WORD OF THE WEEK - 22 Dec 2014 - CAKE

CAKE No, not Christmas cake! But on a Potbank, one of several slabs of clay found in a filter press after the pressing cycle finishes. The filter press removes water from slip to produce plastic clay ready for wedging or pugging before balling up.

Early sliphouse with filter press and sliphouse men removing clay cakes
after the pressing cycle has finished. 

WORD OF THE WEEK - 8 Dec 2014 - THOB

THOB Potteries dialect word. Part of a bottle oven. The Hob. Just above the glut arch. "Put thee lobby on thob fur cape eat ot, duck."  But note that it is not where you would cook breakfast.  This was done directly on the fire, in the blazing mouth of the oven, using a British Standard No.8 Square Mouth shovel!

At the Last Bottle Oven Firing in The Potteries, August 1978.
Organised by Gladstone Pottery Museum, Stoke-on-Trent,
with its team of volunteers.
Here is Les Dennis with his bacon (and, of course, oatcakes) 



WORD OF THE WEEK - 24 Nov 2014 - SLIP KILN

SLIP KILN Equipment. For de-watering slip. A large, shallow, brick tank is heated from below, by fire, to drive off the excess water from the clay slip contained in it. The process 'de-waters' the slip to make it 'plastic.' J.W.Mellor, D.Sc,  in his book Collected Papers from the County Pottery Laboratory, Staffordshire, 1905, states that 'slip which has been dried in the old-fashioned slip kilns furnishes more plastic materials than when slip is dried in the modern filter press'

Slip Kiln at C&E Millers,
King Street, Fenton (Bordering Longton,) Stoke-on-Trent.
Picture taken by the author of Potbank Dictionary, May 1970
Still in use at that date. 

WORD OF THE WEEK - 10 Nov 2014 - PALER

PALER Equipment. Tool. Used in the decorating end. Type of pencil (potter's name for a small brush) in which the soft camel hair bristles are spread out to allow the painter or paintress to create a shaded effect when painting the piece.

WORD OF THE WEEK - 27 Oct 2014 - THIMBLE

THIMBLE  Kiln furniture. Manufactured by pressing refractory clay into moulds. The conical base of one thimble fits into the open top of the thimble below so that a series, or tower, of thimbles make one upright support.  Three of these towers, in a triangular formation, create the individual supports for flatware, in a saggar, for glost firing.


WORD OF THE WEEK - 20 Oct 2014 - TEA

TEA Most potters thrive on tea. Tea is drunk is copious amounts during the potter's day particularly when they're taytered. But tea is also the main meal of the day, also known as dinner. Dinner can be taken at teatime for tea, after work. This is not afternoon tea which is between lunch or dinner and tea or dinner. Potters can, of course, have a dinner for tea - the evening meal. But note: A potter's dinner is eaten in the middle of the day, for lunch, at dinner time. Lunchtime is regarded as  'posh' - a posh dinnertime lunch.  Glad that's cleared up!

WORD OF THE WEEK - 6 Oct 2014 - WEDGWOOD SAVED (hoorah!)

The Wedgwood Collection, housed in Stoke-on-Trent and one of the most important industrial archives in the world, has been saved thanks to the generosity of thousands of individuals, several businesses and a number of grant-making foundations. The Company Pension Fund will benefit from the sale of the collection to the V&A in London. 3 Oct 2014


WORD OF THE WEEK - 7 Sept 2014 - WEDGWOOD (SAVE WEDGWOOD)

WEDGWOOD - SAVE WEDGWOOD The Wedgwood Collection, housed in Stoke-on-Trent where it was made, is one of the most important industrial archives in the world and a unique record of 250 years of British art. It is under threat of being separated and sold off to to pay off the ceramics firm's pension bill. ( Yes its true!) The UK's Art Fund has the opportunity to buy it for the nation, but only if it can raise the final £2.74m of the £15.75m fundraising target by 30 November 2014.


WORD OF THE WEEK - 1 Sept 2014 - BACKSTAMP

BACKSTAMP The potter's mark identifying their work. Usually found on the underside of ware. In the early days some potters never thought of backstamping their wares but others copied marks of their more successful competitors. Backstamps may be printed or impressed and since designs of backstamps were, and are, regularly changed we are helped in the dating of their wares today.


WORD OF THE WEEK - 25 Aug 2014 - ACID RESIST BLACKER

ACID RESIST BLACKER Occupation. Decorating Department. Male or female. The person who applies the resist material prior to acid etching.


Acid resist blacker at Josiah Wedgwood, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent. 1970


WORD OF THE WEEK - 18 Aug 2014 - SOOT

SOOT Pronounced in The Potteries as 'sooot' not 'sut'. Found in chimneys after a coal fire.

WORD OF THE WEEK - 4 Aug 2014 - OATCAKE

OATCAKE Potteries delicacy. Potters' favourite food. A 'toe rag'. A Potteries poppadom (but floppy, not crispy). Potteries oatcakes are totally different from Derbyshire Oatcakes which are about the same diameter but are much thicker or Scottish Oatcakes which are small, hard and like a biscuit. Potteries oatcakes are more like pancakes, being floppy, flat and about eight inches across, and made from oatmeal, whole wheat flour, yeast, milk and water. Best served with melted cheese either grilled then rolled or oven baked and folded.


Oatcake day is 8th August

That certain Oatcake Smile!