Urbee Mug Story.....
Our Urbee mugs are handmade entirely in the UK's Staffordshire potteries. We are proud to support our British heritage and business. The pottery where some of our Urbee mugs are made has been manufacturing British fine bone china since 1888. They have passed their traditional skills down through generations of potters.
Making the Mugs
A fine bone china mug will go through over 15 different manufacturing processes and have three ceramic firings. The initial stages involve creating the actual mugs via a mould for the main body and a separate one for the handle. The two clay parts are attached together with a wet 'slip' clay then undergo the first firing process (the biscuit fire). This is at a temperature of 1240°C. The mugs are heated slowly in order to remove atmospheric water but if done too quickly the water will turn to steam and crack the clay. The biscuit fire vitrifies the clay and gives it strength and translucency.
The next stage is the glazing (or dipping). Each mug is glazed by hand by dipping into a lead free glaze solution, then placed into the Kiln again for the second firing, known as the 'ghost' firing. This is at a temperature of 1100°C.
The mugs will develop a strong high gloss finish and they are checked by hand for any flaws after each fire.
Silk Screen Printing
Our designs are first turned into ceramic transfers by silk screen printing onto decals. This traditional method
of printing uses specialised inks and allows for various colours to be added to make up the final images.
The transfers are skillfully applied by hand to each dampened mug and smoothed out with a sponge.
Each element on an Urbee mug is a different transfer, so the front, back, inside and bottom have to be applied separately.
Lastly, the mugs undergo a third and final decorating fire at a temperature of 820°C. The transfer bonds with the glaze and creates a beautiful finished mug. The final product is outstandingly durable and vibrant in colour even when used in dishwashers and microwaves.
By choosing an Urbee mug you can enjoy your favourite brew out of a traditionally made British fine bone china product, and feel rest assured that you have done your bit for bee conservation!