Porcelain has grown to be one of the typical wares in today’s world. It can be subdivided into two categories. The hard-paste or Oriental porcelain was first manufactured in the Far East. It is made up of two natural ingredients china-stone and china-clay. These two will form porcelain when heated together at temperatures ranging from 1,300 to 1,400 degrees. In this post, you will find the details about Porcelain History and its diverse types.
Any material formed using this kind of procedure is usually rigid, translucent, and white. If the material is broken or chipped, a shiny fracture appears. Artificial porcelain is the second diverse types and it is made from clay fused with glass to make the art opaque. This porcelain does not need to be torched at high temperatures.
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The soft-paste porcelain differs from hard-paste in that it allows colors to blend into the glaze. When broken, this porcelain will produce a sugary granular cleavage. In 1800, another diverse types of soft-paste was brought to England known as bone china. This porcelain was a combination of china-stone and china clay together with powder from calcined bones. The porcelain is easy to manufacture and exceptionally durable.
Porcelain in China
Chinese pottery has come quite a long way and formed modern-day China. Among the early Chinese pottery achievements was the creation of denser clay materials. These products would be passed through fire at high temperatures to give more robust products. The Chinese still refer to all the high-fired clays ‘porcelain’; back in England, porcelain is fine-grained and white clay.
It is porcelain made from a pure mix of petuntse (China stone) and kaolin. Other times a 20% flint is added to the mixture. The mixture produced is then heated at high temperatures. Kaolin is a readily available ingredient in porcelain clay, and it can be mined from just anywhere.
The burning of these porcelain makes them extremely strong. They cannot easily break despite their fragile appearance. Usually, the glaze and clay melt together to form a uniform product. You cannot easily tell where the glaze is or the clay. More and more people in England have replicated the porcelain for about 150 years. That was until 1710 when a German industry started manufacturing hard-paste porcelain.
The disadvantage of hard porcelain is that it may chip quite easily. Being heated at high temperatures means it is also expensive to manufacture.
This porcelain comprises of petuntse, kaolin, and a glassy substance. Usually, the glassy substance is a mixture of nitre, salt, white sand, alum, and gypsum. Chalk and lime are added to the mix to fuse the glassy substance and the white clay completely. The early iterations of porcelain in Europe were developed in France, Italy, and England imitated the porcelain’s translucency.
These diverse types of clay are only heated at 1100 degrees though its surface can easily be scratched. New additions were added to the mixture, such as quartz. The frit and white clay fusion produce a granular body since they do not melt together to form a uniform product. Soft-paste porcelain is weaker and chips easily than bone china.
Experiments on soft-paste porcelain back in England led to the formulation of another porcelain that included petunse, local kaolin, and bone ash from cattle bones. This recipe was documented as early as the 1740s, but success was to be achieved 50 years later.
Nowadays, bone china is made of 25% petunse, 25% kaolin, and 50% bone ash. The porcelain is fired at low temperatures; high proportion of bone ash makes the porcelain quite strong. Bone china is also resistant to scratches and chips. The porcelain is also strong before it is passed through fire, allowing delicate and thin pieces of the material to be formed.
However, the procedure involved in making bone ash and the cost of other ingredients makes bone china the most expensive and rarest type of porcelain.
To enhance clay’s workability before firing, potters dealing with soft paste and hard paste porcelain use cellulose fibers or pulp to manufacture ‘paper’ porcelain. Mixing clay in fibrous material adds some bit of strength to the clay. The technique can be used basically for any clay, but it is more rampant with porcelain which is challenging to handle.
Extra strength gained gives potters the room to curate delicate shapes and thinner walls without fearing to crack the porcelain. Crude paper clay is easy to make, and it can bring remarkable success, especially when drying. With this porcelain, fibrous material is burned out during firing. That does not affect the durability of the porcelain or the appearance of the final product.