Fit for Kings, Queens & Presidents Since 1827
History of the gravity-fed ceramic water
It all started with:
Throughout history, man has been plagued by the poisons, toxins
and contaminants in his drinking water. Thousands of years ago,
the Egyptians used large "barrel" water filters filled
with sand and powdered carbon from special mixtures of burnt
wood. We've come a long way since then. Jump forward 5900 years:
About 170 years ago, the legendary craftsmen of fine Royal
Doulton ceramics were already making water filters effective
enough to rid river water of cholera bacteria, rendering it
fit to drink.
Water borne diseases are, even today, are the major cause
of death world wide.
The first known major production of gravity-fed (just pour
water in the top and it leaches out the contaminants) water
purifiers/filters can be traced back to the Doulton potters.
of Doulton Water Filters
1815: John Doulton was taken into
partnership by the widow Martha Jones who had inherited
from her late husband a pottery shop in Vauxhall Walk,
Lambeth, by the side of the Thames River. Her foreman
John Watts was also taken into partnership and the firm
became Jones, Watts and Doulton.
The original company produced the Doulton
brand of English china and other fine ceramics. Employing
students from the Lambeth School of Arts, the company
inaugurated a long tradition of artist-designed fine
ceramics that bore comparison with any in Europe.
"Offensive to the sight, disgusting to
the imagination and destructive to the health." This was
how London drinking water, which was drawn from the Thames,
was described in a pamphlet published in 1827. The Thames
was heavily contaminated with raw sewage; cholera and typhoid
epidemics were rampant.
Coincidentally, this was also the year in which
the company started expanding their ceramic technology to
industrial and other specialized applications such as insulators
for electrical telegraph.
In response to public awareness of the danger
of the polluted water, they began making water filter cases
packed with powdered carbon.
||1827: Henry Doulton (John Doulton's
son) developed ceramic filters for removing bacteria from
drinking water. The first Doulton® water filters were
made using various earth and clay materials. By the time
Queen Victoria came to the throne, Doulton was well established
as a manufacturer of domestic and industrial products
in a fine stoneware body that bore comparison with any
||1835: Queen Victoria recognized the
present health dangers in her drinking water and commissioned
Doulton to produce a water filter for the Royal household.
Doulton created a gravity fed stoneware filter that combined
the technology of a ceramic filter with the artistry of
a hand crafted pottery water container.
1846: The Lambeth factory was in the vanguard
of the revolution in sanitation technology and products which
Chadwick, and the great reformers of the day, brought to metropolitan
England. Without the hard work and foresight of Henry Doulton
that revolution would have been delayed by decades.
1862: Henry Doulton introduced the
Doulton® Manganous Carbon water filter. Doulton's
Research and Development department, headed by Henry
Doulton, created micro porous ceramic (diatomaceous
earth) cartridges capable of removing bacteria with
better than 99% efficiency.
Doulton Filters were rapidly adopted by
the military, Crown Agents, hospitals, laboratories
and domestic users throughout the world. Doulton filters
shown at the Kensington International Exhibition proudly
wore the Royal arms of Queen Victoria.
1882: Henry Doulton acquired a small factory
in the Midlands, motherland of the Staffordshire potteries
and the home of the Doulton Drinking Water Purifier.
1901: King Edward VII knighted Henry
1902: King Edward VII conferred the
double honor of the royal warrant and the specific -
as opposed to the assumed - right to use the title "Royal"
for his work on drinking water filtration.This Royal
Warrant authorized the company to use the word ROYAL
in reference to its products.
1906: Doulton introduced a filter that
proved to be strong enough to remove all known bacteria. It
was rapidly adopted by hospitals, laboratories and for use
in domestic water filtration throughout the world. The popularity
and effectiveness of even the early 20th century designs has
resulted in their continued use world wide.Doulton® ceramics
are now in use in over 150 countries.
||1919: British Berkefeld® was
previously owned by Berkefeld-Filter, a German company
that started manufacturing filters in the late 1800s.
Berkefeld-Filter was awarded to Slack & Brownlow as
part of reparations by the League of Nations after World
War I, and at that time the
name was then changed to British Berkefeld® to show
the products were now of British manufacture.
1935: Doulton acquired the old-established
works of George Skey & Co. at Tamworth, Staffs which produced
drain pipes, chimney pots, general and chemical stoneware
and terracotta. The reason was to transfer the industrial
and technical products from Lambeth works and transform the
factory, but the war intervened and plans were delayed until
1956: (after 100+ years) the Lambeth works
were finally closed and the Tamworth Company was named Doulton
Industrial Porcelains Ltd.
1963: Aerox Ltd. from Stroud, Gloucester,
an industrial filtration company, was acquired and subsequently
integrated with the filter division of Doulton Industrial
||1966: Doulton & Co. purchased
the Caulden works of Richards Caulden Tile Ltd. from Stone,
Staffs. The manufacture of porcelain insulators was retained
and the remaining technical ceramics business transferred
to the Stone site. The factory at Tamworth was renamed
Doulton Insulators Ltd. and that at Stone became Doulton
Industrial Products (DIP) which it become an agent for
Doulton & Co. in relation to the porous ceramics and
plastics, special technical ceramics, fluidization and
filtration plant and powder handling departments.
1972: Doulton was taken over by Pearson
and Son Ltd., which restructured several of their divisions
under the Doulton group.
1975: new research and development centre
was established in Burslam and Aerox activities were transferred
1980: Pearson group purchased Fairey Holdings
from the National Enterprise Board.
1982: The glass and sanitary-ware divisions
of the Doulton group were disposed of , the Doulton group
disbanded, and Doulton Engineering brought under the management
1985: The company changed its name to
Fairey Industrial Ceramics Ltd.
1985: Slack & Brownlow were then acquired
by Portals Water Treatment (now Portacel) and the domestic
water filter division was acquired by Doulton Industrial Products,
the manufacturer of Royal Doulton® water filters. The
company acquired the domestic water filter business of Portacel
and the rights to the trademarks Berkefeld (later changed
to British Berkefeld) and Sterasyl. Berkefeld line of water
filters comprised of single candle pressure filters.
1986: Fairey Group Ltd. became independent
of Pearson by a management buy-out.
1988: Fairey became publicly-quoted
company as Fairey Group plc. with the following divisions:
- Electronics and electrical power (including Doulton
and Allied insulators)
- Aerospace and defense
- Filtration (including Doulton, Aerox and British Berkefeld)
and specialised ceramics (including Fairey Industrial
1990: Doulton and Berkefeld domestic water
filters received the Queen's award for export achievement.
Doulton signs contract with New Millennium for U.S.
go here for info on New Millennium Concepts LTD
2003: Rolls Royce plc. acquired Fairy
Industrial Ceramics Ltd. from Fairey Group plc. in mid ,
retained the aerospace ceramic casting division and spun
off the ceramic filtration, ceramic crossflow membranes
and other specialty ceramics divisions. By the end of the
same year FICL moved to a new modern ISO 9000 certified
facility in New Castle upon Tyne just a few miles north
of the Stone facilities.
Doulton's Extensive Development Laboratories
are continually setting new standards in water quality throughout
the world. Their commitment to quality has been demonstrated
by achieving ISO 9002* certification, tested and approved
- The British Standard 5750
- The World Health Organization
- Department of Health (Toronto, Ontario)
- Water Research Council (London, England)
- University of Arizona (USA)
- Spectrum Labs (Minneapolis, USA)
- WRC (Buckingham Shire, England)
- National Sanitation Foundation (Standards 42 & 53,
- Hyder Labs, Cheshire England
- Loughborough University, England
- Thresh, Beale & Suckling Laboratories, England.
- Clare Microbiological Laboratories, England
- Severn Trent Laboratories, England
- And Many Other Independent Laboratories Worldwide
Today, over a million Doulton units are sold
each year in over 150 countries around the globe, where
Doulton is a household name synonymous with clean, healthy