then, is done in powerful presses. Of the three main types of press
available – the hand, the automatic, and the semi-automatic – the
last named has proved the most generally useful; and of our total of
no less than 140 presses considerably more than half are of this
type. At the same time we have a number of completely automatic
presses, operated, like those of semi-automatic type, by
electricity, while for certain classes of work we still find hand
presses the most serviceable. The making procedure is essentially
the same in all three types. A steel well or "box" sunk in the bed
of the press is filled with "dust," and a heavy steel die descends
into it, forcing the dust against another die forming the bottom of
The pressure is such that the dust is knitted into a solid of the
required size and shape – a plain tile, for example, a capping, a
skirting – hard and strong enough to stand any reasonable handling.
As the "green tiles (so called in their unfired state) come from
the presses, their edges, to which loose dust may be clinging, are
lightly trimmed by hand; in technical language, they are "fettled."
They are now ready firing, but an interval of at least a few hours,
during which they may dry, will elapse before they reach that very
important stage of their manufacture. "
From: "A Century of Progress
1837-1937" a publication to commemorate The Centenary of Richards