Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Josiah Wedgewood

Today we honor a prime mover of the early English Industrial Revolution. Josiah Wedgewood (1730–95) was born into a family of potters and he apprenticed into the trade at a young age. Young Josiah was a quick study and his technique and mastery of the trade soon led his innovative designs demanded by such luminaries as Catherine the Great of Russia and Queen Charlotte of England.

Through investment from family, Wedgewood was able to transform his process from craft to true factory production, vastly increasing the availability and decreasing the cost of pottery for the growing working class of Manchester, England. As a supporter of industrialization, Wedgewood was an investor in canals in England. In addition to his characteristic glazes, Wedgewood also developed new techniques in marketing and in the science of pottery. He developed one of the earliest pyrometers as a way of monitoring temperature in his kilns. He was also a member of the Lunar Society in Birmingham and a strong advocate for the abolition of slavery (the famous abolitionist image above was originally designed in his pottery works and was used by Wedgewood in cameo form to promote his ideas).

In addition to the aforementioned accomplishments, it should be noted as well that the fortune amassed by Wedgewood directly enabled the scientific pursuits of Charles Darwin, his grandson, by allowing him the leisure and wealth to pursue his indefatigable investigation of evolution.

Sources:
Wikipedia entry
Ceramics Today profile
The Wedgewood Museum

2 comments:

cherring109 said...

I would like to suggest a Hero of Capitalism! Hironobu Sakaguchi for his creation of the final fantasy video game franchise.

Fusajiro Yamauchi for founding the Nintendo Company.

Seamus Blackley for helping create the Xbox game console.

Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, for starting the video game industry.

I think i'll keep looking for suggestions and come back when I have more. thanks.

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