Mason’s Patent Ironstone China was introduced in 1813 as a less expensive but no less beautiful alternative to Chinese porcelain. Ironstone was so named after its durability and “iron” strength; at one point historians erroneously thought the clay recipe contained iron. Mason’s ironstone proved immensely popular at its introduction, however the factory failed to keep up with the demand for new and innovative designs. In 1848, the company went bankrupt and the factory’s contents were sold at auction to Francis Morley. Ten years later, Morley formed a partnership with his son-in-law Taylor Ashworth. After Morley’s retirement in 1862, Ashworth continued the factory in partnership with his father, George. G. L. Ashworth & Bros. retained Mason’s original printing plates and other equipment and continued to produce ironstone, which had become popular once again. These plates feature an original Mason’s pattern, Fence Vase Doves, as reprinted by the Ashworth Co.