Tuscan China Plant

Written by nina kramer
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Tuscan China Plant
Vases, one of the types of ceramics produced at Tuscan Works. (bancarella image by alberto maisto from Fotolia.com)

The Tuscan China Plant was a manufacturing plant in Staffordshire County in west-central England that operated from 1898 to 1970. Because of its "Tuscan" name, it is sometimes mistakenly thought to be china made in the Tuscany section of northern Italy. Since the 17th century, Staffordshire has been one of the leading European potteries, or ceramic production areas, due to its abundant clay and coal. Distinguished china manufacturers such as Wedgwood, Spode and Minton have operated there.

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Tuscan Plant History

The Plant family had been making pottery in Longton, a town in Staffordshire, as early as the late 18th century. A white glaze basket and a pair of lions, produced about 1780, contain inscriptions of J. Plant and B. Plant, respectively. About 1900, two brothers, R.H. Plant and S.L. Plant, established a major factory called Tuscan Works and, in 1915, it became a limited company, R.H. & S.L. Plant Ltd. Blazoned on the factory building were the words, "Our Work ... Our Pride." Tuscan Works produced what is widely considered a fine line of china until 1970 when the plant was acquired by Wedgwood, the world-famous ceramic maker. In 2006, the plant closed.

Tuscan China Plant
Floral designs were a freqent motif of Tuscan dinnerware. (coffee cup image by Werg from Fotolia.com)

Factory Quality

Over time, the factory flourished. The quality and quantity of products improved. The bodies of the pieces as well as the glazes reached near perfection. In the mid-1900s, the factory was considered modern for the times, with one gas-fired and two electric kilns--the heated enclosures to process certain materials by firing, burning or drying. A renowned potter joined Tuscan Works in 1961 because it had a particularly advanced kiln for bone china, a porcelain made by adding bone ash to a clay mixture.

Tuscan China

Most of what Tuscan Works produced was decorative tableware. Peach Bloom was one of the company's noted china patterns: In a delicate pink shade, it lent itself to attractive designs and colouration. The production of the pattern increased the firm's reputation. After extensive research, Tuscan Works developed products for hotels called Metallised Hotel China; it was strong enough to resist plate fracturing and better than anything then available.

Wedgwood

When Wedgwood acquired R.H. & S.L. Plant Ltd., it changed the name from Tuscan China to Royal Tuscan Fine Bone China. It was Tuscan Works' line of Metallised Hotel China that had especially attracted Wedgwood.

Tuscan Works Today

Today, Tuscan Works is closed but many pieces can still be purchased. Some are available through websites that sell china from place settings, entire place settings or other tableware--pieces which may have passed through generations of owners.

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