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Wedgwood has been an international company for over two centuries. Founded in 1759 upon the highest standards of design, craftsmanship, quality and innovation, the company continues to uphold these essential factors in maintaining its leading position throughout the markets of the world. The founder, Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), who is remembered as ‘the Father of English Potters’, was born in Burslem, Staffordshire, in the heart of the English potteries. He served his apprenticeship as a potter before setting up his own business in 1759. By 1766 he had prospered sufficiently to build a new factory which he named Etruria. Josiah was to sow the first seeds of the innovative spirit which continues to be an integral part of Wedgwood. During his lifetime he invented and produced what remain today three of Wedgwood’s most famous ceramic bodies - Queen’s Ware (1762), Black Basalt (1768) and finally Jasper (1774). In the nineteenth century, important progress was made at the Wedgwood factory in the use of new machinery, the introduction of the first coloured earthenware bodies and, most importantly, the manufacture of bone china. Wedgwood bone china tableware was to grace the tables of many illustrious homes throughout the world, including the dinner service which President Theodore Roosevelt ordered for the White House. During the 1930’s, when many English potteries were forced to close down due to unfavourable conditions, Wedgwood’s success continued and in order to increase efficiency, the fifth Josiah Wedgwood decided to build a new factory. A country estate near the village of Barlaston was purchased and a new, modern factory was built. Production started in the 1940’s and since then, the factory has expanded to four times its original size. It is the British pottery industry’s most up-to-date factory. Here, Wedgwood continues its living tradition of progress in design, in production methods and in the skills of its many craftspeople.
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