5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Wedgwood

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2018

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Wedgwood

Proud, prestigious and steeped in history, the World of Wedgwood is the jewel of the Potteries.

To celebrate the longstanding cultural heritage and unrivalled majesty of Wedgwood pottery, we thought we'd bestow a small selection of facts onto you.

Without further ado, let’s take a look.

Josiah Wedgwood's bad leg inspired Wedgwood's biggest innovations

As you may well know, Josiah Wedgwood is renowned for industrialising the ceramics industry. But many of his most notable contributions and innovations originate because he caught smalox as a child.

As a result of contracting the disease, Mr Wedgwood lost the use of his right leg and as a result, was unable to work with a traditional pedal-driven pottery wheel. Rather than let this steer him away from the world of pottery, Josiah instead focused his efforts on the science of ceramics and alternative methods of production which served as a catalyst for the industrialisation of the industry.

Wedgwood is the preferred choice for the Monarchy

For over two centuries Wedgwood has been a staple of the world's most elegant and affluent homes - and as such, it's been the preferred choice for notable female figures throughout history.

From the holiday home of Empress Catherine The Great, right the way through to the banqueting tables at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, Wedgwood has always been affiliated with excellence - and this is still true today.

Wedgwood was home to one of the world's first steam-powered factories

Josiah Wedgwood's lifelong friend, collaborator, and 'natural philosopher', Erasmus Darwin, encouraged the pottery icon to invest in steam-powered technology after being inspired by the steam engines produced by Watt and Boulton.

So, in 1782, Wedgwood's factory in Etruria was fitted with the newfangled steam technology, making it one of the most advanced factories on the planet at that time.

Wedgwood prevailed despite leaving school aged nine

When Josiah's father passed away in 1737, he was forced to leave school and embark on an apprenticeship at the Churchyard Works, following in the footsteps of his older brother to help support the family.

Despite being dealt a difficult hand and achieving no formal education, Josiah went onto to create one of the world's most prolific pottery dynasties - he was also credited with inventing the pyrometer – a style of thermometer designed to withstand the searing heat present within kilns. A true inspiration.