The Satellites: Communist Meissen Ware

In the old days, when the rulers of Europe faced a balance-of-payments problem, they turned not to economists but to alchemists, who always seemed to be just on the verge of discovering how to turn base metal into gold. In 1709, Johann Friedrich Böttger, an alchemist employed by Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, hit upon something almost as good as gold: using wig powder as a base, he produced Europe's first true porcelain. To keep the secret, Augustus shut Böttger up in a dank castle in the Saxon village of Meissen and told him...

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