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Wedgwood : the first tycoon

Author: Brian Dolan
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2004.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Before there was a Trump or a Rockefeller, there was Wedgwood. Wedgwood pottery, with its familiar white classical figures against a pale-blue background, has been one of the most recognizable luxury brand names in the world for more than two hundred years. In this lively, authoritative biography, Brian Dolan shows us how a crippled, disenfranchised child grew to become the first tycoon, and, as the inventor of the
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Genre/Form: Biography
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Dolan, Brian.
Wedgwood.
New York : Viking, 2004
(OCoLC)646106814
Named Person: Josiah Wedgwood; Josiah Wedgwood; Josiah Wedgwood; Josiah Wedgwood
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Brian Dolan
ISBN: 0670033464 9780670033461
OCLC Number: 55085826
Description: xvii, 396 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Currency conversion and costs ca. 1760 --
Wedgwood family tree --
Part one : Rivalry, 1730-1763. A place for Thomas --
A will and a prayer --
"Creators of fortune and fame" --
A potter and a gentlewoman --
Discipline and dissent --
"Dues & demands" --
The Racehorse --
By the docks --
Paradise Street --
"Improveable subjects" --
"O grief of griefs" --
Part two : History, 1764-1769. Recipe for success --
Fit for a king and queen --
The vexed and the virtuosi --
"Exquisite models" --
The creators of beauty --
An afflicted heart --
The arts reborn --
Part three : Rebirth, 1769-1776. Ingenious working people and formidable opponents --
French frippery and Russian husks --
Wanting air for Sally --
"All the gardens in England" --
"Off for the Cherokee Nation" --
Poison and porcelain --
Mad ministers --
The Philosophes and plaster shops of Paris --
A poor regiment --
Par four : Wealth, 1776-1795. Arrivistes --
Renewed grief --
"But half myself" --
"A storm is gathering" --
"Some plan of life" --
The "giant malady" --
"To mix again with their original clay" --
"Unremitting fires" --
Epilogue.
Responsibility: Brian Dolan.
More information:

Abstract:

Before there was a Trump or a Rockefeller, there was Wedgwood. Wedgwood pottery, with its familiar white classical figures against a pale-blue background, has been one of the most recognizable luxury brand names in the world for more than two hundred years. In this lively, authoritative biography, Brian Dolan shows us how a crippled, disenfranchised child grew to become the first tycoon, and, as the inventor of the eponymous brand name, the father of our label-obsessed culture. His is the Enlightenment's supreme success story. Born into an impoverished potter's family in Staffordshire, England, Josiah Wedgwood began life with dim prospects. He had scant education, and a bout with smallpox left him with a lame leg. But while he was apprenticed to his hapless elder brother, his natural curiosity and ambition led him to conduct a series of rigorous chemical experiments in the hope of discovering a pure white glaze then unattainable in Europe. He moved on, and up, cleverly cultivating patronage, and early in his career won commissions from Queen Charlotte and Catherine the Great. Weathering, and, in some cases, capitalizing on the volatile political climate of the period, he built a formidable empire. He turned the dining room into an art gallery, not only for royalty, dilettanti, and diplomats from America and China, but also for the rising middle class, who clamored for his "ornamental" pieces. Wedgwood combined originality with intense investigation, setting an example for future generations (including his own grandson, Charles Darwin) and revolutionizing a model of business that is now ubiquitous. He organized skilled labor in one of the world's first factories; offered his employees health insurance and pension plans; and tranformed the very notion of shopping by opening showrooms, engaging traveling salesmen, and offering money-back guarantees. Wedgwood was a convivial family man of vast imagination. A true disciple of the Enlightenment and a member of the famous Lunar Society -- which included Benjamin Franklin, James Watt, Joseph Priestley, and Erasmus Darwin -- he believed all his accomplishments were for naught if they failed to effect social improvement. This is the vivid portrait of a pioneer who used a potent combination of science, aesthetics, and marketing to change commerce forever. - Jacket flap.

Wedgwood has been one of the most recognizable brand names in the world for more than two hundred years--the epitome of quality and luxury--and is also the Enlightenment's most remarkable success story. Born into a poor family of potters, Josiah Wedgwood amassed a fortune that would today make him a billionaire, and created a multinational corporate empire. He combined rationality with bold experimentation, revolutionizing the business model of his time with a series of innovations: organizing skilled labor in one of the world's earliest factories; encouraging employee loyalty by offering long-term contracts that included health insurance and pension plans; and changing the very notion of shopping by utilizing showrooms and traveling salesmen.

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