One of the things I love to find while I’m hunting for treasures is egg coddlers. A few months back I did a post on them which you can read in the archives. They are lots of fun and I love using my own set. They make a good egg! I’ve got my cooking time mastered to give me a nice soft yolk egg. Just the way I like them. One of the makers of these egg coddlers is Royal Worcester. They don’t just make egg coddlers though, they have a long history of making porcelain.
They actually started in 1751. According to Mallams, It was started by 13 local businessmen at the time and was originally called just Worcester Porcelain. They were successful from the beginning with their first showroom opening in 1754 on Aldersgate Street, London.
In 1756 they were one of the first to use a transfer printing process. Robert Hancock had joined the company and pioneered this process. The original pieces had all been hand painted in blue paint under the glaze. This, of course, increased their productivity. They were still Worcester Porcelain at this point.
The company’s founding fathers eventually retired and the company was bought by Thomas Flight who purchased the company for his sons, Joseph and John in 1783. Then in 1789 they got the Royal warrant by George III for making the first Royal Dinner service for the Duke of Gloucester, George’s brother. That was when they added the “Royal” to their name and became Royal Worcester.
They had a number of big orders for the Royal Family and some other notables such as Admiral Nelson in 1802. They created a book of 400 designs for the Prince Regent and the coronation service for King William IV.
Royal Worcester was bought by Richard William Binns and William Henry Kerr in 1851. From that year to 1887 the Severn Street factory grew from 70 employees to 700. I would say that was a huge amount of growth!!
In the early 1900s, Royal Worcester began making hard porcelain items for hospitals, labs and schools across England. During that time they were also branching out successfully into the U.S. At least they were until the Great Depression. They barely escaped with their shirts but they were able to remain open, due in part to innovation, with the development of fireproof porcelain.
The company was also part of the war effort creating electrical resistors and spark plugs. After the war they continued producing and growing and are still in business today. They opened a museum in 1951 which has over 10,000 pieces. According to Mallams, even though they mostly print on porcelain, they still have some designs that are hand-painted.
It’s nice to see a company with such a long history still in business. So many companies, as we’ve seen, weren’t able to compete with cheap imports but Royal Worcester is still going strong!
I hope you have enjoyed this look at Royal Worcester and will join me at the link parties on the right. Have a great week!