This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
For fusing the enamel muffle furnaces are used; these furnaces are simple in construction, being designed specially for: (1) Minimum consumption of fuel; (2) maximum heat in the muffle; (3) protection of the inside of the muffle from dust, draughts, etc.
The muffle furnaces may be of any size, but in order to economize fuel, it is obvious that they should be no larger than is necessary for the class and quantity of work being turned out. For sign-plate enameling the interior of the muffle may be as much as 10 feet by 5 feet wide by 3 feet in height, but a furnace of this kind would be absolutely ruinous for a concern where only about a dozen small hollow-ware articles were enameled at a time. The best system is to have 2 or 3 muffle furnaces of different dimensions, as in this way all or any one of them can be brought into use as the character and number of the articles may require. The temperature throughout the muffle is not uniform, the end next to the furnace being hotter than that next to the door. In plate enameling it is therefore necessary that the plates should be turned so that uniform fusion of the enamel may take place. In the working of hollow ware the articles should be first placed at the front of the muffle and then moved toward the back. The front of the furnace is closed in by a vertically sliding door or lid, and in this an aperture is cut, through which the process of fusion can be inspected. All openings to the muffle should be used as little as possible; otherwise cold air is admitted, and the inside temperature rapidly lowered.
Fig. 4 shows a simple arrangement of a muffle furnace; a is the furnace itself, with an opening, e, through which the fuel is fed; 6 is the muffle; c shows the firebars, and d the cinder box; f is a rest or plate on which is placed the articles to be enameled. The plate or petits on which the articles rest while being put into the muffle should be almost red hot, as the whole heat of the muffle in this way begins to act immediately on the enamel coating. The articles inside the muffles can be moved about when necessary, either by a hook or a pair of tongs, but care must be taken that every part of the vessel or plate is submitted to the same amount of heat.
In Figs. 5, 6, and 7 are given drawings of an arrangement of furnaces, etc., connected with an enameling factory at present working. The stoves shown in Fig. 5 are drying stoves fired from the end by charcoal, and having a temperature of about 160° F. Fig. 6 shows the arrangement of the flues for the passage of the gases round the fusing oven. The section through the line A B, Fig. 5, as shown in Fig. 7, and the section through the frit kilns, as shown in Fig. 8, are sufficiently explanatory. The frit kilns and the fusing oven flues both lead to the brick chimney, but the stoves are connected to a wrought-iron chimney shown in Fig. 6. Another arrangement would have been to so arrange the stoves that the gases from the frit kilns could have been utilized for heating purposes.