history of the Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent
|The introduction of flint mills; development of Potworks|
The introduction of flint mills; development of Potworks Source: "The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent" John Ward, 1843
The introduction of flint-mills:
"..when Mr. Astbury tried his experiments, the flints, being calcined, were pounded in an iron mortar, until perfectly levigated; … when the use of Flint became more common, this tedious process would no longer suffice, and the ingenious Brindley, (whose original occupation was that of a millwright), erected a windmill at Burslem, for the purpose of grinding the calcined flint in a dry state; and also adapted some neighbouring water-mills to the same purpose.
It was not, we think, until about the time of Mr. Wedgwood settling at Etruria, that the practice commenced of grinding the flint mixed with water; for which suggestion it is said the Trade was indebted to an ingenious plumber and glazier, named Bedson.
As flint became afterwards so largely in use, not only did Mr. Wedgwood erect a steam-mill for stamping and grinding it, but almost all the neighbouring flourmills, worked by water, were put in requisition to meet the increasing demand…. of flint, Cornish-stone and other vitreous substances… which are compounded in the clays .. or used as glazes to give them lustre."
Development of Potworks:
"We have described a primitive Potwork, such as commonly existed within a century past. Now our Potworks exhibit a very altered character, and some of the larger manufactories present such an extensive and imposing group….
… a large "Workhouse bank", presents a quadrangle of lofty warehouses, and workrooms, with intermediate ranges, dividing the space into several areas, - a cluster, or row, of towering hovels, tapering upwards like Egyptian Pyramids, or with embattled tops, realising the picture of a large fortification; a loft chimney resembling a Pharos, except that one sent forth brilliant streams of light, and the other emits dense clouds of smoke.
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