Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Glazed Tile Factory

Glazed roof tiles

After we hiked/walked through the glazed tile village we visited the factory.

The glazed tile is used for roofing and decoration. There are a lot of rules about which figures, in which order and how many for each level of importance of the building. I think only the Forbidden City gets 9 figures.

This is an example of a nine-dragon screen. Not sure why this is at the factory. I think the order fell through so they decided to set it up at the factory as a sales tool.

This is the molding room. The tiles are made from shale powder and water. The mixture is formed in the shapes by  hand.
Roof tiles ready for firing

Here are some of the tiles ready for drying.

The tiles in the picture above will be moved into this room for drying. It is heated  by a coal fire under the floor. It is pretty warm but you can walk through it. It is also a great place to dry laundry. There were some flat tiles drying when we visited.
Furnaces or kilns used to fire roof tiles in Beijing

Once the tiles are dry they are loaded into these kilns for firing. There are 10 or 12 kilns in a row. They are fired for about 24 hours, I believe.

Click to enlarge.

Once the tiles are stacked in the kiln the opening is bricked up and a coal fire is started.

Here a worker throws some coal into the kiln.

Here he shovels in some smaller pieces of coal.

Once the right amount of coal is in the furnace he blocks the opening with some tiles.

Believe it or not but I was told this factory was built in the 1980s when it was moved from near downtown Beijing.

Then he takes a break.

Once the firing is complete the opening is pulled open and the tiles are allowed to cool.

In this picture you can see that it is still glowing red at the top. A lot of the tiles near the front of the stack seem to be broken. I'm not sure what their yield is.

Here is an overview of the kiln yard. Notice the piles of various sizes of coal.

You can see some of the Beijing air pollution coming out of the kilns.

Once this batch of tile is fired the batch will move to the glazing section. It was not operating when we visited. Basically the glaze is poured over the tile and then tile is sent through this oil-fired tunnel furnace.

This is a store room / sales room.

We were allowed to purchase the work if we wanted. Here is some of the tile work stacked up for sale.

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