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When Chinese blue and white porcelain made its way to England in the 1600s, it was highly valued.

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To replicate the white porcelain of the Chinese pieces, the potters developed an earthenware that was salt glazed and had a much whiter color than the stoneware of the time.Within a few years the development of the process of transfer printing was completed.In 1760, the first blue and white English earthenware pieces with transfer printing were made.The process, called transferware, allowed a large number of pieces to be made with the same pattern using the transfer process.Although Josiah Wedgwood II is generally given credit for inventing the flow blue technique in his Staffordshire pottery house in the 1820s, there are some antique historians who believe that the flow blue technique was the result of an accident.

Antique historians that feel the process of flowing the blue was intentional believe it was done to cover any imperfections and unattractive areas that occurred as a result of the transfer pattern being applied and removed.They feel that it was the effect that occurred naturally when the cobalt oxide in the transfer pattern was slightly blurred to soften the seam and edge markings on the china pieces.However, other historians believe that the popular flowing blue color was the result of a mistake or an accident that involved jars of chlorides being left in the kilns when the pieces were put in for their second firing.Regardless of how the diffusion of the blue pigment originated, the china with the beautiful flows of color quickly became popular, especially in America.More companies began using the technique, adding ammonia chloride or lime when the pieces were glazed, to enhance the blurred flowing effect.Generally there are three main styles, or categories, of Flow Blue china.