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Blue-and-White Staffordshire
Staffordshire was the center of the pottery industry in England, and many factories operated there from the mid-18th century to the present day. The development of transfer printing (see below) allowed these potteries to become among the earliest mass manufacturers, and their affordable products rapidly swept pewter and treen off the tables of the English and American middle-class households. From the 1780s, Staffordshire factories produced huge quantities of transferware for the domestic and export markets. To protect these profitable industries, English colonial laws forbad the development of ceramic factories in America, so shiploads of blue and white crossed the Atlantic. Blue was the most popular color, partly because cobalt was the easiest pigment to fire, but transferware was also produced in green, magenta, and black. Designs that required fine lines, such as a ship's rigging, reproduced most clearly in black.