Book: Ceramics - Art or Science? Author: Dr. Stan Jones

13. Domestic Uses of Ceramics

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13.6 Miscellaneous Domestic Ceramics

Amazing early applications of ceramics in the home are as varied as kneepads, smoothing irons, loom weights and spindle whorls together with toys and games.

loom weights; smoothing iron; and knee pad, source Hieropolis Museum, Turkey, and Cypriot spindle whorls 1850-1800 BC source Guzelyurt Museum

Loom weights; smoothing iron; and knee pad,
- source Hieropolis Museum, Turkey, and
Cypriot spindle whorls 1850-1800 BC - source
Guzelyurt Museum

Harappan toy wheels and gamesmen; Greek wheeled horse; and Cypriot toy figures - sources Chennai, Keramikos and St Barnabas museums

Harappan toy wheels and gamesmen; Greek
wheeled horse; and Cypriot toy figures -
sources Chennai, Keramikos and St Barnabas
museums

An equally surprising 21st century application is for ceramic knives made of zirconia that are produced by hot pressing with 300 tons pressure to make them harder than steel and second only to diamond. They hold their edge sharpness and need little maintenance, but are brittle and cannot be used for chopping. Another, perhaps as surprising, application is ceramic watch bodies.

Kyocera ceramic knives

Kyocera ceramic knives

ceramic watch with sapphire face, 1998 - courtesy Science Museum, SSPL

Ceramic watch with sapphire face, 1998
- courtesy Science Museum, SSPL

Ceramic (ferrite) magnets are used for holding doors closed, such as for fridges. Porcelain formers are used for dipping in latex to make rubber gloves, swimming hats and balloons.

During periods of metal coin shortages, some ceramics companies produced their own ceramic versions. In 1920 and 1921 Meissen produced ceramic coins in red stoneware and white biscuit porcelain. Worcester also produced redeemable ceramic tokens during such shortages.

Ceramic swimming hat mould Image courtesy of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent

Ceramic swimming hat mould Image
courtesy of the Potteries Museum and
Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent

Worcester Davis token, courtesy Worcester Porcelain Museum, and Meissen ceramic coins

Worcester Davis token, courtesy Worcester
Porcelain Museum, and Meissen ceramic coins

Ceramic/polymer composite material is used for motorcycle clothing that is three times as hard wearing as leather.

Only a few ceramic musical instruments have been produced, but as early as the medieval period French potters made bird whistles that were traded widely including to Britain. Such whistles called ocarina are still available today.

Ceramic ocarina

Ceramic ocarina

Porcelain is used for applications as diverse as eyebaths, doorknobs, buttons, gas meter dials, false teeth and dental veneers. Advanced ceramics are widely used in domestic electronic products and are described in Part 16.

Porcelain dental veneers - source dentalfind

Porcelain dental veneers - source dentalfind

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