Pottery Trade Marks
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Why the marks are important:For the larger pottery manufactures, the mark also had publicity value and shows the buyer that the object was made by a long established pottery with a reputation to uphold, such as clear name marks like Minton, Wedgwood, Royal Crown Derby and Royal Worcester.
To the collector, the mark has greater importance, because not only can he trace the manufacturer of any marked object, but he will also be able to know the date the piece was made and in several cases the exact year it was made, particularly in the case of 19th and 20th century pottery from the leading potteries which used private dating systems.
With the increasing use of ceramic marks in the 19th century, a large proportion of English pottery and porcelain can be accurately identified and often dated.
The most important reason for the trademarks is so that counterfeit pieces can easily be identified.
Before there were registered trade marks, many people lost money on what they thought was authentic pottery.
Ceramic marks are applied in four basic ways:
Inciseda mark or initial that is cut or drawn into the still soft clay during manufacturing, which will show a slight ploughed up effect and have a free spontaneous appearance.
This type of mark is usually used by the smaller potteries.
Impressedmetal or clay stamps or seals are pressed into the soft clay during manufacturing, many name marks such as 'Wedgwood' were produced this way.
These marks have a neat mechanical appearance.
Painted marksusually name or initial marks were added over the glaze at the time of decoration, as were some stenciled marks.
Printed markstransferred from engraved copper plates at the time of decoration.
Most 19th-century marks are printed and were often in blue under the glaze when the main design is also in underglaze blue.
Information on the method of applying each mark can be of vital importance, for instance the early Chelsea triangle mark must be incised not impressed, as it can be on 19th-century fakes.
There are several general rules for dating ceramic marks, attention to which will avoid several common errors:
Royal Armsprinted marks incorporating the Royal Arms are generally of 19th or 20th century date.
The use of the Royal Coat of Arms is to identify the person who is Head of State.,br /> In respect of the United Kingdom, the royal arms are used only by the administration and government.
They are used in many ways in connection with the administration and government of the country, for instance on coins, in churches and on public buildings.
Queen Elizabeth the First instructed that all churches should have a royal coat of arms to symbolize the fact that the monarch was the head of the Church of England.
They are familiar to most people as they appear on the products and goods of Royal Warrant holders.
The belt surrounding the shield bears the motto of the Order of the Garter
which is an ancient order of knighthood of which the Queen is Sovereign
"Hon Y Soit Qui Mal Y Pense"
"Shame to him who evil thinks."
Below is the motto of the Sovereign
"Dieu et Mon Droit,"
"God and My Right."
The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom have evolved over many years since the 1100's and reflect the history of the Monarchy and of the country, the arms have remained unchanged since Queen Victoria.
The shield shows the various royal emblems of different parts of the United Kingdom: the three lions of England in the first and fourth quarters, the lion of Scotland in the second and the harp of Ireland in the third.
The shield is supported by the English lion and Scottish unicorn.
The plant badges of the United Kingdom which is the rose, thistle and shamrock are sometimes displayed beneath the shield.
Pattern Nameprinted marks incorporating the name of the pattern were after 1810.
'Limited' Company Marksincorporating the word 'Limited', or the abbreviations 'Ltd', 'Ld', etc., denote a date after 1861, and most examples are much later.
Trade Markincorporation of the words Trademark in a mark denotes a date subsequent to the Act of 1862.
Royaluse of the word Royal in a firm's title or trade name suggests a date in the second half of the 19th century, if not a 20th-century dating.
Registered Numberuse of the abbreviation R N for Registered Number followed by numerals denotes a date after 1883.
Englanduse of the word England in marks denotes a date after 1891, but some manufacturers added the word slightly before this date. Made in England denotes a 20th-century date.
It was William McKinley, the 25th president of the USA, who introduced the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890.
This put tariffs on many imports including pottery in order to make it easier for the American manufacturers to sell their products.
It was a requirement of this Act that all such imports carried the name of the country of manufacture.
This used well known marks such as "Bavaria," "England," "Nippon," showed the country of manufacture.
In 1921 the Act was amended to require the phrase "Made in" preceding the country of origin.
The labeling at individual British potteries varies somewhat from the 1891 to 1921 dating requirements described above.
Wedgwood adopted the "Made in England" around 1908 to 1910 and may have used it on some pieces as early as 1898.
Mark of Thomas Elsmore & Son, 1872-87, with the use of 'ENGLAND' before the mandatory use after 1891
Bone China - use of the words Bone China, English Bone China and so forth, denotes a 20th-century date.
Descriptions - use of words of description such as Ye Olde Willow, Genuine Staffordshire Ware and Victoria Ironstone and the like usually indicate modern copies.
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