Ironstone is a sturdy, durable form of china that is usually undecorated. It was first produced in the 19th century by British potters who exported it to the U.S.
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Ironstone is mass-produced china that is more durable than porcelain and harder than earthenware. It is heavy, thick, and sturdy.
Charles James Mason patented the first ironstone pottery in 1813 in Staffordshire, England. His formula included flint, clay, and iron slag, which gave ironstone its name.
In the 1840s British potters began exporting ironstone to the U.S. American consumers preferred undecorated pottery, so most exported ironstone is plain white. Domestic British ironstone patterns usually depicted transferware Asian motifs printed in blue.
Although exported ironstone was not typically painted or printed, it usually featured a white-on-white embossed pattern of flowers, leaves or other designs.
Ironstone was made and used for everyday dining. Therefore, most collectible pieces are imperfect, adding character to each piece. According to MyGranny'sAttic.com, ironstone's patina inspires collectors to ask questions about a piece's previous owner.
Ironstone has also been known as stone china, new stone, graniteware, white granite, semiporcelain, opaque porcelain, or English porcelain.
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