How Autumn Leaf China is Made
The Hall China Company provides tours of its plant and discusses each step of the china-making process.
A Hall’s china product has its beginning in powder form. The powder mixture consists of feldspar, flint, and several different types of clay, one of which is obtained from England. The powered ingredients are measured and mixed with water in a machine that is similar to a cement mixer. The resulting watery clay mixture, or slip, is passed through separators that remove metals and other unwanted debris.
The slip is then pumped into press machines that remove the water, which in turn produces a flat, thick layer of clay. The clay is then dropped into long bins and allowed to age for forty-eight hours. After the aging process is complete the clay is pressed through pug mills to remove air from the clay.
The clay is taken and shaped into bowls, plates and other flat china pieces.
To create the famous Hall China teapots and jugs, water must be added to the processed clay mixture. The resulting slip is poured into molds and the raw mixture is left to dry for twenty-four hours.
The formed china pieces are then taken on carts to be glazed either by hand-dipping or spraying. After the special leadless glaze has been applied, the product moves on to the kiln process where the temperature of the china is slowly raised to 2400° F. This process can take up to five hours to complete.
China pieces that passed defect inspection are then moved to the decorating area. This area is where hand-painting, such as the gold trim on the Autumn Leaf china, and transfer decals are applied. After this process has been completed, the china is fired again at a lower temperature.