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— published in Ceramics and Glass at the Essex Institute, Salem: The Essex Institute, 1985, 6-23.

SUMMARY: The famous heyday of Salem’s import of Chinese export ware came in the postrevolutionary days of Elias Hasket ‘King’ Derby (1739-1799). With wealth from his merchant father, Richard Derby, ‘King’ sent his ship, the Grand Turk, to Canton in 1786. The third U.S. vessel in the China trade, it brought back $2,000 worth of china. Like its predecessors, this porcelain cargo was used to floor the ship and protect the dry goods but not as ballast, contrary to popular tradition. Now a larger, greatly profitable flow of porcelains into town began, either by private order or for commercial speculation. The exchange engaged shipmasters or investors whose names are still famous in Salem:  Benjamin and George Hodges, William Gray, Richard Wheatland, Clifford Crowninshield, Ichabod Nichols, and Nathan Peirce.