The Sanitas Mug
Sometimes the drive for profits motivates Alberta inventors. Or, it stems
from a desire to help people. Other times, the motivation for invention
has come because the government has asked.
During the Second World War, the Government of Canada was concerned that
the cracks in mugs common between the handle and body of tea cups were a
breeding ground for bacteria. Their fear was that sickness and loss of
manpower would result from the unsanitary cups. To solve the problem, they
approached Medalta Potteries, located in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Medalta
obliged and invented the Sanitas mug.
Ed Phillipson, Medalta's superintendent, applied his mechanical know-how
to the problem of how to make a hygienic mug. Ordinarily, the handle would
be attached just before firing. As the clay from the handle differed from
that of the mug, during firing, the clay of the handle could shrink at a
different rate. Breaks could form.
Phillipson reasoned that pressing the entire cup would eliminate this
possibility. He designed a machine that would press the cup and handle
together from the clay. Liquid clay (or slip) was injected into a mould
that included both cup body and handle. After leaving the forming mould, a
hole was punched in the side to create the finger hole in the handle. The
entire cup was then fired and glazed.
Click here for more information on this innovative Alberta company and the Medalta
Pottery Museum in Medicine Hat.
Mr. Medalta David Jamieson by Angela Stubbs
Fête of Clay by Tom McFall
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