Josiah Wedgwood FRS
(1730-1795)

Died aged c. 65

Josiah Wedgwood (12 July 1730 – 3 January 1795) was an English potter and entrepreneur. He founded the Wedgwood company. He developed improved pottery bodies by a long process of systematic experimentation, and was the leader in the industrialisation of the manufacture of European pottery (the Chinese having achieved this long before). "It was by intensifying the division of labour that Wedgwood brought about the reduction of cost which enabled his pottery to find markets in all parts of Britain, and also of Europe and America." The renewed classical enthusiasms of the late 1760s and early 1770s were of major importance to his sales promotion. His expensive goods were in much demand from the upper classes, while he used emulation effects to market cheaper sets to the rest of society. Every new invention that Wedgwood produced – green glaze, creamware, and jasperware – was quickly copied. Having once achieved efficiency in production, he obtained efficiencies in sales and distribution. His showrooms in London gave the public the chance to see his complete range of tableware. Wedgwood's company never made porcelain during his lifetime, but specialized in fine earthenwares and stonewares that had many of the same qualities, but were considerably cheaper. He made great efforts to keep the designs of his wares in tune with current fashion. He was an early adopter of transfer printing which gave similar effects to hand-painting for a far lower cost. Meeting the demands of the consumer revolution and growth in wealth of the middle classes that helped drive the Industrial Revolution in Britain, Wedgwood is sometimes credited as the inventor of modern marketing. He pioneered direct mail, money back guarantees, self-service, free delivery, buy one get one free, and illustrated catalogues. A prominent abolitionist fighting slavery, Wedgwood is remembered too for his "Am I Not a Man And a Brother?" anti-slavery medallion. He was a member of the Darwin–Wedgwood family, and he was the grandfather of Charles and Emma Darwin.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Simon Harriyott on Flickr
Seo Mise on Geograph

Josiah Wedgwood F.R.S. Master Potter (1730-95) here had his London showrooms 1774-1795

Greek Street, London, United Kingdom where they had his London showrooms

Josiah Wedgwood 1730-1795 Master Potter Co-founder of Unitarian Academy, Warrington, Lancs. Active worshipper at this Meeting House

Lower Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, United Kingdom where they worshipped