Josiah Spode

Josiah Spode

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Josiah Spode (23 March 1733 – 1797) was an English potter born in a village that is now part of Stoke-on-Trent. Spode was a pauper's son and also a pauper's orphan at the age of six. He earned renown in the pottery business by his only fortunate circumstance of being born in Staffordshire. It was here that he perfected the blue underglaze printing process in 1784 and developing the formula for fine bone china, also known as porcelain.

Spode was a former apprentice of potter Thomas Whieldon, but left when Whieldon took in Josiah Wedgwood as a business partner.

Spode opened a factory in Stoke-on-Trent in 1767. In 1776, he became owner of the current Spode factory, still in operation today. His business in creamware (a fine cream-coloured earthenware) and in pearlware (a fine white-glazed earthenware) was very successful.

Josiah Spode had a son, Josiah Spode II (born 1755), who carried on the business. He was magnificently prepared for the role, an experienced salesman as well as a potter, having gained an invaluable knowledge of marketing in fashionable London.

The Spode factory remains in operation in Stoke-on-Trent.

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