Potter's Wheel

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potter's wheel

[′päd·ərz ′wēl]
A revolving horizontal disk that turns when a treadle is operated; used to shape clay by hand.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Potter’s Wheel


a tool for shaping pottery and some other ceramic articles, using the inertia of rotation to improve the shape of the products and increase labor productivity. A manual potter’s wheel is turned on a vertical spindle with one hand while the other hand shapes the vessel; a more advanced, foot-powered model was equipped with a flywheel at the bottom that was turned by the feet, freeing both of the craftsman’s hands and making the wheel rotate faster, making it possible to shape the vessel not only piece by piece from spiral coils, as is done on a manual potter’s wheel, but also by pulling it from a solid piece of clay. The invention and widespread use of the potter’s wheel were followed by the training of pottery specialists. The potter’s wheel became known in various countries at different times—in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India in the fourth and third millennia B.C.;in Iran, Middle Asia, Greece, and China in the second millennium B.C.;in Italy, Spain, France, Transcaucasia, and the northern Black Sea area in the first millennium B.C.;in Britain in about the first century B.C.;in Ancient Rus’, the Volga Region, and Germany in the ninth and tenth centuries; and in Scandinavia in the 12th century. In America, the potter’s wheel was unknown until the arrival of European settlers. In modern pottery production the wheel is usually operated by electric power.


Rybakov, B. A. Remeslo Drevnei Rust. Moscow, 1948.
Bobrinskii, A. A. “Drevnerusskii goncharnyi krug.” Sovetskaia ar-kheologiia, 1962, no. 3.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
From a teenage mastery of the rural potter's wheel at Vastrapur, near Ahmedabad, to studio pottery in Paris; from experiments with industrial pottery in Bombay, to a rich period of training in glazes and techniques with the celebrated Czech master Professor Otto Eckert in Prague (figures 1 and 2), Dashrath's life was a remarkably engaged journey in the mystique of the form.
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There they unearthed three large funeral vessels of clay resembling boats, each the size of a human body and containing burnt earth, as well as fragments of pots made with the potter's wheel and filled with funeral ashes, and tools made of the special iron-rich stones.
The prolific site has yielded lots of interesting relics and artifacts and is dubbed the 'archeologists' lost heaven.' The newly found site offered a number of earthenware shards and intact pieces of pottery, which suggest that potter's wheel was not used at the site.
When we opened Potter's House 50 years ago, we had a working potter's wheel at the front of the building.
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Cheney Fairchild, British artist and owner of The Art House will be offering limited places on the four-week course on learning how to throw and turn on the potter's wheel. Children will have a go at making bowls and objects of various shapes alongside learning basic turning and glazing techniques.
The crowd that gathered around Tea Duong applauded as soon as he finished a piece on the potter's wheel. Duong then used a small chunk of clay and some water from his bucket to form a handle and attach it to the large, narrow-mouthed piece.
At his father's death in 1739 his eldest brother, Thomas, set him to work for his living as a 'thrower' on the potter's wheel; as he afterwards said, 'on the bottom rung of the ladder'.