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A "Staffordshire stoneware plate from the 1850s with white glaze and "transfer printed design.

Stoneware is a rather broad term for "pottery or other "ceramics fired at a relatively high temperature.[1] A modern technical definition is a "vitreous or semi-vitreous ceramic made primarily from stoneware clay or non-"refractory fire clay.[2] Whether vitrified or not, it is nonporous (does not soak up liquids);[3] it may or may not be "glazed.[4] Historically, across the world, it has usually been developed after "earthenware and before "porcelain, as "kiln and has often been used for high-quality as well as utilitarian wares.

As a rough guide, modern earthenwares are normally fired at temperatures in the range of about 1,000°"C (1,830 "°F) to 1,200 °C (2,190 °F); stonewares at between about 1,100 °C (2,010 °F) to 1,300 °C (2,370 °F); and porcelains at between about 1,200 °C (2,190 °F) to 1,400 °C (2,550 °F). Historically, reaching high temperatures was a long-lasting challenge, and temperatures somewhat below these were used for a long time. Earthenware can be fired effectively as low as 600°"C, achievable in primitive "pit firing, but 800 °C (1,470 °F) to 1,100 °C (2,010 °F) was more typical.[5]

Glazed Chinese stoneware storage jar from the "Han Dynasty

Stoneware is not recognised as a category in traditional "East Asian terminology, and much Asian stoneware, such as Chinese "Ding ware for example, is counted as porcelain by local definitions.[6] Terms such as "porcellaneous" or "near-porcelain" may be used in such cases. One widely recognised definition of stoneware is from the "Combined Nomenclature of the European Communities, a European industry standard. It states:

Stoneware, which, though dense, impermeable and hard enough to resist scratching by a steel point, differs from "porcelain because it is more "opaque, and normally only partially "vitrified. It may be vitreous or semi-vitreous. It is usually coloured grey or brownish because of impurities in the clay used for its manufacture, and is normally glazed.[3]

Five basic categories of stoneware have been suggested:[7]


Materials and firing[edit]

"American stoneware jug with Albany slip glaze on the top, "Red Wing, "Minnesota[9]

The key raw material in stoneware is either naturally occurring stoneware clay or non-refractory fire clay. The mineral "kaolinite is present but disordered, and although "mica and "quartz are present their particle size is very small. Stoneware clay is often accompanied by impurities such as iron or carbon, giving it a "dirty" look, and its "plasticity can vary widely.[10] Non-refractory fire clay may be another key raw material. Fire clays are generally considered refractory, because they withstand very high temperatures before melting or crumbling. Refractory fire clays have a high concentration of kaolinite, with lesser amounts of "mica and "quartz. Non-refractory fire clays, however, have larger amounts of mica and feldspar.[11]

Formulations for stoneware vary considerably, although the vast majority will conform to: plastic "fire clays, 0 to 100 percent; "ball clays, 0 to 15 percent; "quartz, 0 to 30 percent; "feldspar and "chamotte, 0 to 15 percent.[12]

Stoneware can be once-fired or twice-fired. Maximum firing temperatures can vary significantly, from 1100 °C to 1300 °C depending on the "flux content.[13] Typically, temperatures will be between 1180 °C to 1280 °C, the higher end of which equate to "Bullers Rings 38 to 40 or "Seger cones 4 to 8. To produce a better quality fired "glaze finish, twice-firing can be used. This can be especially important for formulations composed of highly carbonaceous clays. For these, "biscuit firing is around 900 °C, and "glost firing (the firing used to form the glaze over the ware) 1180–1280 °C. Water absorption of stoneware products is less than 1 percent.[14]

Another type, Flintless Stoneware, has also been identified. It is defined in the UK Pottery (Health and Welfare) Special Regulations of 1950 as: "Stoneware, the body of which consists of natural clay to which no "flint or "quartz or other form of free "silica has been added."[15]

Traditional "East Asian thinking only classifies pottery into "low-fired" and "high-fired" wares, equating to earthenware and porcelain, without the intermediate European class of stoneware, and the many local types of stoneware were mostly classed as porcelain, though often not white and translucent.[16]

History and notable examples[edit]

Early examples of stoneware have been found in China,[17] naturally as an extension of higher temperatures achieved from early development of reduction firing,[18] with large quantities in output by the "Han dynasty,[19][20] and in the "Indus Valley Civilization around 1900 BC.[21] An industry of a nearly industrial-scale mass-production of stoneware bangles flourished in the Indus Valley throughout the civilization's Mature Period (2600–1900 BC).[22][23]

In both medieval China and Japan, stoneware was very common, and several types became admired for their simple forms and subtle glaze effects. Japan did not make porcelain until about 1600, and north China (in contrast to the south) lacks the appropriate kaolin-rich clays for porcelain on a strict Western definition. "Jian ware in the "Song dynasty was mostly used for tea wares, and appealed to Buddhist monks. Most "Longquan celadon, a very important ware in medieval China, was stoneware. "Ding ware comes very close to porcelain, and even modern Western sources are notably divided as to how to describe it, although it is not translucent and the body often grey rather than white.

Many modern commercial tablewares and kitchenwares use stoneware rather than porcelain or "bone china, and it is common in craft and "studio pottery. "American stoneware was the predominant houseware of 19th century North America, where the alternatives were less developed.

Other notable historical European types include:


  1. ^ Clay vitrifying temperatures
  2. ^ Standard Terminology of Ceramic Whiteware and Related Products: ASTM Standard C242.
  3. ^ a b Arthur Dodd & David Murfin. Dictionary of Ceramics; 3rd edition. The Institute of Minerals, 1994.
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Jasperware is unglazed stoneware
  5. ^ Medley, Margaret, The Chinese Potter: A Practical History of Chinese Ceramics, p. 13, 3rd edition, 1989, Phaidon, "ISBN "071482593X
  6. ^ Valenstein, S. (1998). A handbook of Chinese ceramics, p. 22, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. "ISBN "9780870995149
  7. ^ F. Singer & S. S. Singer. Industrial Ceramics. London: Chapman & Hall, 1963
  8. ^ a b c Dictionary Of Ceramics. Arthur Dodd & David Murfin. 3rd edition. The Institute Of Minerals. 1994.
  9. ^ "Red Wing bailed jug with Jacob Esch advertisement". MNHS Collections. 
  10. ^ Cuff, Yvonne Hutchinson. Ceramic Technology for Potters and Sculptors. London: A.&C. Black, 1994, p. 64.
  11. ^ Cripss, J.C.; Reeves, G.M.; and Sims, I. Clay Materials Used in Construction. London: The Geological Society, 2006, p. 408.
  12. ^ Rhodes, Daniel and Hopper, Robin. Clay and Glazes for the Potter. Iola, Wisc.: Krause Publications, 2000, p. 109.
  13. ^ Paul Rado An Introduction to the Technology of Pottery; 2nd ed. Oxford: Published on behalf of the Institute of Ceramics by Pergamon, 1988 "ISBN "0-08-034932-3
  14. ^ W. Ryan & C. Radford. Whitewares: production, testing and quality control. Oxford: Published on behalf of the Institute of Ceramics by Pergamon, 1987 "ISBN "0-08-034927-7
  15. ^ Arthur Dodd & David Murfin. Dictionary of Ceramics; 3rd edition. The Institute Of Minerals, 1994.
  16. ^ Valenstein, S. (1998). A handbook of Chinese ceramics, pp. 22, 59-60, 72, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. "ISBN "9780870995149
  17. ^ The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Stoneware". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. 
  18. ^ Sato, Masahiko. Chinese Ceramics: A Short History (1st edition). John Weatherhill, Inc. (1981), p.15.
  19. ^ Li, He. Chinese Ceramics: A New Comprehensive Survey. Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. New York, New York (1996), p. 39.
  20. ^ Rhodes, Daniel. Stoneware and Porcelain: The Art of High-Fired Pottery. Chilton Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1959), pp. 7 - 8.
  21. ^ Mark Kenoyer, Jonathan (1998). Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Oxford University Press. p. 260. 
  22. ^ Satyawadi, Sudha (July 1, 1994). Proto-Historic Pottery of Indus Valley Civilization; Study of Painted Motif. D.K. Printworld. p. 324. "ISBN "978-8124600306. 
  23. ^ Blackman et all (1992). The Production and Distribution of Stoneware Bangles at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa as Monitored by Chemical Characterization Studies. Madison, WI, USA: Prehistory Press. pp. 37–44. 
  24. ^ The Discovery Of European Porcelain By Bottger - A Systematic Creative Development. W. Schule, W. Goder. Keram. Z. 34, (10), 598, 1982
  25. ^ 300th Anniversary. Johann Friedrich Bottger - The Inventor Of European Porcelain. Interceram 31, (1), 15, 1982
  26. ^ Invention Of European Porcelain. M. Mields. Sprechsaal 115, (1), 64, 1982
  27. ^ "WedgwoodŽ Official UK Site: Wedgwood China, Fine China Tableware and Gifting". Wedgwood.com. Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  28. ^ "Cane Ware". Wedgwoodsocalif.org. 2012-01-23. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  29. ^ Salt glazed stoneware. E.A.Barber. Hodder & Stoughton, 1907
  30. ^ "Wedgwood Official UK Site: Wedgwood". Wedgwood.com. Archived from the original on 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  31. ^ Wedgwood and his imitators. N.H.Moore. Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1909.

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