Fine bone china made in England includes china from the Coalport, Derby, Davenport, Herculaneum Pottery, Mintons, Spode, Wedgwood and Royal Worcester companies. Since its invention, most bone china has come from the Stoke-on-Trent region of England. Bone china was invented in 1749 by Thomas Frye and perfected by Josiah Spode, who went on to found Spode Ceramics Works, one of the first purveyors of bone china.
The major English bone china companies were all founded within 50 years of the invention of bone china, beginning with Royal Worcester and Derby in 1751 and ending with Coalport China in 1795. They also were almost all centered near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire; the one exception is Herculaneum Pottery, which was founded in Liverpool but imported all its craftsmen from Staffordshire. Wedgwood, one of the best-known bone china companies, merged with Waterford Crystal in 1987.
Bone china takes its name from the bone ash added to the soft-porcelain mixture used to make the china. The addition of the bone ash keeps the porcelain from developing fine cracks and also allows for more steadfast colors and gilding. Spode's formulation called for six parts of bone ash to four parts of china stone and three-and-a-half parts china clay. This same formula is still used for most bone china.