How Chimney Pots Are Made

Coal Fire Kilns
Chimney pots are fired in old beehive coal or modern conveyor kilns (as shown in image to left).

The first step is of course sourcing the clay. A terracotta pot requires this raw ingredient. The crucial element of a rich clay necessary for the majority of pots originates from certain regions, for instance, from the Ohio Valley. The next step of pot-making is selecting whether to form the structure on a wheel or a mold. Using the potter's wheel (see above video) depends on what style and shape pot is constructed. A newly created pot must air dry for several days depending on its shape and size.

salt glazed chimney pots

A pot is then fired at high temperatures in kilns for solidification. If a color finish is desired, additional techniques are applied. For instance, salt is added during the firing process to produce what is known as a salt glazed pot.

antique glaze 

An antique glaze to replicate older pots is also available. This weathered-look finish requires three to four weeks to complete.

Now and then during the manufacturing process defects occur, ranging from hairline cracks to large holes. Such pots, unsafe for chimney installation, are considered seconds. These off-grades are however suitable for other purposes, such as lawn ornaments (as indicated in the video to your left).

To learn more about chimney pots visit the Clay Museum online (by clicking or tapping screenshot below) or in Uhrichsville, OH, which specializes in their full history.

clay chimney pot musuem