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An Unglazed Pitcher For Water Purification?


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#1 Pretending 2BA Potter

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 03:12 PM

Hello All,

Wondering if anyone could give me a clue on this...a friend of mine who grew up in Mexico wants me to make her an unglazed pitcher to store/purify water. She explained that is has to be porous, lidded, with a small spout and a catch basin or collecting water at the base. She says that a grandmother used one to purify (or perhaps cool?) water. I've googled the concept with little success. Found some interesting info on mid-eastern cultures using this concept to keep food cool and rugged off-the-grid types using a terracotta filtration system (unglazed cylinder in a bucket), but no pitchers as my friend describes. I'm going to try to give it a shot, but I'm just guessing basically. Anyone heard of ANYTHING like this or have any tips? Thanks, and stay muddy!

#2 Chris Campbell

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 03:43 PM

Yes, I have heard of this ... You might want to Google Potters for Peace. Might be on their site.

You can get clean water by this simple method.


You need a red clay body.
It is a two part pot. The top is an unglazed bisqued container.
The bottom is glazed to hold water and has a spigot hole to get the water out.
You put the river water in the top, wait for it to seep to the bottom, open the spigot and drink
None of the parasites and pollutants make it through the clay.

They claim this simple method which is often used in south America could supply clean
water to disaster areas much more effectively than a zillion plastic bottles.

Chris Campbell
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#3 Pretending 2BA Potter

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 02:42 PM

Thanks so much Chris!!



Yes, I have heard of this ... You might want to Google Potters for Peace. Might be on their site.

You can get clean water by this simple method.


You need a red clay body.
It is a two part pot. The top is an unglazed bisqued container.
The bottom is glazed to hold water and has a spigot hole to get the water out.
You put the river water in the top, wait for it to seep to the bottom, open the spigot and drink
None of the parasites and pollutants make it through the clay.

They claim this simple method which is often used in south America could supply clean
water to disaster areas much more effectively than a zillion plastic bottles.



#4 Pres

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 10:29 PM

Hello All,

Wondering if anyone could give me a clue on this...a friend of mine who grew up in Mexico wants me to make her an unglazed pitcher to store/purify water. She explained that is has to be porous, lidded, with a small spout and a catch basin or collecting water at the base. She says that a grandmother used one to purify (or perhaps cool?) water. I've googled the concept with little success. Found some interesting info on mid-eastern cultures using this concept to keep food cool and rugged off-the-grid types using a terracotta filtration system (unglazed cylinder in a bucket), but no pitchers as my friend describes. I'm going to try to give it a shot, but I'm just guessing basically. Anyone heard of ANYTHING like this or have any tips? Thanks, and stay muddy!


I believe I am correct in saying that Pilgrim bottles made in arid climates were unglazed so that the evaporation/cooling would keep the water from getting brackish. I am not sure if this includes costrel bottles, as they were more an English and European style.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#5 Deb Evans

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 10:27 AM

Have heard of earthenware waterpots being fabricated in africa as per Chris's post. Porus clay slab as a filter > works great!
In Asia they use unglazed earthenware pots to keep water cool.

#6 Raven Schwarz

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 12:14 PM

Hi, P2baP-- You didn't mention how small the particles are that your friend wishes to filter out of her water, but some of the commercially-available filters' manufacturers' sites discuss constituents of their clays' composition and manufacturing processes for pore sizes, etc., as well as give images of their filters, so you can have a look at the finished product (i've left out brand names and specific sites because of the possibility that doing so might be construed as advertising, which is against the agreement for using this forum).

I have a portable water filtration system made in Seattle, WA, USA that has a small cylindrical 'ceramic' filter in it as part of a multi-stage filtration system. My unit and filter were easy to find at my favourite camping/kayaking outfitters' shop, so if you wanted to see an actual filter to get an idea as to how they should look and feel, u might check with your local outfitter. Basically, it has a manual pump that pulls water thru a coarse filter into a plastic chamber that contains the ceramic cylinder (which i suspect has carbon in the core); the water goes through the cylinder and out a hole at the bottom, where it then goes through a paper filter and then into the vessel that you want your filtered water into. I figure that it might not much matter whether it's a pressure-pump pushing the water in thru the cylindrical filter like mine or the simple elegance of gravity pulling the water out through a pitcher-shaped filter after the manner of traditional Mexican wisdom, the same materials and techniques might do for both filters.

I'd sure be interested to know what materials, processes and techniques end up working for you...i'm pretty new to this forum, so I don't know if it's possible for you to post or email your results, but if you can, I for one, would sure appreciate it if you would. :-)


#7 Chris Campbell

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 07:20 PM

As I understand it ... the clay pottery filtration system is used in many cultures since red clay
or any clay is generally available ... It is simple and it works. The bacteria particles are
too large to pass through the small spaces the fired clay bowl has.

River water in the top, clean water out the bottom.
Simple, no purchases required.

Good for all potters to remember in a emergency ..
Use a bisqued pot to get good water.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

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