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“C” is for Clays

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  “C” is for Clays. South Carolina produced the first kaolin mines in the United States. Today it contains some of the country’s most productive clay beds. The predominant clay region in South Carolina follows the trend of the Sandhills across the upper coastal plain, with major production centered in Aiken County near the towns of Aiken, Bath, and Langley. Clay was first mined for pottery production in Edgefield District, which became a center of pottery making in the state. Eighteenth century English china manufacturer Josiah Wedgewood wrote about the important kaolin deposits in South Carolina. For many years the state produced fuller’s earth, clay that was used as an industrial absorbent. Today South Carolina produces clay not for pottery but for industrial uses, including paper manufacture. In addition, clays are mined for the manufacture of brick products.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.