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(From c1770-1870 datemarks were not used except around the 1860s when a series of impressed marks was used for which the full code is not known).From 1870 to 1963 impressed datemarks were used - on earthenware from 1870 until 1957 and on bone china and fine stone from 1870 until 1963.
These are usually on flat pieces, for example on a saucer but not on a cup.
They can look insignificant and be difficult to read but once you know what to look for then you can date a piece quite accurately.
There are few recorded dates for the introduction and use of them.
Robert Copeland carried out the most reliable and detailed research of backstamps used by the company and his 'marks book' is a necessary requirement for the serious collector!
Above is an unusual backstamp which includes the name of the pottery body (ie recipe).