The True Story of The Industrial Revolution.

Josiah Wedgwood was angry.  He didn’t like how the price of Prussian Blue, one of his colorants, had risen since it first became available.  Potters across Europe had for centuries admired the brilliant blues they originally saw on pots coming from the east – from the tin glazed Iznik wares in Anatolia to the tonnage of Chinese blue and white porcelains that flooded Europe from the 17th century onward.  The cobalt required to achieve these hues was available but expensive.  A cheaper local alternative was highly sought after.

In 1772 someone in Germany got the bright idea of mixing bullock blood with potash.  They calcined the mess and ended up with a prussiate of potash.  When this prussiate was dissolved in water, voila!  Prussian Blue!

Soon thereafter the Davidson and Davenport chemical manufacturing company in Newcastle upon Tyne, Scotland acquired the formula.  (How they pulled that off might make for an interesting story.)  Once word got out that a domestic Prussian Blue was available, a large number of English potteries jumped on the blue band wagon, Wedgwood included.

Business boomed.  So much so that Davidson and Davenport hired Northumbrian potter and tile maker Antony Hilcote to mass produce prussiate of potash.  He set up a “Blood-Works” on the west bank of the Firth of Forth.  Even on a factory scale, demand was such that prices inevitably rose.  So there was Wedgwood, complaining to his partner Thomas Bentley about the three guineas a pound he now had to pay for it…

The neighbors of Hilcote’s Blood-Works had more to complain about.  From local accounts, they were downright disgusted.

Readings:
Pratt Ware. John and Griselda Lewis.  Antique Collector’s Club/Woodbridge, Suffolk, England.  1984.

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

5 Responses to “The True Story of The Industrial Revolution.”

  1. personalised canvas prints Says:

    brill read. thanks

  2. Winds of Change | This Day in Pottery History Says:

    […] Industrial Revolution era Stoke-on-Trent master potters ruled the world.  […]

  3. Dinner with George Washington | This Day in Pottery History Says:

    […] marked the inception of the “dinnerware set” and the quantum leap from craft pottery to factory production.  Once cracks appeared in porcelain’s allure, […]

  4. Get Your Blue Dash Up | This Day in Pottery History Says:

    […] from the perspective of later pottery – they sold and survived simply because they had blue on […]

  5. The Hit Parade #9: The Portland Vase | This Day in Pottery History Says:

    […] Volumes have been written about Josiah Wedgwood’s Portland Vase, c. 1790.  Essentially, it’s 9½” tall with white sprigging on a black “basalt” body (one of Wedgwood’s many nomenclature shenanigans).  It’s a replica, in ceramic, of a Roman cameo glass vase made around 1AD.  Many have hailed it as a defining Masterpiece for both Wedgwood and  England’s Industrial Revolution. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: