Ironstone china

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An ironstone pitcher and washbowl. Ironstone resists chipping. This made it a popular material for pitchers and everyday tableware in the 19th century

Ironstone china, ironstone ware or just ironstone, is a type of pottery. It is vitreous (glazed or glassy) pottery made in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century. It is not earthenware,[1][2] but is similar to fine stoneware.[3]

There is no iron in ironstone. Its name is got because it is strong and durable. Ironstone was developed in the 19th century by potters in Staffordshire. It sold well as a cheaper alternative to porcelain.[4]

Ironstone in Britain's Staffordshire potteries was made by Charles James Mason after his patent of 1813.[1][5] The name "ironstone" later became generally used.[6] The strength of Mason's ironstone enabled the company to produce ornamental objects of large size.[7][8] Their vestibule vaseswere 1.5 metres high.[9] Mantelpieces were made from several large sections.[10] Mason's tableware was widely used in hotels and restaurants as well as private homes. It was usual for commercial clients to have the name of their establishment transfer printed onto the stoneware.

Mason's was not the only manufacturer. Another high-class pottery was Spode, who made ironstone from 1805 onwards. They had big exports to France, where ironstone was often preferred to faience pottery.[11]

During the mid-19th century The United states was the largest export market for Staffordshire's potteries. They bought plain white stoneware in huge quantities.[12]

Antique ironstone wares are collectable, and in particular items made by Mason's.[13]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Daniels, E. (1989). "Product Control of Earthenware Manufacture". Transactions and Journal of the British Ceramic Society. 88 (5): 196–199.
  2. Kurita, T.; M. Fujiwara; N. Otsuka; K. Asaga; H. Fujimoto (1998). "Changes in the Pore Structure of Ironstone China Body with Heating". Journal of the Ceramic Society of Japan. 106 (12).
  3. Rado, Paul (1988). An Introduction To The Technology Of Pottery (2nd ed.). Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Published on behalf of the Institute of Ceramics by Pergamon Press. ISBN 978-0080349329.
  4. Birks, Steve. "Ironstone". Steve Birks. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  5. "Mason's Ironstone retains its decorative tradition". International Tableware. 21 (3). 1991.
  6. Miller, George (April 1991). "Thoughts Towards A User's Guide to Ceramic Assemblages" (PDF). Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology Newsletter (18): 2–5. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  7. Keele University, Raven Mason Collection. "Ornamental Ironstone". Keele University. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  8. "Mason ware". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012 [1].
  9. Fleming, John & Hugh Honour. (1977) The Penguin Dictionary of Decorative Arts. London: Allen Lane, p. 399. ISBN 0713909412
  10. Such a mantelpiece may be seen at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, near Katonah, New York.
  11. Day, Lance and Ian McNeil 2003. Biographical dictionary of the history of technology. Routledge, p1145. ISBN 9780203028292
  12. Orser Jr. C. 2002. Encyclopedia of historical archaeology. Psychology Press, p337. ISBN 9780415215442
  13. The origin of ironstone'. Steve Birks. [2]