Gerald Tams gambled - he bought out his cousins and moved up from earthenware to bone china to register a Five Towns success.
When social historians review the last decade they will write about the suffering of Britain's traditional industries of iron and steel, textiles and pottery. They will focus on the deserted presses, crumbling mills and redundant kilns of South Wales, South Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Five Towns.
But they would be wrong to generalise: there are even now chinks of light piercing through the gloom. One of the brightest glimmers of hope is John Tams, the earthenware and fine bone china manufacturer. Founded by John Tams in 1874 in Longton, one of the Five Towns that form the Potteries, the company is enjoying the most prosperous period in its history.