Tea-cups, saucers, basins, jugs, and such like vessels, receive their first shape from the hands of the thrower, who sits on a stool with a flat circular wooden wheel before him, moving horizontally on a pivot. This wheel is set in motion by the steam-engine, and the workman can increase or diminish its velocity as there is occasion. Upon the centre of the wheel the operator throws a lump of clay of the required size, and forms it into almost any shape, with the utmost facility; it is then cut from the wheel by a wire, and taken to be dried, that it may acquire sufficient hardness to fit it for the next operation. By turning, the superfluous parts of the clay are taken off, so as to render the article perfectly smooth, and to give it the exact shape. The lathes on which the vessels are turned are also put in motion by the steam-engine, and regulated as to speed by the turner himself. The principle of turning earthenware is very similar to that employed in wood turning. The vessels requiring handles and spouts are taken to the handling room, and those which do not want this appendage, after having attained the requisite hardness, are sent to the oven to be baked.
The handles, made on a mould of plaster of Paris, are fixed to the vessel with a liquid mixture of the same material as the vessel itself.
For the formation of various articles manufactured in all potteries, moulds made of plaster of Paris are necessary. The modeller forms the shape of the intended vessel out of a solid lump of clay, which, after receiving his finishing touches, is handed to the person who makes the plaster mould from it. Plates and dishes are made from moulds of this kind, upon which the operator lays a piece of clay of the length, breadth, and thickness required; the mould and clay are then placed upon a wheel turning horizontally on a pivot; and the operator keeps peeling round with the left hand, and presses the clay to the shape of the mould with the other. The mould and dish together are then carried into a stove moderately heated, where it remains until sufficiently dried to separate. The plate or dish is then cut even at the edges, and in other respects finished: before they are baked the dishes are laid flat upon plaster or stone flags, that are quite level, in order that they may remain straight until they go to the oven to be fired. Tureens, vegetable dishes, and such articles, are also made in moulds, but require more time and care, being less simple in their form.
Figures, flowers, and foliage in bas-relief are also formed separately in moulds, and afterwards affixed to the vessel with diluted clay.