Firing a Bottle Oven


This was the basic firing process for a biscuit or glost, updraught or downdraught, potter's bottle oven:
  • The bottle oven's firing chamber was filled (placed, or set) with pottery which had been placed for protection in saggars. 
  • The entrance doorway to the firing chamber, called the wicket, was built up and sealed, forming the clammins.
  • The temperature inside the firing chamber was raised to over 1000C to fire the pottery. Coal or oil was used as the fuel. 
  • After the peak firing conditions of temperature and 'soak' had been achieved, the oven was allowed to cool. 
  • The clammins was broken down and the fired pottery taken out.
  • The whole process would then start all over again.
The process of firing an oven was extremely inefficient. It was wasteful of fuel and other resources. It was also laborious, dangerous and a serious danger to health.

The single most important part the potting process is the biscuit firing.  It is here that the pottery body mixed by the potter, according to a recipe, undergoes its greatest test - the ability to withstand fire and to emerge from it the form of sound, useful, practical or beautiful, saleable products.

The biscuit ovens timetable
Photo: from a display at Gladstone Pottery Museum

There's lots more about firing bottle ovens here> on The Potteries Bottle Oven site.

All about the Potteries Bottle Oven here>