I can recommend a good book to folks who enjoy some history, furnaces and a good tale. The Arcanum is a non-fiction account of the "re-invention" of the perfect forumula for porcelain (bone china) in Europe in the 18th century. It's a true story, written by Janet Gleeson. Along the lines of Brunellischi's Dome, it's the tale of how a European alchemist learned how to make china for a royal court. Given how much the royals were spending on imported porcelain from China, jailing a chemist in a laborary until he came up with the right formula was probably a cost-effective decision.
It's an enjoyable book, particularly if you are building an oven.
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