Dinnerware pieces are among the oldest objects created and used by humans. Nearly every primitive society produced dinnerware in some form or another. In addition to their use as eating utensils and food containers, early dinnerware pieces were also used for carrying water and cooking.
The Chinese are credited with inventing what most people consider today's dinnerware, as well as the development of processes which eventually led to the mixing of clay and stone to produce the first true porcelain. Continued development and experimentation led to the discovery of fireable clear and colored glazes, as well as individualized decoration. These modern dinnerware pieces migrated to Europe via established trade routes to the West, where they became highly-prized items.
Formula and production processes used to create dinnerware in Europe were continually developed and refined, eventually yielding the fine patterns and sets known today.
Current dinnerware design owes much of its development to advances made in body and glaze formulas, decoration methods, and manufacturing techniques that occurred in England's Staffordshire pottery district between 1750 and 1850. For the most part, English designers and manufacturers set the dinnerware quality standards for the rest of the world.
Today's ceramic dinnerware is produced using a mixture of raw materials, including different types and grades of clay, stone, glass and bone ash. These materials - combined with standardized firing temperatures - produce dinnerware types of all kinds including pottery and earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, and bone china.