce a lighter body that didn’t re­quire a heavy glaze. The re­sult was called creamware and, when a din­ner ser­vice was sent to Queen Char­lotte, the name was changed to Queen’s Ware – some­thing of a pub­lic re­la­tions coup.

To meet his am­bi­tions, he re­alised d that he needed to rev­o­lu­tionise the in­dus­try. He was the chief pro­moter of the Trent & Mersey Canal, which en­abled him to bring in spe­cial clays from the south-west of Eng­land and flint from East Anglia, as well as dis­trib­ute his fin­ished prod­ucts. He then built a new fac­tory at Etruria be­side the canal. A 19th- cen­tury re­port de­scribed the other works of that time: “There is nei­ther or­rder, reg­u­lar­ity, nor pro­por­tion; the con­se­qquence is that men, women and child­dren are to be pass­ing in and out, too and fro, to their de­part­ments all hhours of the day.” How­ever, Etruria wwas very dif­fer­ent. The works were oor­gan­ised like a mod­ern pro­duc­tion line – de­part­ments laid out in a loog­i­cal se­quence.

He also in­tro­duced sci­en­tific meeth­ods into the works. Ex­per­i­ments with clays and glazes were all care­fully recordeed and stud­ied, so that he was able to in­tro­duce new de­signs such as his fa­mous Jasper­ware. He also de­signed the very first high-tem­per­a­ture ther­mome­ter, which en­abled him to con­trol the kiln tem­per­a­ture with greater ac­cu­racy. Wedg­wood was a true mod­erniser.

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