Traditional Ceramic Process

Hudson and Middleton's Trade Teapot manufacturing process

Fine bone china, an age-old manufacturing process that developed in the late 1700’s, has strong routes in Stoke on Trent.  Our Grade II listed factory still uses these traditional techniques and employs a low carbon footprint for a greener alternative. Each china piece is printed, finished and treated with superior care and attention; wholly manufactured in the heart of the Potteries, Staffordshire.  Hudsons implement a 12-point quality production service level to maintain excellence as follows:

Hudson and middleton's vase manufacturing

1. BODY PREPARATION

Precise fractions of Bone Ash, China Clay and a Mineral Flux are dispersed in water and combined to produce a bone china slip, further refined to remove oversized particles, magnets and ferrous contamination. Finally the slip is filter pressed (de-watered) constructing the bone chine frame.

2. SHAPE FORMING – TWO OPTIONAL METHODS

a. Slip casting disperses the body china frame with chemicals in water in a blunger with the resultant slip being poured into plaster of Paris moulds. This process de-waters the slip, removing clay deposits ready for sponge drying.
b. Plastic forming extrudes the bone china body gives uniformity. It is de-aired before being transformed into a clay shape by forming machines using the Potteis Wheel Principle. The clay is then sponged and dried.

Highly skilled operatives apply a clay handle to the china form using a clay liquid form applied to the head and tail of the handle. A strict quality check is carried out prior to firing.

3. FIRST FIRING – BISCUIT FIRING

Biscuit firing in a kiln truck involves carefully positioning the mugs rim to rim on refractory batts/shelves to help maintain their round shape and fired to 1220 degrees C for 12 hours. Once complete the mugs are separated.

4. Glazing

The fired bisque ware is covered with a very thin layer of liquid glass and dried to give an even deposit of dry glaze, giving a glass like appearance to ensure the product can be easily washed.

5.SECOND FIRING – GLOSS FIRING

The “dipped” ware is placed on refractory batts and fired in a Glaze kiln to 1120 degrees C to melt the powdered glaze and ensure it will permanently adhere.

6. QUALITY CHECK

The glazed mugs are carefully inspected individually and graded accordingly. Only the best quality grades progress to the decorating department.

7. HAND DECORATION

A ceramic transfer is hand applied by a skilled operative using water and careful positioning. Each piece is gently rubbed down by hand using a special cloth, until it is dry and firmly attached to the body of the mug. Each pattern has its own layout and base back stamp, branded Hudson & Middleton.

8. THIRD FIRE – ENAMEL FIRE

The third firing, at 800 degrees C, ensures the decoration is absorbed by the glaze to protect the pattern from being washed off.

Hudson and Middleton's mug handles manufacturing black and white
Hudson and middleton's vase decoration

9. BANDING

Pieces can be banded with precious metal or colour on the rim, base or handle, by highly skilled operatives using a turning wheel and a hand held brush application.

10. FOURTH FIRE

A final firing process, at a maximum of 750 degrees C, ensures the solidification of the precious metal or colour onto the piece.

11.FINAL QUALITY CHECK

A quality inspector individually tests each piece to ensure pristine condition and excellence in standards. Any minor defect will be rejected.

12.PACKING

Each piece is hand packed to order for safe transit. Gift boxes are available with optional process, history or promotion literature. Bar coding, back stamp branding and tailored selections or packaging can be accommodated.

With an enviable reputation as a superior supplier with our clients, we are significantly growing in awareness popularity across the UK and international waters. Specialists in high quality mugs, tankards and chinaware sets, we have an established UK retail market and a perceived product value of up to three times the actual cost!

Hudson and Middleton's Anna Wrights staged images