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Josiah Wedgwood’s grandfather built the Churchyard Works, a member of the Staffordshire Potteries, during the late 1600’s.By the age of 6, Josiah Wedgwood began working as an apprentice at the Churchyard Works making pitchers, pots, bowls, and vases.It was easy to produce, relatively inexpensive to make, easily decorated, and desired by royalty and commoner alike.A piece of Wedgwood’s creamware sold for a just a few shillings.In 1759, Wedgwood established himself as an independent potter at the “Ivy House Works” in Burslem, England.
At the time, Wedgwood’s employees made between a 14 shillings and four pounds a week, depending on their expertise.
Concerning North America’s insatiable demand for luxury items, Wedgwood once wrote a friend saying, “for the islands of North America we cannot make anything too rich and costly.” Wedgwood’s business continued to expand rapidly.
In 1766, Wedgwood relocated his factory to the Ridge House estate located at New Castle-under-Lyme and Hanley.
Up to that point, the best tableware available was made from refined earthenware.
Wedgwood’s creamware was revolutionary in that it introduced true fine china into the market.
There, Wedgwood built his new factory and a village for his workers. Wedgwood named his factory after the master potters who occupied central Italy until it was taken by the Romans in the 4th and 5th centuries B. The Etruscans were especially skilled at molding and crafting a black pottery called buchero onto which Hellenized figures could be affixed.