Josiah Spode established a potworks in Stoke-on-Trent, in 1767. His early products were earthenwares and a range of stonewares including black basalt and jasper, which had been popularised by Josiah Wedgwood.
Josiah Spode developed underglaze blue transfer printing on earthenware in 1783–84.
In about 1789, his son, also called Josiah, perfected the technique of producing translucent porcelain using a mixture of bone ash, china stone and kaolin. His formula for “bone china” remained an industrial secret for some time. The successful development of bone china by the Spode factory ensured its preeminence among commercial producers in the early 1800s.
In 1813, Spode perfected a stoneware, called “Stone-China”, that came closer to porcelain than any had previously. A similar “Felspar porcelain”, was introduced in 1821.
In about 1833, the business was taken over by Copeland and Garrett, who continued to use “Spode” in their marks. After 1847, the business name was changed to W T Copeland & Sons and their marks showed both “Copeland” and “Spode”. In 1970, the name was changed to Spode Ltd.
In 2006, the business merged with Royal Worcester. The merged company was acquired by Portmeirion Group in 2009.