(urth) Tang and Napoleon

Jeff Wilson jwilson at io.com
Thu Jul 2 19:13:03 PDT 2009

Stephen Hoy wrote:
> Another word or two about porcelain. It's formed from a hard clay paste
> heated to an extreme temperature.
> Dresden china lays claim to being the first European hard paste porcelain.
> The story goes that an apothecary and his alchemist assistant reverse
> engineered the secret of hard paste porcelain, a secret which had been the
> exclusive province of the Middle Kingdom since the Tang dynasty. The
> apothecary died before the Meissen factory went into production, so the
> apothecary wound up with most of the personal profits. Wolfe doesn't mention
> this factoid in Peace, but it's a curious background item not much different
> from the Tilly/Smart partnership.

Janet Gleeson's _The Arcanum_ has the latest, greatest historical 
details of the story., with a summary on the page below


Bottger the alchemist died from inhaling too many fumes in the few short 
years of his employ/captivity by the Augustus the Strong, but due to 
lots of graft and corruption, lack of limited liability entities, and 
the preindustrial counterpart to industrial espionage, nobody really 
made a fortune on it other than Augustus, who did merely okay 
considering he was a king to start with and lost half his domain partway 
through the affair.

Jeff Wilson - jwilson at io.com
< http://www.io.com/~jwilson >

More information about the Urth mailing list