Manufacturer Porcelain

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"It surpasses snow and frost in brilliance," a Chinese sage said about porcelain in the IX century. He knew what he was talking about: the noble material captivates with transparency, whiteness, never ages. It is passed down from generation to generation as an expensive inheritance. And the history of porcelain is fascinating, interesting and special for each country.

Differences between the material and ceramics

Consumers unknowingly sometimes confuse porcelain and ceramic products. It is not surprising, because the former are a kind of ceramics, but the similarities end there. Porcelain is a mixture of special white clay, quartz and feldspar. Thanks to this composition, the mass for the manufacture of blanks is plastic and white. Whiteness is preserved in finished products.

Finished items are valued for their transparency, while they do not absorb moisture, are resistant to gases, and do not darken for many years. And the material "sings": with a light tapping with a wooden stick, cups, vases, saucers emit high melodious sounds. Almost like crystal.

When was it invented?

In encyclopedias and books that collect everything about porcelain, the year 620 is mentioned as the start of porcelain production. Invention of the material attributed to the Chinese – for almost a thousand years they carefully kept the formula of its preparation a secret. It was only in 1735 that the world learned the composition and technology of Chinese production. At that time, Europeans already had their own formula – it was obtained in 1708 thanks to the work of German scientists Johann Friedrich Bettger and Walter von Chirnhaus. In the same year, the first manufactory opened in Dresden – the first batches produced by its workers were not covered with glaze and were not signed.

Bone china appeared in the XVIII century in England and immediately it was loved by customers for its high durability, practicality and aesthetics. These characteristics are explained by the presence of bone ash in its composition. The British specially burned the bones of cattle, more often cows. The series of products were called "Bone China" — and today many manufacturers use this name as a brand.

In Russia, a similar production originated later – only in the middle of the XVIII century. The starting point was the construction and launch Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg. A company founded in In 1744, it still works today.

The history of porcelain from China

"White gold" is one of the most significant achievements of China, comparable to the production of gunpowder and silk. Initially, local craftsmen made only clay objects for everyday life, then ceramic and faience objects appeared. In the early years, the masters of the Celestial Empire specialized in the so —called "biscuit porcelain" - it was not decorated, it was not covered with glaze. Yes, it was not necessary, because the thin-walled products were almost transparent, which literally glowed, and the noble sky-white color did not need amplifiers.

Some of the technologies used in China are still being practiced . For example, the firing of blanks at high temperature (for each type of product, the temperature is different). Low-temperature roasting is also popular in China. The traditions and technologies of this craft have been formed over the course of 18 thousands of years, as evidenced by archaeological finds. Experts date some ceramic objects found during the expeditions to the II century. They were of a primitive form, without drawings and decorative elements, used in everyday life and during rituals.

Durable and solid dining sets and accessories obtained as a result of high–temperature thermal exposure appeared later - in the era of the Han Dynasty. During the reign of the Sui Dynasty, ordinary products turned into real masterpieces with complex multicolored decor. Later, when representatives of the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties were in power, the development and improvement of production continued. This segment was marked by the appearance of glaze painting, inlaid things with precious stones and metals, the production of cobalt porcelain.

Cobalt decor was first made under Emperor Zhu Zhanji – since that time, blue color combined with gold decor is considered a royal style. The porcelain era in China does not end – contemporaries continue it now.

European porcelain

The Italians tried to produce raw materials back in the XV century – the sky-high price of Chinese dishes and figurines was a good incentive for this. Numerous attempts were in vain – the output was a "glass" raw material that did not even remotely resemble plastic and snow-white material. A century and a half passed when the German alchemist Bettger and physicist Chirngauz succeeded. The recipe of the raw materials they received after near a deposit of plastic kaolin was discovered with Dresden. Exactly the one that is necessary for the manufacture of pure white products.

The first manufactory opened in Meissen two years later – it was headed by Bettger himself. Theoretical knowledge alone was not enough to produce high-quality products. The manufactory has been developing its own recognizable style for years, perfecting the recipe of technology and craftsmanship. Finally the world saw the famous Meissen porcelain. Since then, manufactories have been opened in different European countries – the masters who created their masterpieces knew everything about porcelain, its properties, and features, so they polished their skills every year. Thanks to this, European brands managed to combine classical traditions and modern design, ahead of Chinese and Japanese manufacturers.

History of porcelain in Russia

The first ceramic products made in Russia date back to the X century. A couple of plates and a cup of white clay – or rather, what is from them it remains – archaeologists found near the village of Gnezdovo. Porcelain production began to develop much later – after eight centuries. The organized manufactories were divided into 2 categories:

the first category included productions that were supported and financed by the royal family;

the second group consisted of commercial enterprises.

At first, porcelain dishes and figurines turned out to be rough, thick-walled, did not emit a characteristic porcelain ringing. In 1752 , Dmitry Vinogradov proposed his recipe for raw materials. A young talented scientist made of he had a cup with a vine – it was not inferior in aesthetics and quality Saxon products, although materials extracted in Russia were used for production.

15 years later, Vinogradov participated in the creation of furnaces for high-temperature firing of blanks at the Imperial Porcelain Factory. Thanks to this "know-how", the strength and hardness of the objects increased – now they could adequately compete with the products of the Meissen manufactory. Demand creates supply – at the beginning of the 19th century, new manufactories appeared in Russia . A significant contribution to the development of the porcelain industry was made by the merchant Matvey Kuznetsov. In 1832, he founded a factory in the village of Dulevo, which soon became one of the largest production facilities in Russia.

After 3 years, Kuznetsov opens another factory, then another and another. By 1913, the Kuznetsov Partnership already included 18 enterprises founded from scratch and purchased, whose products were actively supplied to the domestic market and for export. The owners of the Partnership drove foreign competitors out of the country. The revolution and the nationalization that followed prevented the completion of what was started . A difficult period has begun for the industry – stagnation. It lasted for years ten, after which the production of porcelain tableware, figurines and other household items resumed.

Russian factories have a different history: some have worked for several years, others for several centuries. Some have gone bankrupt and closed, others are creating masterpieces even now, delighting the most discerning buyer with the perfection of forms, painting and material.

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