Pottery (i.e. made from clay) which has been fired at a higher temperature than earthenware.

The temperature is high enough to partially vitrify the materials and make the ware impervious to liquids even when unglazed.

Stoneware is extremely strong and will not absorb water. It is fired at higher temperatures than earthenware so that the body vitrifies (ingredients melt and fuse together). It will not allow light to pass through it. Because stoneware is nonporous, it does not require a glaze; when a glaze is used, it serves a purely decorative function.

Dark coloured stoneware is made from buff, brown and red clays without and added ingredients. 

Light coloured stoneware was made from the 18th century from the following ingredients : 25% ball clay, 25% china clay, 35% flint, 15% china stone. Firing: 1200 C- 1300 C. There is usually only one firing, but if a glost firing is required it will be at about 1050 C.

Stoneware was made by the Chinese in antiquity and became known in northern Europe after the Renaissance (14th century to 17th century).

Perhaps the majority of current glazed stonewares are salt glazed. They were originally made in the Rhineland from the 15th century and in England from the 17th. In 18th-century England, salt-glazed stoneware was superseded by lead-glazed earthenware, or creamware, by porcelain, and by Wedgwood's unglazed stonewares--the black basalt and white jaspers.

questions / comments? email Steve Birks