Porcelain is made of clay with a high percentage of quartz-like matter called kaolinite. This ridiculously useful pottery was first developed in China, from clay deposits along the Yang Tze River. When fired at the very high temperature of 2400, both the body and the glaze become one to form this thin and yet chip-resistant dinnerware. Because it is so high-fired, it is limited to white in color, though designs can be made with paint or different glazes post-firing. Porcelain is safe in the oven and microwave. Even being placed in the dishwasher doesn’t significantly shorten its life. There is also hotel weight porcelain that has a much thicker body, making it incredibly even more durable than standard porcelain.

Bone China is a fine porcelain that contains bone ash. Actual cattle bones are ground into a powder and fired at temperatures of over 1050 degrees for one hour. The bone is converted to a crystalline compound called hydroxyapatite which renders it completely inert, sterile and free of animal matter. The bone is then milled, washed, dried and mixed with standard Ball clay and China clay to produce the body of the bone china. As a result of this process it has an amazing translucent appearance, seeming to glow ambient light. In addition to everything else, this fine, thin-bodied dinnerware is the most chip-resistant of all. Bone china is dishwasher, warming oven and microwave safe. It is limited to white as its color, but in many cases the clay itself will be folded or rolled in a pleasing way.

Por"ce*lain (?), n. Bot.




© Webster 1913.

Por"ce*lain [F. porcelaine, It. porcellana, orig., the porcelain shell, or Venus shell (Cypraea porcellana), from a dim. fr. L. porcus pig, probably from the resemblance of the shell in shape to a pig's back. Porcelain was called after this shell, either on account of its smoothness and whiteness, or because it was believed to be made from it. See Pork.]

A fine translucent or semitransculent kind of earthenware, made first in China and Japan, but now also in Europe and America; -- called also China, or China ware.

Porcelain, by being pure, is apt to break. Dryden.

Ivory porcelain, porcelain with a surface like ivory, produced by depolishing. See Depolishing. -- Porcelain clay. See under Clay. -- Porcelain crab Zool., any crab of the genus Porcellana and allied genera (family Porcellanidae). They have a smooth, polished carapace. -- Porcelain jasper. Min. See Porcelanite. -- Porcelain printing, the transferring of an impression of an engraving to porcelain. -- Porcelain shell Zool., a cowry.


© Webster 1913.

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