The use of ceramic vessels in the home is, of course, age-old, and most of the major developments in production techniques had been achieved before the twentieth century. Nevertheless, there were a number of processes that helped to further democratize the range and style of products available.

Photolithographic images for ceramics were developed during the late 1930s. This process allowed exact copies of original artwork to be reproduced on a piece via a transfer. It was first successfully exploited in the United States in the 1950s. A further improvement was the Murray-Curvex offset litho process that became available during the mid-1950s. This process transferred the still wet print onto the ceramic article via a gelatin pad or “bomb,” allowing the print to cover the sides of bowls and tureens, producing an “all-over” pattern.

These techniques were exploited by American and European designers and manufacturers and gave rise to a new wave of brightly patterned wares, often influenced by current artistic movements such as abstract expressionism. Some products were criticized as simply having new surface decoration applied to older shapes, but others were genuinely new combinations of exciting shapes and patterns, available at affordable prices.

The 1960s and 1970s saw less creativity in design, but technological development continued with tougher glazes able to withstand electric dishwashing.