How to Buy Pre-c.1840 Date-Lined Ceramics

Pip Harris Pip Harris

Pre-c.1840 date-lined ceramics include any ceramic items created before the year 1840. These items include different types of ceramics, including earthenware, stoneware, ironstone, porcelain, and china.

Antique ceramics also come in a variety of different art forms, such as items used for holding beverages and foods, beautiful tiles for floors and walls, and figurines in a variety of themes. Shoppers should have a good idea of the types and forms of pre-c.1840 date-lined ceramics they want before shopping.

Even among the divisions of Pottery, tiles, and figures, buyers can find additional subcategories, including the different types of wares for pottery, the selection of tile choices, and the various themes available for figures. On top of that, shoppers have to choose between a glazed or unglazed finish before making a purchase. Luckily, eBay offers a multitude of choices when selecting pottery, tiles, and figures online.

Types of Ceramics

Ceramics come in a variety of material types. These materials affect the look and aesthetic appeal of the items made from them. The table below contains information on some of the different types of ceramic materials used in the categories of dinnerware, cookware, pottery, and tiles.

Ceramic Types



A common material used in the making of tableware, as well as a variety of decorative objects

Fired in a two-step process


Made from non-refractory fire clay

Durable and more opaque than porcelain

Grey or brownish due to impurities in clay


Made by heating raw materials, such as kaolin, in a kiln

Low permeability and elasticity, as well as tough and translucent

Bone China

High strength and chip resistance

Valued for its translucent properties and high levels of whiteness


When buying ceramic items, shoppers need to know the types of ceramic materials to purchase to match the items they already own. If they are buying ceramics for the first time, they do not have to worry about this characteristic.

Ceramic Art

Shoppers can find a large variety of ceramic art objects for sale. These include pottery, tiles, and figures. The sections below go into more detail on the different forms of ceramic art.


Ceramic pottery items use clay in their construction. While most pottery objects might seem similar, their material makeup can change their properties dramatically. The following table lists the most common ceramic materials used and the differences between them.

Material Types



First found in China

Often referred to as China clay

Colour of the clay depends on the amount of iron oxide in its makeup

Ball Clay

Extremely fine-grain clay with a high level of plasticity

Added to porcelain to increase its ability to withstand pressure

Fire Clay

Heat resistant form of clay added to other clays to increase their firing temperatures

Usually highly plastic

Stoneware Clay

Falls somewhere in between fire clay and ball clay

Used for creating stoneware

Fine-grain, heat resistant clay

Red Clay

Not usually suitable for making pottery due to its high vegetable and ferric oxide impurities

Used for making bricks

Those who make ceramics can add other materials, such as bentonite, to the clay mixture to achieve different effects. When added to clay in small quantities, bentonite makes it more pliable and plastic.


Shoppers prize ceramic tiles for their beauty and utility. They serve as a covering for floors, walls, and other surfaces like tabletops. The following table details the different types of ceramic tiles that are available and their uses.

Tile Types



Thickness (mm)


Ceramic Tile




Standard tile

Wide selection of uses, including for floors and walls

Stoneware Floor Tile




Used mainly for floors

Made out of durable stoneware materials

Porcelain Stoneware




Used as tiles for covering walls

Plasticity precludes the use of glaze

Catalonian Floor Tile




Floor tiles originating in Spain

Porous material allows for the absorption of liquids

Rustic Stoneware




Floor tile covering that comes in both Glazed and unglazed varieties





Another floor tile variant that absorbs liquids at a high rate

The difference between a floor tile and a wall tile has to do with the thickness of the tile. Thicker tiles make the best floor coverings, while thinner and lighter tiles make ideal coverings for walls.

Ceramic Tile PEI Classifications

The PEI classification of a tile helps determine its best use. The table below details the different classification levels and what they mean, from Class 0 to Class 5.



Class 0

For use on walls

Unsuitable for use on floors

Class 1

For use on residential and commercial walls

Used on floor areas with bare foot traffic

Class 2

For use on residential bath floors and walls

Used on floor areas that see soft-soled traffic

Class 3

Best used on residential and light commercial floors

Class 4

For areas with moderate soiling

Used in medium commercial, light industrial, and at institutions

Class 5

Used in heavy traffic areas

For areas with abrasive dirt

Chemical resistant

Shoppers need to match up the tile classifications with the areas they are tiling. Using a tile unsuited to an area can lead to the tile being damaged or breaking, which ultimately requires replacement with the correct class of tile.


Ceramic figurines find themselves adored by collectors the world over. For the most part, they fall into certain categories that are often based on many popular themes. The section below lists some of the more common themes upon which manufacturers base their figurines.

  • People
  • Animals
  • Flowers
  • Fantasy
  • Sports
  • Traditions
  • Holidays
  • Religious-based
  • Relationships

Ceramic Finishes

Typically, shoppers can find ceramic items glazed or unglazed. Applying glaze to a ceramic item involves fusing a vitreous, glass coating to the surface of an object through a firing process. This coating can serve to protect and enhance an item.


Glaze provides a protective and decorative coating for a ceramic piece. The glaze can also strengthen an item and waterproof it. The waterproofing effects of a glaze allow earthenware pottery, in particular, to hold liquids. In addition to a glossy finish, glazes can provide a matte or colour finish. In some cases, glaze can enhance an underlying design or texture.

When applying glaze, the process involves either dusting the ceramic piece with raw materials, such as silica to form a glossy coating, or a flux material, such as a variety of metal oxides. The metal oxides, including sodium, potassium, and calcium, lower the melting temperature of the silica. Various other components are also used when glazing a pottery piece, including alumina, which helps stiffen the glaze in its molten form so that it does not slip off the piece. Other materials like iron oxide and copper carbonate act as colourants, while tin oxide and zirconium oxide act as opacifiers.


Unglazed Pottery consists of any ceramic piece that has not had a glaze coating applied to it. While this precludes its use to hold liquids, unglazed ceramics do have their uses. The first is as a water absorbent tile that finds use on walkways or in areas that require the increased water absorbent features that these tiles provide. This includes areas like horse stables, for example, or around a pool where water from the pool requires an absorbent material as opposed to a waterproof one. Objects of art also provide another area where unglazed ceramics are used, as they provide a different, duller look than the normal glossy appearance of a glazed item.

Popular Brands of Ceramics

When buying ceramic pieces, shoppers have a few choices when it comes to brands. The list below contains some of the more popular manufacturers of pre-c.1840 date-lined ceramics.

  • Coalport
  • Royal Crown Derby
  • Royal Staffordshire
  • Royal Worcester
  • Staffordshire

Buying Pre-c.1840 Date-Lined Ceramics on eBay

To buy pre-c.1840 date-lined ceramics on eBay, start by conducting a product search on the site. Just enter keywords into the search box on any eBay page. Use terms like 'antique porcelain' or ' Davenport pottery ', for example, to begin searching. Once the list of results comes up, narrow down the choices by clicking on any of the various filter options. This displays just the listings that match your particular criteria. Also, visit eBay's Search Tips page for more information on searching for ceramics with keywords. eBay Shops may be able to provide you with more product options, as well.

Remember to read over each product listing to make sure it fits your specific needs. Take notice of things like product cost, item quality, size, colour, shipping cost, and any other important terms of sale. If you have any other questions, just click the Ask a Question link on the product page, and the seller should answer quickly.


Pre-c.1840 date-lined ceramics can be a beautiful addition to anyone's home. Whether serving as bakeware or dinnerware for preparing and serving food, as tiles in bathrooms and other areas, or as exquisite works of art for display, ceramics have many uses within a home. Shoppers should also make sure that any ceramics they expect to use for beverages have the appropriate glazes applied, particularly when it comes to pre-1840 pieces. When buying tiles, shoppers should buy the appropriate types, depending on whether the tiles are used on walls, which require thinner and lighter tiles, or on floors.

When buying pre-c.1840 date-lined ceramic figures, shoppers should look for the themes they want as well as the finishes since most collectors tend to purchase figurines with similar types of looks. A variety of brands can be found when buying ceramic items, as well, even when it comes to antique pieces. Whether shoppers are buying pieces of pottery, decorative tiles, treasured ceramic figurines, or other objects de' art, they can find a multitude of items to choose from on eBay.