Making Water Fit for Kings, Queens & Presidents Since 1827. Isn't it Time You Had One?
As long as 170 years ago, the legendary craftsmen of fine Royal Doulton ceramics were already making
water filters effective enough to rid river water of cholera bacteria, rendering it fit to drink.
Water borne diseases are, even today, a widespread danger to life and health, affecting people all
over the globe.
1815, John Doulton was taken into partnership by the widow
Martha Jones who had inherited from her late husband a pottery
shop in Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth, by the side of the Thames
River. Her foreman John Watts was also taken into partnership
and the firm became Jones, Watts and Doulton.
The original company produced the Doulton
brand of English china and other fine ceramics. Employing
students from the Lambeth School of Arts, the company inaugurated
a long tradition of artist-designed fine ceramics that bore
comparison with any in Europe.
"Offensive to the sight, disgusting
to the imagination and destructive to the health."
This was how London drinking water, which was drawn from the
Thames, was described in a pamphlet published in 1827. The
Thames was heavily contaminated with raw sewage; cholera and
typhoid epidemics were rampant.
Coincidentally, this was also the year
in which the company started expanding their ceramic technology
to industrial and other specialized applications such as insulators for electrical telegraph.
In response to public awareness of the danger of the polluted water, they
began making water filter cases packed with powdered carbon.
This filter is from our collection "a manganous carbon Table or Boudoir Filter in Doulton Ware circa 1881.The pattern and shape appeared in the 1882 catalogue: Type S, capacity 5 English pints (2.8 litres) and sold for 60 pence". According to Mr. D. Taylor, an expert on Doulton & Co. history.
By the time Queen Victoria came to the throne, the Doulton brand-name was established as an innovative
manufacturer of domestic and industrial products.
In 1835, Queen Victoria, realizing the dangers of her drinking water, commissioned
the company to produce water purifiers for the Royal household.
They created a gravity fed stoneware units with the artistry
of hand crafted pottery, fitted with a clay filter element
for bacteria removal. The Queen, pleased with their achievements,
conferred the honour of Royal Crest to Doulton's water purifiers.
In 1853 John Watts retired and new partnership Doulton & Co was formed.
In 1862, Doulton filters shown at the Kensington International Exhibition proudly wore the Royal arms
of Queen Victoria.
This filter is from our collection "an F83 cream-glazed stoneware filter containing an internal pan with two kieselguhr filter candles. Puro water filters were introduced in about 1920 and discontinued 1982". Originally this filters were sold for 4.45 pounds.
Sir Henry Doulton circa 1854.
Early 1880's Doulton's Research and Development department headed by Henry Doulton introduced newly patented manganous carbon filter.
By the middle of 1880's Henry Doulton was knighted by Queen Victoria, first potter so honoured.
In 1901 King Edward VII conferred on the company the double honour of the royal warrant and the specific -
as opposed to the assumed - right to use the title "Royal," for their contribution to the British empire.
Along the way honours were won at the great international exhibitions at Chicago and Paris and the range of Doulton products proliferated.
Sir Henry Doulton collectors mug by Royal Doulton, circa 1983.
In 1904, after three years research, porous porcelain filter candles ("germ-free porous tubes") of the Pasteur type were added to the range. At about same newer insulators were developed and used by power stations, electrified railways, London's underground (subway/metro) etc.
In 1935 Doulton acquired the old-established works of George Skey & Co. at Tamworth, Staffs which produced drain pipes, chimney pots, general and chemical stoneware and terracotta. The reason for was to transfer the industrial and technical products from Lambeth works and transform the factory, but the war intervened and plans were delayed until the 1950's. The Tamworth factory became the Doulton centre for technical ceramics; porcelain insulators, chemical porcelain, grinding media, porous ceramics and special purpose ceramics for the chemical, textile, aircraft, engineering, atomic and other industries. In 1956* (after 100+ years) the Lambeth works were finally closed and the Tamworth Company was named Doulton Industrial Porcelains Ltd. In 1963 Aerox Ltd. from Stroud, Gloucester an industrial filtration company, was acquired and subsequently integrated with the filter division of Doulton Industrial Porcelains.
In 1966 Doulton & Co. purchased the Caulden works of Richards Caulden Tile Ltd. from Stone, Staffs. A year later the Tamworth site was rationalized. The manufacture of porcelain insulators was retained and the remaining technical ceramics business transferred to the Stone site. The factory at Tamworth was renamed Doulton Insulators Ltd. and that at Stone became Doulton Industrial Products (DIP) which it become an agent for Doulton & Co. in relation to the porous ceramics and plastics, special technical ceramics, fluidization and filtration plant and powder handling departments.
*Royal Doulton artist-designed fine ceramics operation continued at Lambeth works.
In 1972 Doulton was taken over by Pearson and Son Ltd., (a holding group) which restructured several of their divisions under the Doulton group. A year later Doulton group was restructured and comprised of the following divisions: Royal Doulton Tableware, Doulton Glass Industries, Doulton Engineering Group (including Doulton Insulators and Doulton Industrial Products along the ceramic water filters and ceramic crossflow membranes), Doulton Sanitary ware and Doulton Australia. In 1975 new research and development centre was established in Burslam and Aerox activities were transferred to Stone.
In 1980 Pearson group purchased Fairey Holdings from the National Enterprise Board. Pearson restructured in 1982; the glass and sanitary ware divisions of the Doulton group disposed of (spun of), the Doulton group disbanded, and Doulton Engineering brought under the management of Fairey. In 1985 the company changed its name to Fairey Industrial Ceramics Ltd (FICL). Also in 1985 the company acquired the domestic water filter business of Portacel and the rights to the trademarks Berkefeld (later changed to British Berkefeld) and Sterasyl. Berkefeld line of water filters comprised of single candle pressure filters (HSS etc.), multi candles pressure filters and drip or gravity water filters.
Fairey Group Ltd. became independent of Pearson by a management buy-out in 1986. By the end of 1988 Fairey became publicly-quoted company as Fairey Group plc. with the following divisions:
- Electronics and electrical power (including Doulton and Allied insulators)
- Aerospace and defense
- Filtration (including Doulton, Aerox and British Berkefeld) and specialized ceramics (including Fairey Industrial Ceramics).
The combined Doulton and Berkefeld domestic water filter business expanded rapidly in the late 1980's, and resulted in the Queen's award for export achievement in 1990. Also this was the year the company was approved to BS5750 Part 2 (now ISO 9002).
In 1999 Nimrod and Minerva domestic water filters were introduced to Doulton line of pressure filters.
Rolls Royce plc. acquired Fairy Industrial Ceramics Ltd. from
Fairey Group plc. in mid 2003, retained the aerospace ceramic casting division
and spun off the ceramic filtration, ceramic crossflow membranes and other
specialty ceramics divisions. By the end of the same year FICL moved to a new,
modern ISO 9000 certified facility in Newcastle-under-Lyme just a few miles
north of the Stone facilities.
Doulton's Extensive Development Laboratories are continually setting new standards in water quality throughout the world.
Their commitment to quality has been demonstrated by achieving ISO 9002* certification, tested and approved by:
- The British Standard 5750
- The World Health Organization
- Department of Health (Toronto, Ontario)
- Water Research Council (London, England)
- University of Arizona (USA)
- Spectrum Labs (Minneapolis, USA)
- WRC (Buckingham Shire, England)
- National Sanitation Foundation (Standards 42 & 53, USA)
- Hyder Labs, Cheshire England
- Loughborough University, England
- Thresh, Beale & Suckling Laboratories, England.
- Clare Microbiological Laboratories, England
- Severn Trent Laboratories, England
- And Many Other Independent Laboratories Worldwide
Today, over a million units sell each year in over 150 countries around the globe,
where Doulton is a household name synonymous with clean, healthy drinking water.
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* ISO, based in Switzerland, is an international agency that set standards for product manufacturing procedures and
processes. Doulton is an ISO 9000 accredited company. As such, it undergoes regular audits by this authority in order to retain its accreditation.
Doulton customers throughout the world, are therefore guaranteed a consistent supply of first class, quality assured products.