This ceramic bluetooth speaker is made from Cornish clay in Stoke-on-Trent and hand assembled in Yair's London atelier.
Despite being a centre of knowledge and heritage for the ceramics industry, Stoke-on-Trent is failing to compete with products from the Far East. Josiah introduces a new angle, marrying old British craftsmanship with modern technology, bringing renewed interest to Stoke-on-Trent’s past and present.
Making the Ceramic body
Each Josiah speaker is handcrafted in the English potters’ capital of Stoke-on-Trent by traditional artisans. Pottery has been produced in the area since the 17th century and now our Josiah speakers’ casing is made in the same way that plates and teapots have been made for hundreds of years. The clay is dug up in Cornwall, England and is transported by Valentine Clays to Stoke-on-Trent, four hours north. In Stoke-on-Trent the work is headed by Brian Challinor at Ceramics By Design. First the clay is processed into slip (liquid clay for casting) by Nick. After making sure the slip has the correct pint weight and fluidity John, Ceramics By Design caster, fills the plaster moulds. John must allow just the right time for the cast to form in the mould to just the right thickness. Once allowed to harden in the mould the cast shrinks away from the plaster and can then be carefully taken out of the mould to dry. After allowing the cast to dry, Diane, the fettler and sponger, uses a sharp fettling knife to take off the seams and rough edges around the cut outs then sponges the entire surface to ensure it is smooth and fault free. The dry clay speaker is then put into the kiln by Nick for the first firing. This firing takes 11 hours and reaches a temperature of 1150º. After allowing the kiln to cool, the piece is taken out and checked for any defects by Darren. Darren then removes surface dust from the fired piece by brush and dust extraction. The next stage is glazing – Brian sprays the entire surface with liquid glaze to the correct thickness and coverage. When dry, the glaze leftovers are wiped off and the speaker is now ready for the second kiln firing. This takes approximately 8 hours and reaches a temperature of 1060º. After the second firing the kiln is allowed to cool down and the piece is taken to Nichola for final inspection and checked for defects. All good products are carefully wrapped by Nichola in bubble wrap and boxed for shipping.
Josiah has internal and external wooden parts. which come from H. Shawyer & Sons in large plywood sheets from Argentina and Chile. The sheets are laser cut in Bethnal Green, London by Blueprint, to make the internal screw holders of the speaker and the back connector plate with its laser-engraved logo.
The 5V Li-on battery frees Josiah from wires and allows for eight hours of playing time before a recharge is needed. The battery is made in Shenzhen, China and after a quality check it is assembled by Anythingby in London.1
Bluetooth 3.0 Module
Josiah’s Bluetooth modules were designed by our partners at Reid Acoustics in London. They spent almost a year designing these modules to deliver the most energy efficient system without compromising on sound quality and durability. It can pick up the audio signal of your mobile device from a distance of up to fifteen meters. The Bluetooth chips are manufactured in Taiwan and the boards they are mounted to, together with more electronic components, are made in Hong Kong by Mantis Electronics. After production the modules are tested in Shenzhen, mainland China. All the modules are then shipped to London for us to final test and assembly.
3'' Full Range Speaker
Yair sources the driver speakers in Palermo, Sicily. They get to Italy from Ningbo in China, about two and a half hours from Shanghai and are produced by Tang Band. These speakers are particularly good at reproducing a rich and warm sound that covers the mid-range.
Programmable NFC Tag
Each Josiah has an NFC tag inside that can be programmed for easy pairing with NFC phones. Once programmed, you can connect your phone to the speaker simply by touch. The NFC tags Yair uses are made in Taichung, Taiwan by SAG. They work with John from RapidNFC, a local agency in Covent Garden, London which sells these tags and helps with the technicalities.
The Josiah Charger
The Josiah charger is produced especially for Yair by Shenzhen Yingyuan Electronics co. ltd, a company they have relations with in Shenzhen, China. Alice Ning, who lives in Shenzhen and works in the factory, is their contact there and makes sure everything runs smoothly.
The touch sensors
Josiah has two touch sensors for on/off and volume control. These sensors are placed inside the unit and attached to the ceramic surface. The sensors are produced in China.
Acoustic Polyfill Filling
To provide great sound we fill the ceramic units with a bit of acoustic polyester wool. This keeps the sound waves from colliding into the unit’s walls and amplifying unwanted frequencies. The polyester wool is fireproof and can be recycled with textiles. The material is produced in South Korea and shipped from I2Sbedding to our supplier Harry, who is located in Manchester, UK.
Josiah is a sealed chamber speaker. In order to completely seal the unit so the air pressure inside supports the membrane, they use EPDM synthetic rubber gaskets between the speaker driver and the unit and between the back plate and the unit. The gaskets are made in Birmingham, UK by RH Nuttall.
Nuts & Bolts
Yair uses four bolts and nuts to fix the speaker to the ceramic unit and two bolts and nuts to attach the wooden plate at the back. The nuts are sourced from Clerkenwell screws, a lovely small shop on London’s Clerkenwell Road. This old family-run shop is where makers from all over London bump into each other when coming to find mechanical solutions to their challenges. The specific screws for Josiah are imported from Taiwan by Metalmate, a big fixing and fasteners distributor based in West Yorkshire.
Josiah comes in a rigid cardboard box that finds great uses after transporting the speaker. It can be anything from a tool box to gift packaging and if not wanted it can, of course, be recycled. The boxes are made in London, UK by Boxbargain.
Hay - In order to reduce use of petroleum-made products, Josiah packaging design includes hay instead of bubble wrap. Hay is a great shock observer and has a nice smell too. It keeps Josiah safe in the box. The hay is grown in the UK.
100% Recycled brown wrapping paper protects Josiah and separates it from the hay in the box. The paper is made in Germany mostly from mechanical waste and the manufacturing process is entirely free of chlorine. The paper is delivered by James Otton from Pro-Media London in Soho Square. When wrapping Josiah in paper no glue is used so it can be used for other purposes like drawing, packing things or just recycled easily. The same paper is used to print Josiah’s instruction manual.”