The pottery and ceramics industry has developed in parallel to the wider technological development within Humanity.
I need to know facts about the history of the pottery industry and I wondered if you could help me?
The pottery industry is one of humanities oldest industries, and pots have been an essential commodity for all of recorded history. The earliest known pottery dates to around 20,000BC, and it is reasonable to expect that it was developed before this period. Early pottery was simply shaped clay dried beside fires (Popular Archaeology, 2012).
The potter’s wheel allowed faster and higher quality production and is believed to have been first developed in ancient Mesopotamia in around 3000-4000BC, marking a significant advancement (University of Chicago, 2003).
Through ancient and into medieval history the techniques used improved allowing greater quality and quantity of production.
Higher temperatures used to fire the pottery allowed advancement to stoneware, circa 1500BC in China, and later porcelain (which also includes other agents being added), circa 600-900AD in China.
The development of refractories (16th century) marked the industrial revolution for pottery and a major change in production, as later on mechanisation replaced hand-crafted items. This allowed larger volumes of cheaper and more standardised pottery to be created (De Guire, 2014).
In present times pottery production (more commonly known as ceramics) still continues as a highly valuable and important industry. The majority of cheap functional pottery is produced in low cost countries such as China and India. High cost ceramics, such as collector’s pieces and those used in technological and industrial functions, are still widely produced in the EU and USA. (European Commission, 2016). The ceramics industry in the EU creates production of around €28bn a year.
The pottery and ceramics industry has developed in parallel to the wider technological development within Humanity, and this is testament to its importance. Both the product and methods have seen advancement through materials and techniques. Vital offshoots, such as glass production, have also come from the development of pottery.
University of Chicago, 2003, It happened first in ancient Mesopotamia (online), available: [http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/oi/030715.oi-firsts.shtml], accessed: 12/10/16
European Commission, 2016, Growth; Industries related to raw materials; Ceramics (online), available: [https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/raw-materials/industries/non-metals/ceramics_en], accessed: 12/10/16
De Guire, E. 2014, History of Ceramics (online), The American Ceramic Society, available: [http://ceramics.org/learn-about-ceramics/history-of-ceramics], accessed: 12/10/16
Popular Archaeology, 2012, The Earliest Known Pottery (online), available: [http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/june-2012/article/the-earliest-known-pottery], accessed: 12/10/16