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Josiah Wedgwood was the first significant potter to mark his china with his own name.
From 1860, Wedgwood introduced an impressed mark to the back of the china with the year of manufacture as part of a 3 character code.
As he became older, he would work 16-hour days in various pottery factories.
By the time he was handed responsibility for Aynsley China, he had acquired a vast body of product knowledge.
John II changed the company's focus from pottery to fine bone china.
He altered the manufacturing process by using 50% "calcined bone ash" in his porcelain compound.
John II brought great success to Aynsley China and prosperity to himself.
For some potteries, this mark identifies not only the maker, brand and/or pattern name but also the year and sometimes the month of manufacture.
The format of the code changed over the years but there are some good guides available that explain what the codes mean.
Many Spode and Royal Doulton pieces also contain a mark indicating the month and year of manufacture.
On a whim, he decided to turn his obsession with collecting into a pottery business.
In 1775 John Aynsley opened the doors to his dream in Longton (formally known as Lane End) and soon developed a reputation as a master potter.
Some potteries were quite creative in their labelling, for example, Minton used a variety of symbols such as stars and swans to represent different years.