Index for Shaw's history   

Shaw's - History of the Staffordshire Potteries - originally published in 1829

 

Chapter 7 - Introduction of fluid glaze ...

 



next: Chapter 7 - continuation - Wedgwood's Queen Ware 
previous: Chapter 6 - Progress of manufacture from 1700 to 1760.
contents: index of Shaw's book


[these headings are not in the original - they are added for ease of reading]

Early glazes 
Changing work practices 
Subdivision of labour 
Mr. Warner Edwards 
Messrs. Littler and Wedgwood 
Improvement of the roads 
White Stone Pottery
William Edwards' Earthenware  
Mr. Phillips at Lane Delph  
Roger Wood of the Ash 
Moses Simpson of Hanley
Thomas and Joseph Johnson at Lane End
Bankes & Turner 
Barker & Garner 
Manufacture of lathes 
Adams & Prince at Lane Delph
John & Thomas Aldersea at Stoke 
Phillips of Lane Delph 
Introduction of new materials into the clay 

 

 

Early glazes

We cannot ascertain at this day the extent of business carried on in Pottery with the Lead ore glaze, and in the early time of the Salt glaze. The Lead ore glaze continued in many small potteries; but other manufacturers of the White Stone ware, employed their ingenuity in trials which they glazed and fired as formerly. 

When the ware had been once fired, called bisquet, the workman, with a sponge added manganese, alone for Tortoiseshell, and with pulverized ironstone added for the darker colours ; ochre and calces of iron and other metals, for yellow, cauliflower, and melon; and of copper for green Pickle Leaves; and with a camel hair pencil added different strengths of ground zaffers, for Agate, for Knife Hafts, and Snuff Boxes, and by a brush added lead ore and flint glaze, washing or filling the inside witli the glaze, a watery mixture of lead and flint. 

When only Lead ore, with a little Flint, was applied as glaze, the white clay not being of the best quality, and the flint so carefully prepared as in our day, the Pottery had a yellowish cast, and was named Cream Colour. This method of making Cream Colour, was practised by many persons, and different qualities of articles made long before it received this appellation; (now restricted to the Pottery, which succeeded salt glaze, by immersion in the white Lead fluid glaze.) There are specimens of Table Plates and Fruit Dishes, made of flint and clay, in old moulds of the White Stone ware, which after being dipped in the lead and flint glaze for washing the iusides of Tortoiseshell, and tired in the old lead glaze ovens, form exactly and identically the first Cream Coloured Pottery.

 

Changing work practices

Up to 1740, in each manufactory, all the persons employed were, the slip-maker, thrower, two turners, handler, (stouker) fireman, warehouseman, and a few children, and, to be really useful to the master, and secure sufficient employment, a good workman could throw, turn, and stouh; and which he practised in each week at two or three different manufactories. But the White Stone Ware, now experiencing such a demand, its manufacture extended the whole range of the district; and the manufacturers introduced the custom of hiring each workman to serve only one master, and practise only one branch of the Art, while workmen for the different branches, were so much in requisition, that persons from distant parts, and especially from the neighbouring villages, were hired and settled in the towns, increasing the number of parishioners, and ultimately the mass of parochial burdens.

 

Subdivision of labour

The increase of workmen, the subdivision of labour in every process; and the dexterity and quickness consequent on separate persons confining themselves solely to one branch of the Art, with the time saved in the change of implements and articles, instead of retarding, greatly promoted the manufacture, by increasing its excellence and elegance. The benefits accruing from the great demand for the salt glaze white stone ware, caused the inhabitants to tolerate the method of glazing, altho' for about five hours of each Saturday, fifty or sixty manufactories sent forth dense clouds of vapour that filled the valleys and covered the hills to an extent of several square miles.

Carlos Simpson, 63 years years of age, 1817, was born at Chelsea; to which place his father Aaron Simpson, went in 1747, along with Thomas Lawton, slip maker, Samuel Parr, turner, Richard Meir, fireman, and John Astbury, painter, all of Hot Lane; 

Carlos Wedgwood, of the Stocks, a good thrower; Thomas Ward and several others, of Burslem, to work at the Chelsea China Manufactory. They soon ascertained that they were the principal workmen, on whose exertions all the excellence of the Porcelain must depend, they then resolved to commence business on their own account, at Chelsea, and were in some degree successful; but at length owing to disagreement among themselves, they abandoned it end returned to Burslem, intending to commence there the manufacture of China; but soon after their return Aaron Simpson died, the design was relinquished, and each took the employment quickly offered in the manufacture of white stone ware, then sold readily on the day of drawing the oven. 

Carlos Wedgwood at length commenced making white stone pottery, behind the present Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, which stands on the spot occupied by his house.

 

Mr. Warner Edwards

At that time the various kinds of Pottery with lead ore glaze, were made at a small manufactory, (which now is that belonging to Messrs. Ridgway, at the bottom of Albion Street, Shelton,) by Mr. Warner Edwards, whose secret partner was the Rev. Thomas Middleton, the Minister of (Old) Hanley Chapel. 

Mr. Edwards's chemical ability exceeded that of all other persons in the district; for he could make the various kinds of Pottery then in demand, and prepare and apply the different colours, to ornament them. 

He was a careful, shrewd, and very intelligent man, and when he was attacked, in 1753, by the sickness which proved fatal, he presented to the late Mr. Thomas Daniel, (who had been his apprentice, and was then his only private assistant,) a Drawing Book, embellished with many elegant Patterns; and on the first leaf is written, by himself—

 

"Werner Edwards's Art of making Enamel Colours in a plain manner." 

On the blank sides of the leaves. Mr. T. D. wrote, from Mr. Edwards's dictation, the minute instructions and requisite information concerning the several processes, and components for preparing of the different colours; and the prices of the several chemical preparations and minerals, with the names of the persons in London, Manchester, and Liverpool, from whom they could be obtained of the best quality and at the lowest price. 

Thus the old gentleman rendered more useful to himself, the practical skill in the manipulations already acquired by Mr. D. while he rewarded in the best manner his industry and integrity. This Drawing Book, which we recently inspected, had been surreptitiously copied by some of the colour makers of the district, when it was recovered by the owner's son, Mr. H. Daniel, of Stoke, justly celebrated thro' the trade an Enameller of the greatest ability.

 

Messrs. Littler and Wedgwood 

Mr. Aaron Wedgwood, (father of T. & J. Wedgwood, of the Big House, also brother-in-law of Mr.W. Littler, mentioned in the chapter on Porcelain.) soon joined with him and endeavoured to effect some improvement in the salt glaze. 

Genius and invention have seldom been more usefully employed, than in the improved productions of the Pottery. The united experience, and repeated endeavours of these persons was attended with success wholly without precedent. 

The transition from washing the vessels or laying the glaze on by a brush, to immersing them in the mixture, is both easy and natural. The manufacture of white stone pottery, was rapidly improving, owing to the ascertaining the proper proportions of marl for the saggers, and of flint and clay, for the pottery. 

And availing themselves of Mr. Astbury's method of washing or dipping, Messrs. Littler and Wedgwood first introduced a compound of very fusible materials—of certain proportions of ground zaffre with the flint and the clay that composed the body of the pottery; mixed with a determined quantity of water, and varied for the different kinds of articles. Into this liquid the vessels were dipped, while in the state of clay very little dried, and absorbing the water, received a very thin coating of the materials in solution, which when dried and fired in the salt glaze oven, appeared of a fine glossy surface, free from those minute inequalities observable on all the Pottery glazed with salt only. Some excellent Specimens are ornamented by enamelling and gilding; and others having had a little manganese applied, resemble the finest Lapis Lazuli.

 

Improvement of the roads

The highways of the district at this time and some years afterwards, were in a condition so out of repair, as to be almost impassable In some instances, by a man was the flint carried from the mill to the manufactory; and in others, by horses, in tubs that would contain four pecks. 

The chapmen or dealers kept a gang of horses which carried small crates, that were filled with ware, then driven to different parts, and there opened for the inspection of purchasers. 

The expence of carriage necessarily impeded the extension of the manufacture; yet such is the force of prejudice, that when the Act of Parliament of 1760 for repairing the Roads then made, and opening new ones, was first put in execution, the workmen conjecturing that their Art would be either wholly destroyed, or taken out of the country, rushed en masse into open disturbance. 

Afterwards, carts and waggons were substituted for pack horses; persons were sent to the different places for orders; business was extended, and the district benefited.

 

White Stone Pottery

The White Stone Pottery was now in demand, and had been improved gradually in quality and workmanship; but was certainly much restricted, because the manufacturers were busy making only a small assortment of common articles, of rather inelegant shapes, and finished upon the wheel and lathe, or by the stouker. And tho' of clean appearance, and compact texture, (during the period of fifty years from its introduction to its highest improvement,) it remained devoid of celebrity, for want of being presented to the public in neat and varied Articles of utility, formed in elegant tasteful patterns, as was the French White Stone ware, with beautiful glaze, supplied to genteel tables thro' preference of foreign to British manufacture; and as was the Queen's Ware in the excellent forms designed by Mr. William Wood.

But the demand having excited among the more intelligent manufacturers the spirit of invention,— different bodies and glazes were attempted, improved, and their perfection assiduously pursued, and gradually accomplished; the Pottery fabricated, tho' inferior to porcelain in colour and appearance, was nearly equal in utility and durability; and numbers were eager to aquire celebrity, by the beauty and elegance of their designs, and the excellence of their workmanship.

 

William Edwards' Earthenware

At this time Lane Delph was the chief place in the southern part of the district. Herein 1750, William Edwards made very good coloured Earthenware, Two Plates of his manufacture, in the possession of Sir. George Forrister, Lane End, are so truly elegant, that we might be censured for not troubling the reader with a description.

They are about twelve inches diameter, made of the whitest native clays well prepared, and now have a brownish flesh colour. 

The brim is in basket-work, very well designed and executed; the bowl part is divided into three compartments of finely embossed work, on the bend of which is a melon, harp, apple, pear, and two cherries, (whence we conjecture they were dessert plates;) the centre is finely and fancifully scrolled. 

The glaze has much lead, and is quite green; the center has had a little oxide of iron, or manganese, to give a brownish cast, the green has been partially washed off, so as to op-pear whitish and very dark green alternately in each compartment.

Both plates are cracked, but not crazed in either glaze or body. As these and other specimens of this date, are without glaze on the under surface, we suppose this was done for economy; or was it in imitation of foreign Earthenware.

 

Mr. Phillips at Lane Delph

Mr. Phillips was also a very eminent manufacturer at Lane Delph. A fine specimen of his manufacture a cream colour Standish for Ink, Sand, and Wafers, made by him in 1760, is now in the possession of Mr. George Forrister, of Lane End; who had used it twenty-eight years constantly; having received it as a present from Mr. Moses Simpson, whose father was a workman for Mr. Phillips. 

Its ornamental work is very elegant, and it evinces much excellence of material; there is not any crazing; and on the author's suggestion, it is no longer doomed to drudgery, but is preserved as a curiosity. W. Matthews, of Lane Delph, made excellent mottled and cloudy pottery. The drinking mugs are particularly well handled, and finely roiled, but without spout or snip, as in the similarly shaped vessels of the present day. The article is not any way crazed.

 

Roger Wood of the Ash

Roger Wood, Esq. of the Ash, three miles east of Hanley, in 1756, erected the manufactory (now occupied by Mr. Sampson Bridgwood, an excellent manufacturer of Porcelain,) on the side of the Brook at the lower Market-Place, Lane End. Here a person named Ford, for some years made common stone earthenware, and brown ware. 

There were not one hundred houses in Lane End at that time, and very few indeed in Longton liberty. We are told that at this factory the first cream colour was made or that side of the district. 

 

Moses Simpson of Hanley

Another manufacturer was Moses Simpson, (of the family of Bulky Simpson,) from Hanley; but we have not seen any specimens of his productions. It is remarkable, to the Author at least, that merely the name of this person is known in the family circle; his nephew, Moses Simpson, now above seventy years of age, resides in Stafford Row, Shelton, but he only remembers that his Uncle died when himself was a boy.

 

Thomas and Joseph Johnson at Lane End 

Opposite to the present Lane End Church, and on the (now greatly enlarged) premises occupied by Messrs. Mayer and Newbold, during many years Messrs. Thomas and Joseph Johnson made salt glaze while stone ware, as well its crouch ware, and other kinds, from clay obtained from the Brickhouse Field, the spot now covered by houses belonging to Jacob Marsh, Esq. 

The late Messrs. J. & R. Riley, of Burslem, made very respectful mention of the talents and character of these brothers of whose manufacture, a bread-basket, long in the possession of the late N. Jackson, Esq. exhibits proof of ability in the modeller, and excellence in the materials.

 

Bankes & Turner

About 1766, Mr. R. Bankes, and the late Mr. John Turner, made white stone ware at Stoke, on the spot part of the premises of Josiah Spode, Esq.— 

Mr. Turner removed to Lane End, in 1762, where he manufactured every kind of Pottery then in demand, and also introduced some other kinds not previously known.—

About 1780, he discovered a vein of fine Clay, on the land at Green Dock, now the property of Mr. Ephraim Hobson, of Hanley.

Purged from their dross, the nobler parts refine, 
Receive new forms, and with true beauties shine.

From this he obtained all his supplies for manufacturing his beautiful and excellent Stone Ware Pottery, of a cane colour; which he formed into very beautiful Jugs, with ornamental designs, and the most tasteful articles of domestic use. Some of them are excellent Wine Coolers; others represent different kinds of Pastry, as Tureens, Butter Coolers, &c. and are well calculated to deceive the eye at a short distance. 

An instance of this deception occurred to the author, being seated in the parlour, where was a Lady's work-basket, which he was led to consider from its appearance as twig or willow ware, and was most agreeably surprised, to find it of cane coloured pottery. The deception was not single; for a young Lady, on a visit, had made a similar mistake only the day preceding. 

Mr. Turner was deputed with Mr. Wedgwood, to oppose the extension of Mr. Champion's Patent— and an agreement was the result; as stated in the Chapter on Porcelain. But in consequence of Mr. Kinnersley's sale of lead being affected by the introduction of Composition, that gentleman entered into partnership with Mr. Turner, to make it at Lane End: and the speculation was to some extent successful. 

Mr. Turner afterwards erected in the open ground before his manufactory, a machine by which he could turn his throwing engine and lathes. This was open to the inspection of all the potters of the time; but no application of the principle was made, until after steam engines were introduced; as by Mr. Wedgwood, and Mr. Spode. Mr. Turner preserved thro' life the high character of a very kind master, a worthy and intelligent tradesman, and an honest member of the community; and died in 1786, at an advanced age.

 

Barker & Garner

About 1750, Mr. John Barker, with his Brother, and Mr. Robert Garner, commenced the manufactory of Shining Blade, and White Stone ware, salt glaze, at the Row Houses, near the Foley, Fenton; and where afterwards they made tolerable cream colour. 

They realized a good property here; and Mr. R. Garner erected a manufactory, and the best House of the time in Lane End, near the old Turnpike Gate. In the possession of Mr. G. Forrister, Lane End, is a very excellent specimen; a Sand Box, which tho' constantly used, remains unaffected by crazing. 

The rolling is extremely neat, and the edges shew considerable taste and excellence of workmanship. It is highly prized by Mr. G., having been his father's; and is well known to have been made near seventy years. 

In 1760, the late William Brookes, of Handford Bridge, was placed with these gentlemen, as apprentice to a Turner; and when his term was completed, he was paid seven shillings weekly; and labour being now in demand, the custom was to work, for half a day over time, while a candle of a certain size burned. 

 

Manufacture of lathes

The Lathes used at this time were made in Congleton, because the secret of properly tempering the spindle and collar was possessed only by a smith resident there. In Hanley there resided a very ingenious smith, (proved since to be Mr. John Baddeley, of Eastwood,) to whom the business was suggested. On a certain day he dressed himself as a potter, with white apron, and also white gloves on his hands, to prevent them being noticed by the smith at Congleton; and having a spindle, &c. with him, he accompanied Mr. W. Brookes, and Mr. Thomas Greatbatch, of Hanley, each having his spindle, &c. to the shop of the mechanic and smith, where he witnessed the several operations, and afterwards practised them at Hanley. 

And so careful was he to preserve the secret thus obtained, that, (according to the statement of his daughter, the late Mrs. Poulson, of Stoke,) he frequently performed the most particular operations about midnight, having only the company and help of his daughter. 

The same Thomas Greatbatch first suggested the movemenl of an Engine Lathe, to 
Mr. Baddeley, who was successful in constructing it; and on it Mr. G. was employed many years. The same lathe was sold publickly in 1828; but we cannot ascertain the purchaser.

 

Adams & Prince at Lane Delph

Mr. John Adams, and Mr. John Prince were manufacturers at Lane Delph, near Fenton Lane, of Red Porcelain, and White Stone ware, salt glaze, and realized large fortunes. The daughter of Mr. Prince was married by one of their turners, the late Mr. John Stirrup, of Cinderhill, near Lane End; and the property he received with her, ultimately rendered him opulent. 

Another of their turners, Mr William Hilditch, of Lane Delph, gentleman, is now peaceably enjoying the produce of his well directed industry, lie is the father of Messrs. Hilditch, China manufacturers, of Lane End. The third turner is Mr. William Shaw, the present Clerks and Master of the Free School, at Lane End.


John & Thomas Aldersea at Stoke

Mr. John Aldersea, at the manufactory in Stoke, where is now the Top Square; and his Brother Thomas, of the Honey Wall, were successful in making Mottled and Cloudy, and Tortoiseshell, with lead ore and salt glazes, and Shining Black, of a very good quality. A few specimens are kept in the neighbourhood.

 

Phillips of Lane Delph

About 1760, a son of Mr. Phillips, of Lane Delph, commenced the manufacture of White Stone Ware, salt glaze, at Green Dock, Longton; and he afterwards made tolerable cream colour, at the same place. 

To his descendants there now belongs some property in Lane End. The salt he used, was brought by the old Huntsman, John Brown, from either Lawton, or the Wyches, as most convenient for himself. 

At this time, only a good team of horses could draw a cart along the high road, such was their broken up state; and not a single one-horse cart was in use on the Lane End side of the district till the end of the last century. 

The Coals were carried in panniers, on mules and horses; and four of these supplied all Lane Delph, in 1780. There was a horse-post, to bring the letters from Stone; and the late Mr. S. Forrister well remembered seeing the postman ride his horse up the steps into the Warehouse of Mr. Phillips, to communicate some verbal intelligence first to that gentleman.

 

Introduction of new materials into the clay

About 1750, another introduction of fresh materials, or a different application of those previously employed, was beneficial to the person and to the whole district. Mr. Enoch Booth, of Tunstall, first united the Clays of the neighbourhood carefully levigated, in union with those from the South of England, (Devon, and Dorset.) and a certain proportion of Flint, on Mr. Astbury's method. This body he first glazed with lead ore; next he mixed it with one of the clays, and then added a little dry calcined flint in powder; and finally, he used lead and flint in a liquid state, on Littler's method, but with this difference; Littler dipped the clay ware into his liquid; but Mr. Booth fired his once, and dipped the Bisquet ware. 

There appears little cause to suppose that great improvements took place in the Glaze. The celebrated Reaumur had analysed every kind of known glaze, and published their components, according to his Analysis, inserted in the old 'Handmaid to the Arts;' therefore we may suppose that the different Glazes, and the methods of glazing Earthenware, were well known. 

The different appearance of the Articles, is admitted to be consequent on the introduction of fresh or new materials into the body or clay, and every such introduction formed a different kind, was attended with beneficial Effects to the individuals themselves particularly, and the whole mass of the manufacturers of the district generally.

This was the first instance of attention being paid to careful levigation of the clay, prior to mixing it with the flint; and also, of proper quantities of Flint and Clay being mixed with a certain measure of water. The practice now prevails thro' the district; but Slip makers are not sufficiently careful in this department. 

By carefully and thoroughly mixing the clay with the water in the blunging vat, all heterogeneous substances will sink to the bottom, and the fine argillaceous particles will remain suspended in the water. 

The Pottery Mr. Booth made, is very different from that made by the younger Mr. Astbury, at Lane Delph, about 1730, yet like that and other of an ochreous hue, it was called Cream Colour; and its quality excels any then made. 

An excellent specimen is a Sauce Boat, made in 1768, of a fiddle head pattern, from a mould of Mr. A. Wood's, and enamelled by Mr. John Robinson, then recently come from Liverpool. The Flowerers now scratched the jugs and tea ware, with a sharp pointed nail, and filled the interstices with ground zaffre, in rude imitation of the unmeaning scenery on foreign porcelain; and in this art women were instructed, as a constant demand was made on the men for the plastic branches.


 

 

 



next: Chapter 7 - continuation - Wedgwood's Queen Ware 
previous: Chapter 6 - Progress of manufacture from 1700 to 1760.
contents: index of Shaw's book