July 18, 2006
Newslettre (# 10.3)
DOWN AND OUT !!
the middle of May, I experienced the
most horrible of ALL experiences, which ANY of
us would NEVER wish for !! That
to have a HDD Failure !! In
mans terms, that’s
a Hard Disk Drive Failure
and to a Computer, it’s
like a Heart Attack !!
any case, as my CPU returned from hospice,
ANOTHER LONG story, I was to discouver that
NONE of my Back-Up CD’s would Read !!
with NOTHING for the past 10 Years !!
that time, I believe I’ve recouvered MOST
of my Data, etc., so, I’m off typing up another
Newsletter for all my avid readers out there !!
you read my Newslettres regularly and DID NOT
receive an E-mail notification of this Newslettre,
PLEASE just drop me an E-mail and I’ll be sure to
get you BACK onto my Circulation list !!
course, if you’re NOT currently on my List and
would like to be in on my Mailing List, ALL you
need do is
to drop me a SHORT note indicating 'that
like automatic notification of new
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BINGO, I'll ADD you to my
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those of you I've 'lost contact' with, if you
WERE receiving my Newslettre and have
one in a bit,
it's MOST probably due to a Change
in YOUR E-mail ID
!! Post me,
current ID and I'll get
you back on my list !!
THIS IS TRUE !!
expected to do
twice as much as men
in half the time. Fortunately this isn't
1st Female Mayor of Ottawa, Canada
BIG TEASE !!
the next couple of months, there will be
‘major’ Belleek Collection being offered for
sale !! I do
not have the Address, i.e., Internet
Link, of the final Web
Site, BUT I will be
publishing ALL available
information as it
hopefully, early in September
upon my return from
Summer Holidays at the Antique
Fair in Chicago !!
SPEAKING OF WHICH !!
CHICAGO SUMMER ANTIQUE FAIR !!
usual, the 2nd. largest antique fair in the
United States will again be held this Summer at
in Chicago at the Dearborn Convention Center,
the last weekend of August !! For complete
details you may visit the Fairs Official Site at :
you may wish to visit my Events Site at :
This Fair will
be celebrating their 30th
anniversary and promises
to be a GREAT
As usual, I
will be billeted at the Embassy
Suites, arriving on
Sunday !! HOPEFULLY, some
of you Belleekers
there, will also be in attendance and will ring me
JUST call the Embassy Suites @ either (847) 678-4000
or (toll free) at (888) 476-7366, ask for my room
and leave your
name and number where I can reach you !!
** 2007 CONVENTION
now, ALL of you should have received your
Spring BCIS Newsletter !! Included, you should
have discouvered an information bulletin and
registration form for our upcoming Convention
at the Belleek Pottery in Ireland, April 18 -
21, 2007 !!
won't repeat ALL the splendid information
here, BUT I will add a Link where you will
discouver identical information as well as a
Link JUST obtained, regarding a POST-Convention
Tour of Ireland !!
additional Registration Forms or Convention
Itinerary Information please visit the following
** GOOD THOUGHTS !!
all have our time
machines. Some take us back,
they're called memories. Some take us
they're called dreams.
SEARCH FOR THE SECRET SLIP !!
I’m sure all of you have heard the
calamity of the executive(s) from Coke ColaŽ
attempting to sell their privileged soft drink
component mixture to the executive(s) of their
rival Pepsi ColaŽ !! Fortunately, somewhere in
this corporate espionage, an honest hero arises
and informs the proper authorities of their foul
intent !! ZAPPED !!
In any case,
and from what I’ll be presenting
further on down, I begin pondering the secret of
Belleek’s success with Parian China production
through its processing techniques with the slip
utilized in the manufacturing !! So, exactly
what’s in Belleek’s Slip ??
First, a quick
definition of Slip
: A diluted clay
solution used for decorating or coating pottery or
casting in a plaster or rubber mold. Slip cast
ceramics are easily
recognized by their even
thickness (seen when broken) and smooth
Degenhardt discouvered that Belleek utilizes
China clay, feldspar, ground flint glass (common
window pane glass), frit (A vitreous or glassy
substance) and water in their ‘wonder’ Slip mix
He also tells us the ratio of 32 ounces of water,
mixed with a pint of the dry ingredients, produces
the proper mixture !! What he doesn’t tell us, or
at least I didn’t discouver at this time, was the
ratio of the dry ingredients !!
Word of the Day
: Avoirdupois (av'ərˇdəˇpoiz') n.
The ordinary system of weights of the United States
and Great Britain in which 16 ounces avoirdupois
make a pound !!
Now, I remember
a little jingle from grade school :
“A pint a pound, the world around” !! So,
saying that the basic Belleek slip is approximately
two parts water to one part dry mix ??
exactly is a ‘part’ ?? Well, parts
eventually relate to percentages, except, that
when we work with parts, the whole part or mix,
if you will, does not have to comprise 100% !!
informal definition for a part is : One of the
individual entities contributing to the whole as
in a component or ingredient.
An every day
example of parts, is in the composition
of concrete !! Concrete
as 1:2:5, i.e., one part of cement,
two parts of
sand, and five parts of broken stone or gravel, with
proper amount of water for a pouring consistency !!
sum of the three
parts only total eight !!
Also, note, that the
‘proper’ amount of
water is NOT
specified !! So, basically, a part could be
from a teaspoon to a truckload, as long as it’s the
consistent measure of each part !!
Further research lead me to the Ulster Museum, and a
document from their library stating that (Belleek’s)
composition was sixty-seven parts of artificially
crushed feldspar to fifty-five of kaolin (China clay) !!
Although they did not
ingredients, I believe from
may assume, these are
‘major’ components of
As a side note,
the Ulster Museum also mentioned,
that in their production of electrical and telegraph
insulators, that Belleek utilized a slip mixture of
72% feldspar !! NOW, that’s virtually
‘real’ glass !!
Feldspar : geologically,
a group of many types of silicates, mainly
in making glass, etc. !!
So, you can see where we’re going from here, as you
increase the feldspar content or ‘parts there-of’,
the closer to actual glass we get !! Thus, you can
see why Belleek is sometimes said ‘to be very close
to glass’ !!
From my reading
and studies, of the three principal
founders of the Pottery, Mr. Robert Williams
Armstrong appears to have been the most involved
with the testing of the various slip formulas in
the production of different wares !! In an
un-authored article in the Belleek Collector,
Volume 10, Number 2, 1999, I quote : “By 1875,
Belleek’s ever increasing portfolio included
“ Earthenware, Stoneware, White and Ivory China,
Parian and tiles.”
me, as VERY little mention, in ANY
reference, is made to Belleek’s Stoneware, more
less any mention of ‘White’ China !! So,
continued my investigation !!
But, before I
proceed, I’d like to
several definitions from the (on-Line) Wikipedia
EACH item that Belleek was
including in its product line :
PORCELAIN (Originally, CHINA, from that country) :
is a hard ceramic
substance made by
heating at high temperature selected and refined
in the form of
clay when mixed with water
forms a plastic paste which can
be worked to
required shape or form that is hardened and made
permanent by firing
kiln at temperatures of
between about 1200 degrees Celsius and about
degrees Celsius. The toughness, strength and
translucence of porcelain
mainly from the
formation at high temperatures within the clay
mineral mullite (an aluminum silicate)
was so-named after its resemblance
the white, shiny Venus-shell, called in old
curved shape of the upper
surface of the Venus-shell resembles the
pig's back (Latin porcella, a little pig, a pig).
those of low permeability, high strength, hardness,
glassiness, durability, whiteness, translucence,
resistance to the
passage of electricity, high resistance to chemical
high resistance to thermal shock and high
NOTE : Elasticity, here, refers
ability to mold the slip or clay
satisfactorily, i.e., it’s flexible and
attributes prior to firing, NOT the idea that you
can bounce a plate off a wall successfully !!)
is used to make wares
for the table and
kitchen, sanitary wares, decorative wares and
art. Its high resistance to the
passage of electricity makes porcelain
insulating material and it is used in dentistry
to make false teeth,
originated in China.
referred to the Wikipedia article on
Chinese porcelain for a discussion
history of the material.”
“Earthenware is a
used extensively for pottery tableware and
decorative objects. Although
vary tremendously between countries, and even
makers, a generic composition
is 25% ball clay, 28% kaolin (porcelain
quartz, and 15% feldspar. Earthenware is one of the
in pottery. While red
earthenware made from red clays is very familiar
recognizable, white and buff colored
earthenware clays are also
and commonly used.
is typically bisque
fired at a temperature of around 1000 to 1150
(1800 to 2100 degrees Fahrenheit),
and glaze fired (the final firing)
to 1050°C (1750 to 1925°F). The higher firing
temperatures that fuse the
body and glaze of other
ceramics, will generally cause earthenware to
After firing the body is porous and opaque with
colours ranging from
red depending on the
raw materials used.
may sometimes be as
thin as bone
china and other porcelains, though it is not
more easily chipped. Earthenware
is also less strong, less tough, and
than stoneware - but its low cost and easier
working compensate for
deficiencies. Due to
its higher porosity, earthenware must usually be
order to be watertight.”
is a category of clay
and a type of
distinguished primarily by its firing
and maturation temperature (from
to 1315°C). In essence, it is man-made stone.
contrast, earthenware is fired
temperatures and is not impervious to liquids.
stoneware developed in
distinguished by the type of clay
used, kaolin, resulting in a pure
Kaolin, or China Clay, which occurs in various
parts of the
often 95% free of
impurities. It is also fired to a vitreous state,
transforming the constituent silica to glass.
Some porcelain bodies are
firing. Firing a piece of pottery to too high
will result in warping or melting.
Vitreous clay bodies can be made at
temperatures ranges, but they are typically
fired in the
stoneware/porcelain range. Fired
stoneware absorbs up to 5% water,
and earthenware up to 10%. Earthenware, when
moist, is typically
to minerals of a
formed primarily of alumina and silica. Potters
combinations of clays mixed with other
materials as clay bodies.
clay bodies are created by mixing additives,
such as feldspar,
quartz, flint, many
other minerals are used and these can include
wollastonite to modify natural clays.
Natural clays are thereby altered
specific temperatures. Darker clays often
contain iron and other
The clay used for porcelain and white stoneware
very little of these
be applied to stoneware
a second firing at a different temperature, or a
applied before a single, raw firing.
Salt-glazed stoneware became the
houseware of nineteenth century America.”
BONE CHINA :
“Bone china is type
developed in Britain
in which calcined ox bone,
bone ash, is a major constituent. It is
by high whiteness, translucency
was first used in
ceramics by Thomas
in 1748 to make a type of
porcelain. In the late 18th century, Josiah
its use by mixing it
with china clay, kaolin and China
compete with the
imported Oriental porcelain.
usually involves a two
firing where the first, biscuit, is without
a glaze at
gives a translucent
product and then glaze, or glost, fired at a
temperature below 1080°C (1976°F).“
1. Of or relating to the
2. Of or being a
type of white, semi translucent
marble quarried at Páros and
highly valued in
ancient times for making sculptures.
3. Of or being a fine
Note, that the word Parian is JUST an simple
adjective, meaning that its
is as a modifier to a noun !!
There is NO
individual definition of Parian as a porcelain
itself, BUT only as
you see in (3)
utilized to specify a type of china !! Thus,
we discouver the
synonymous naming for
lovely Irish Belleek Parian
NOW, where was I going with all this ??
MORE EGG CUPS !!
spring, I found myself again, the
successful bidder on a pair of E-Bay Auctions,
both for an Egg Cup !!
the Pottery, via its Old Pottery
Photograph Album, has provided us with a
documented history of many of its more elaborate
items, many of which, are either no longer in
production or not know to exist in any modern
the other hand, the smaller, more prevalent
production items were, seemingly, only displayed
in Pottery catalogues and sometimes not even via
this media !! I would speculate that this was
due to the labour intensive photographic process
of the 19th Century ??
any case, what appears below, in a now modern
photograph, is a picture, for your discernment,
of both my recent acquisitions !! Unfortunately,
I have been able to discouver VERY little of
either Egg Cup !!
Egg Cup on the right is 1st Period and the
ONLY reference I can find to it is in Lady Marion
Langham’s Major Work “Belleek Irish
page 112, lower right picture, bottom row, right !!
The Egg Cup in her photograph is MUCH ‘nicer’ in
that is painted a ‘lime’ green and gilt
currently have designated this Egg Cup ‘Shell’
Pattern although, I’m toying with the possibility
that it may be an ‘early’ example of either
Institute or Victoria Ware ??
help you Belleekers out there can provide
is, as always, GREATLY appreciated !! Keep in
mind that the pattern need include BOTH
ridges from shell surfaces as well as coral !!
Egg Cup on the left is also a 1st Period piece
and I believe it to be of Belleek’s Earthenware
Production Ware ??
query here, is whether or not this is the (fine)
White China that (Armstrong) references in his
journals ?? If so, I believe that this would be
included in one of the Pottery’s experimental
formulas involving Bone, i.e., Bone China Ware ??
ANY further discussion my readers may
provide will definitely enhance this topic !!
reason for presenting both Egg Cups in a single
was such that you may clearly distinguish
White (Bone) China from the Ivory (Cream) Colour
we most associate with the production at
pair of unusual First Period Egg Cups !!
are 1st Period !!
Earthenware (I believe) on the left and
Pattern (for lack of better name) on the right !!
ENJOY and see
ALL of you at the 2007 Convention !!
Del E. Domke, Belleek Consultant
16142 N.E. 15th. Street
Telephone : 1 (425) 746-6363
Message : 1 (425)
1 (425) 746-6363
Web-site : The
Beauty and Romance of Irish Belleek