In the 1750s, Thomas Whieldon rediscovered the technique of decorating with coloured lead glazes, initially limited to green, grey, brown and slate blue. In 1754, Josiah Wedgwood joined Whieldon as a partner and, in 1758, established his own business. Wedgwood developed a lightweight, lead-glazed, cream coloured earthenware that he called “creamware”. This was widely copied and became the staple earthenware of the late 18th century, superseding delftware.
In 1769, Wedgwood opened a second factory. Its main output was ornamental wares in the then fashionable neo-classical style. These included the most famous of all Wedgwood’s products, jasperware, first produced in 1776.
The ceramic bodies pioneered by Wedgwood continued to be used by throughout the 19th century, during which pottery declined as a craft to become an industrial process. Blue and white transfer printed earthenware from the Staffordshire potteries predominated, the most notable being from Josiah Spode’s factory at Stoke. Wedgwood continued to make neo-classical jasperware and majolica. Majolica was also made by Minton, whose most famous style was the Willow Pattern.
Wedgwood Date Marks
From 1860, Wedgwood impressed three characters into the base of its products. From 1860 to 1930, the third character was al letter indicating the year of manufacture, as follow:
|O||1860||or 1886||or 1912||X||1869||or 1895||or 1921||G||1878||or 1904||or 1930|
|P||1861||or 1887||or 1913||Y||1870||or 1896||or 1922||H||1879||or 1905|
|Q||1862||or 1888||or 1914||Z||1871||or 1897||or 1923||I||1880||or 1906|
|R||1863||or 1889||or 1915||A||1872||or 1898||or 1924||J||1881||or 1907|
|S||1864||or 1890||or 1916||B||1873||or 1899||or 1925||K||1882||or 1908|
|T||1865||or 1891||or 1917||C||1874||or 1900||or 1926||L||1883||or 1909|
|U||1866||or 1892||or 1918||D||1875||or 1901||or 1927||M||1885||or 1910|
|V||1867||pr 1893||or 1919||E||1876||or 1902||or 1928||N||1885||or 1911|
|W||1868||or 1894||or 1920||F||1877||or 1903||or 1929|
From 1891 to 1906, the word “LONDON” was added.
From 1907 to 1923, the number “3” replaced the first letter.
From 1924 to 1930, the number “4” replaced the first letter.
From 1931, the last two characters were numbers indicating the year.