Ceramic Products Timeline: How Uses of Ceramic Products Evolved by Time

The ceramic industry is one of the ancient on our planet. Ceramic products came into existence once it was realized that clay could be shaped and fired for useful applications. Human and animal figurines of clay have been traced back to 24,000BC. Settled communities manufactured tiles in Mesopotamia and India almost 10,000 years later. The use of pottery vessels for storing food and water can be traced back to 9000 or 10,000 BC. During the same period, clay bricks came into existence.

Bricks are some of the earliest building materials used

Ceramic bricks have been a staple in home and building construction

It was believed that during 8000 BC, glass was discovered by Egyptians. Excessive heating of kilns resulted in a coloured glaze over pottery during the same period. Experts are of the opinion that glass was not produced independently until 1500 BC for shaping into distinct items. The metal industry was still in its infancy during the middle ages. Furnaces were used during the period for melting metal. Synthetic materials which were highly resistant to high temperatures were developed during the 16th century. These were termed as refractories. This led to the development of the manufacture of glass on an industrial scale, in addition, to manufacture of cement, coke, chemicals and other ceramics.

Another massive development occurred during the second half of the 19th century when electric insulation was developed utilizing ceramic materials. With other inventions coming in the scene including radios, automobiles, computers and televisions, glass and other ceramic materials were increasingly utilized for crafting new products.

Here is a timeline of selected development in the ceramic industry.

Year Development
24,000 BC Utilization of ceramic figurines
14,000 BC First tiles were made in Mesopotamia, India
9000BC Beginning of pottery making
5000-8000BC Discovery of glazes in Egypt
1500BC Glass objects were first made
1550 AD Use of synthetic refractories for making glass, steel, cement and ceramics
Mid 1800s Electrical insulation using porcelain
1920s Spark plugs made from alumina and high-strength quartz-enriched porcelain was developed for the purpose of insulation
1940s Magnetic Ferrites and capacitors were developed
1960s Application of nitrides and carbides, alumina insulators for voltages over 220KV
1970s Introduction of particulate filters for diesel engines and high-performance cellular ceramic substrates
1980s High-temperature superconductors

New classes of ceramics have been developed over the past 100 years and they have not necessarily been clay-based. Advanced ceramics can help in accomplishing things which are further than the capabilities of traditional ceramics. Here is a history of major advancements in the field of ceramics:

Spark plugs with ceramic components

Spark plugs with ceramic components for efficiency


1920:  Enhanced design of the spark plug

More dependable spark plug insulators composed from alumina-enriched porcelain were considered during the period.

1936: Production of low-cost alumina

Scientists discovered a less expensive technique of producing high purity alumina which could be utilized for the production of advanced ceramic materials.

1938: Fiber Glass

An American scientist invented fiberglass during the period. He developed an insulation material which is now being utilized for a variety of applications.

1945: Ceramic Magnets

Soft ferrite was produced by the Jacobus Louis. These found applicability in ceramic magnets. These are used these days in electronic systems, simple fridge, computers, telecommunication equipment, audio speakers and many more devices.

1959: Invention of the Silicon Chip

American electronics engineers Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit. A slice of silicon was used for its fabrication. These chips are referred to as microprocessors today.

1969: Bio Ceramics

An American ceramics engineer developed a ceramic glass that could bond with the bone. The bone is imparted its density and strength owing to the presence of mineral hydroxyapatite. Medical researchers and material scientists joined hands together for investigating potential uses of ceramics.

1982: Blasting of space shuttle

A Space Shuttle blasted on 11th November from the Kennedy Space Center. Tremendous heat generated on the re-entry was coped up with the aid of 24,000 or more specially designed ceramic.

1988: Discovery of Superconducting Ceramics

A high-temperature superconducting material was discovered by DSIR scientists Dr. Bob Buckley and Dr.Jeff Tallon.

2001: Production of HTS Wire

400km of high-temperature superconductor wire was produced by the American Superconductor Corporation