Firings 1976 & 77

THE LAST COMMERCIAL FIRINGS OF A BOTTLE OVEN 1976 and 1977

for REFRACTORY KILN FURNITURE

Oil fired, Wilkinson Downdraught, integral stack type, bottle ovens

Acme Marls Works, Bournes Bank, Burslem - Summer 1976 

When we visited this factory in July and August 1976, it supported three oil-fired Wilkinson downdraught, integral stack type, ovens. They were numbered 6, 7 and 8.  At the time, Number 8 was empty, Number 7 had been placed (set-in, or filled) and Number 6 was being fired. More about downdraught ovens here

The products being fired were refractory 'bats' or kiln furniture, used in the ceramics industry. We were privileged to have been there and able to take just a few photos of the firing of No.6. 

Oven No.7 was fired in October 1977 and was the last oven to be fired at the factory before manufacture was transferred to its new site in the town. A ceremonial flaming torch was taken from the fire in oven No.7 to the new gas kiln at the new site. See extract from local newspaper article below.

Here is a selection of the photos we took in 1976 in the cramped and awkward and very hot conditions with no space to get good overall shots.


Acme Marls, Burslem
The three ovens Nos. 6, 7 and 8.
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/August 1976


Acme Marls, Burslem
Inside No.8 oven showing two of the bags
Photo: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/August 1976

Acme Marls, Burslem
On the right No.7 oven set with refractory bats
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/August 1976


Acme Marls, Burslem
Clammins being built on the left - notice clay is being used to fill any gaps.
Also notice the Seger Cones. Clammins fully built on the right and thermocouple inserted at the top.
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/August 1976

Acme Marls, Burslem
The oil pump on the left and oil burn on the right.
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/August 1976

Acme Marls, Burslem
Oil burners are lit and firing is proceeding, gradually raising the temperature in the oven.
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection  Date: July/August 1976


Acme Marls, Burslem
Well into the firing cycle.
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/August 1976

Acme Marls, Burslem
Firemouth with oil burner.
Photo: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/ August 1976

Acme Marls, Burslem The fireman attends to the oven 1976
Acme Marls, Burslem
The fireman attends to the oven. Regrettably, I don't know his name.
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/August 1976

Acme Marls, Burslem Close to final temperature and 'soak' 1976
Acme Marls, Burslem
Close to the final temperature and necessary 'soak'
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: 1976

Acme Marls, Burslem July/August 1976
Final temperature of close-on 1400C has been reached.
Thermocouple and block removed from the top of the clammins and the crown damper cracked open.
Photos: Terry Woolliscroft Collection   Date: July/August 1976


The last oven to be fired at Acme Marls, Bournes Bank, Burslem. October 1977


Bottle Ovens Acme Marls Burslem last firing
Extract courtesy of Evening Sentinel report 17 October 1977



The bottle ovens in Summer 2016

Summer 2016
Three ovens still stand. Derelict
Photos courtesy: Andy Shardlow  More here