Staffordshire pottery marks are typically located on the base of china and resemble a knotted rope with three loops. Initials placed inside the loops and a crown on top help to identify the pottery, and additional details date it. The first use of the knot occurred around 1845.
Backstamps on Staffordshire pottery change over the years and help identify the time range of manufacture. Pottery produced after 1884 includes a registration number. The word "England" appears on the backstamp after 1891, added due to a change in tariff laws. "Made in England" appears on the backstamp after World War I, and the pattern name appears after 1810. Other identifying marks include trademarks, and an extra shield appears in pieces produced during or after the 19th century.
Registered numbers exist for pottery produced after 1884 but indicate the initial registry date, not the manufacture date. Reference books help in the identification of Staffordshire pottery because of the large number of items produced over the years.
Staffordshire refers to an area in England where pottery production began in the early 1700s due to the availability of Devonshire clay in the area, used in the production of pottery and porcelain. Many different companies produce pottery and porcelain in Staffordshire. Examples today include Wedgwood, Mintons and Royal Doulton.