History of the gravity-fed
ceramic water purifiers
It all started
Water Fit for Kings, Queens & Presidents
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
"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
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
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
||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 the 1950's.
1956: (after 100+ years) the
Lambeth works were finally closed and the Tamworth
Company was named Doulton Industrial Porcelains
1963: Aerox Ltd. from Stroud,
Gloucester, an industrial filtration company,
was acquired and subsequently integrated with
the filter division of Doulton Industrial Porcelains.
||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
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 to Stone.
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 of Fairey.
1985: The company changed
its name to Fairey Industrial
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
- 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 Ceramics).
1990: Doulton and Berkefeld
domestic water filters received the Queen's award
for export achievement.
Doulton signs contract with New Millennium
for U.S. Distribution.
go here for info on New Millennium Concepts
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 by:
- 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, USA)
- Hyder Labs, Cheshire England
- Loughborough University, England
- Thresh, Beale & Suckling Laboratories,
- Clare Microbiological Laboratories, England
- Severn Trent Laboratories, England
- And Many Other Independent Laboratories
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 drinking water.