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In 1769 John Adams started a pottery factory. Initially the company made wares inspired by popular designs from China. Ten years later his son, William Adams founded a second factory in Tunstall.
William was one of Josiah Wedgwood’s favourite pupils. He was closely involved in the development of Jasperware. Instead of leaning on the knowledge from working with Wedgwood William started experimenting with a new formula for a clay body that was harder and thus more chip resistant than the creamware that was so popular in England in those days.
His experiments lead him to invent Ironstone (which contains neither iron, not is it made of stone). Ironstone or ironstone china was a huge success.
In the early 19th century the company was rebranded William Adams and Sons LTD. Adams’s wares remained in high demand throughout the 19th and first half of the 20th century.
A late success in the history of Adams was the invention of Micratex, a more durable version of ironstone. Despite it’s launch in 1963 Adams was taken over by Wedgwood in 1966. It continued production until 1992, when the factory in Tunstall that William Adams founded over three centuries earlier finally closed.
Adams remains known as a factory that produced many iconic patterns known to fine dinnerware. Patterns like Singapore Bird and Lowestoft belong to the most well known and most sought after in the world.