Oneida Food Service

Dinnerware Glossary

All Terms
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
Absorption 

The assimilation of water by a ceramic body. It is used as a measure of the degree of vitrification.

Alumina Body 

A ceramic body produced by adding quantities of Alumina Oxide to the clay recipe. The result is a whiter, stronger ceramic body.

Alumina Oxide 

Aluminum Oxide a component found in all clays. When additional amounts of this oxide are added to a body or glaze formula it imparts greater strength and whiteness.

B
Ball Clay 

A fine grained sedimentary clay. Ball clay is a major component in many clay formulas, usually added to increase plasticity during the forming process.

Batch 

The materials that make up a ceramic body (or glaze) when they have been blended together in specific proportions.

Binders 

Materials that are added to a glaze or clay recipe to increase glaze adherence or impart strength to a body during casting or pressing.

Bisque 

An unglazed clay body that has been fired once, to facilitate handling and to prepare it to receive glaze.

Blank 

An undecorated piece of dinnerware. This term usually applies when the item is scheduled for further processing

Bone Ash 

Calcium phosphate most often obtained through the calcining (subjection to extreme heat) of cattle bone.

Bone China 

A ceramic body first developed in Britain during the 18th century containing between 40% and 50% bone ash. This body is characterized by its strength, translucency and warm white color.

Burnishing 

A polishing process. Commonly used to remove oxidation from precious metal decorations after firing.

C
Casting 

A ceramic forming process. Items are formed by pouring slip into a plaster mold.

Crazing 

A defect in clayware glaze. A network of tiny cracks in glaze caused by the difference in the rate of contraction between the clay body and the glaze.

D
E
Embossing 

A raised or relief decoration on a dinnerware body. Generally produced in the mold, but sometimes formed separately and applied before firing.

F
Feldspar 

A mineral aggregate used as a flux or glass forming agent in ceramic bodies and glazes.

Firing 

The controlled heat treatment of ceramic ware in a kiln or furnace to develop desired properties.

G
Glaze 

The glossy transparent or colored coating baked onto the surface of ceramic dinnerware. It reduces absorption, adds strength, and creates a pleasing decorative appearance.

H
Greenware 

Ceramic items that have been formed but not fired.

Holloware 

Ceramic, glass, or metal items capable of containing fluids, such as cups, bowls, or pitchers as opposed to "flatware" such as plates.

I
J
Jiggering 

A common method of forming ceramic dinnerware. In this process a spinning mold and/or template are used to form a clay slug.

K
Kaolin 

Also known as china clay. A very fine, white clay created by the decomposition of feldspar under the natural geologic forces of the earth.

Kiln 

The oven in which ceramic dinnerware is fired or baked.

L
Lining 

A common dinnerware decorating process. Lines are applied concentrically to an item either by hand or by machine.

M
Mold 

Any form over or in which clay can be shaped.

N
O
Offset Printing 

A decorating method in which a design is printed on the surface of a temporary carrier before transfer to the final item.

Oxidizing Atmosphere 

An atmosphere inside a furnace or kiln that contains an oversupply of oxygen, in excess of that amount required for complete combustion.

P
Pinmarks 

Small depressions (usually three) on the back of a glazed dinnerware item. These are caused by the support pins used during firing.

Q
R
Reducing Atmosphere 

Articles made of a non-precious metal on which is deposited pure gold by the process of electroplating. Federal standards require a thickness of at least 7 millionths of an inch of at least 10K gold.

Refractory 

Inorganic, non-metallic, ceramic materials which retain their physical shape and chemical identity in the presence of extremely high temperatures.

S
Sagger 

A refractory box that contains dinnerware items during the firing process. It protects them from contamination and exposure to direct flame.

Screen Printing 

A technique which involves the passage of pigment through a fabric to which a pattern stencil has been applied.

Silica 

Silicon dioxide, the most common element in the earth's crust. Used as a filler in the composition of ceramic bodies.

Single Fire 

A firing cycle in which the normal bisque and glaze firings are combined.

Slip 

Clay blended with water until it achieves a liquid state.

T
Thermal Shock 

Stress created within a ceramic body caused by a rapid and dramatic change in temperature.

Translucence 

The quality of some ceramic dinnerware bodies that allows them to transmit diffused light; semi-transparency.

Tunnel Kiln 

A long tunnel-like oven in which dinnerware is fired while being carried through on flat cars.

U
V
Vitrification 

The progressive reduction or elimination of porosity in a ceramic body as a result of heat treatment.

W
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z