Bone China was developed by Josiah Spode in 1800 in England, as an inexpensive version of real porcelain. This however, did not happen; bone china was seen as superior to porcelain because of its lighter weight, reception of bright colors and because of it pure white color.
Most of the bone china was marked when it was made, so it is very easy to identify. Some of the most notable manufacturers of bone china are: Spode, Minton, Davenport, Coalport, and Worcester. Other manufacturer's emerged a little later such as Wedgwood in 1812, and Rockingham in 1820.
Josiah Spode started a small pottery shop in 1770. He refined the process of blue under glaze printing on earthenware. This achievement earned him a great reputation, but his development of bone china was what earned Josiah Spode a place in history. The Spode pottery company still produces from its original site. The company has a well documented history and has on record all of the variations of its stamps from its beginning, so you should be able to date any piece relatively accurately.
Minton ware was produced in a factory in Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England. Thomas Minton started the factory in 1793. The factory at first manufactured Parian porcelain, cream-colored and blueprinted earthenware, and Majolica. Thomas Minton became famous for the willow pattern. An example of which is shown at left (this is not a willow pattern done by Minton, but the pattern is basically the same no matter who's you look at). Minton did not start production of bone china until 1820.
In 1793, John Davenport from Longport, Staffordshire, England began producing pottery and dinnerware. He began producing bone china in 1800. The company was sold in 1887 to Thomas Hughes.
Founded by John Rose in Shropshire, England in 1795. Coalport specialized in glazed bone china, which was in extremely high demand. Because its factory was in Coalbrookdale the company was sometimes called Coalbrookdale Porcelain.
Dr. John Wall was the head of a group of small businessmen who started a porcelain manufactory in 1751. Dr. John Wall's vision was to create wares of a form so precise as to be easily distinguishable. The factory made transfer print porcelain in large number by the 1760's and many of these are sought out by collectors. In 1789 King George III gave the company the Royal Warrant. Which meant that the company would produce the Royals dinnerware. At this time Royal was added to the name, and the company is known to this day as Royal Worcester.
Josiah Wedgwood who founded the company in 1759 was considered ìthe Father of English Potters. Josiah Wedgwood perfected a number of pottery techniques that earned him this name and the company great respectability. The company is very well known for its bone china and has been for some time. Theodore Roosevelt had Wedgwood make a set of bone china with the presidential seal on it for use in the White House.
Started in 1745 by Joseph Flint the pottery went through financial hard times until it closed in 1842, but not before creating some magnificent pottery. Because the pottery was produced for such a relatively short time, pieces are rare and hunted by collectors.