A Little Clumsy

JIPO Porcelain

自1869年由Gustav Schnabel在捷克的代斯納創辦,JIPO這家已經百年的陶瓷工廠,一路走來可謂多災多難。先是在上世紀30年代遭受祝融之災,整個廠房付之一炬,在一番整頓重修後,又經歷二戰被迫國有化,後來捷克成為共產主義國家,廠房還被改組合拼,直至到上世紀90年代初,才在企業Jizerská porcelánka s.r.o的幫助下,召回當初的技術工人和管理線,重啟JIPO的生產線,繼續生產自家的瓷器產品。

在JIPO這家工廠裡,最有名的是自1947年起投入生產的實驗室用具。瓷製的實驗室用具,對大部人來說都很陌生,而印象中通常都會是玻璃製品,但其實過往的實驗室一直有使用瓷器,其耐熱性一直深得研究人員的青睞。而在以前的年代,玻璃製品仍屬於奢侈的物資,而瓷器就是非常優良的替代品,當年Gustav Schnabel創辦瓷器廠的時候,正正是希望大眾多用可靠的瓷器,減少倚賴當年還非常短缺的玻璃物料。


Established in 1869 by Gustav Schnabel in the town of Desna in the Czech Republic, JIPO is a century-old porcelain factory which has been through many crises over the years. The first crisis hit in the 1930s, which witnessed its factory engulfed by fire. After the factory was rebuilt, then came the Second World War, which saw the company becoming nationalized against its will. Later on, when the Czech Republic became a communist country, its factories were restructured and consolidated. It was not until the early 1990s that JIPO reemployed its original craftsmen and management to reopen its production line with the help of the company Jizerská porcelánka s.r.o. From then on, the company could finally resume the manufacture of its own brand of porcelain products.

JIPO’s signature products are its laboratory ware which have been in production since 1947. Most of us are unfamiliar with porcelain ware made for laboratories as we are more used to glassware. However, in fact, porcelain wares have always been used in laboratories and their heat-resistant quality has made them very popular among researchers. In the olden days, when glass was still scarce in supply, porcelain was considered a substitute of outstanding quality. Back when Gustav Schnabel first established his porcelain factory, he was hoping that the public could use reliable porcelain products more so as to reduce their reliance on glass, which was then still a highly scarce material.

Since JIPO’s set of laboratory tools are designed for actual research use, they feature a solid and tough outward appearance. Nevertheless, they radiate an aura of simplicity at the same time. Lined up on a table, they become a pleasant feast for the eyes. I am particularly partial to its measuring cups, which differ from their glass counterparts featuring clear and easy-to-me measurements thanks to their transparency. In the case of these porcelain measuring cups, you have to hold them in your hand and then look inside to see the printed measurements. Staring at the measurements painted in green on the inside of these measuring cups, I first find them a little clumsy. But the longer I look, the cuter they appear to me, and I have grown so fond of them that I do not ever want to part with them again.