From the middle of the 19th century through to the latter stages of the 20th, before the advent of thermoformed acrylic, many of the world’s most valuable baths were made from fireclay, rather than vitreous enamelled cast iron.
Fireclay was chosen because it was more malleable in design than cast iron, it was more attractive to view, and it cost slightly less.
A very few of these baths still exist and they are considered attractive by a number of high end designers. This is mainly due to their combination of grace and solidity, their wide rolling rims, and their slightly undulating, ceramic-like surfaces.
However, fireclay baths have three major drawbacks. Firstly, they are very heavy, which makes them difficult to move and limits where they can be placed. The second drawback is that they have a propensity to crack or craze at the slightest impact. Finally, of course, they are in very short supply.
Despite the drawbacks, we at Design & Form Ltd took the view that baths of this shape, style and finish were well worth preserving and carrying forward into the future. Rather than simply accept their disappearance, we therefore set about developing a new resin composite that would exhibit all the best qualities of fireclay, without the attendant drawbacks. Our new material would be lighter yet more robust, and it would enable completely faithful reproductions to be made. Echoing the idea of a glazed, vitreous finish, we chose and copyrighted the name VITRITE®.
Our starting point was our existing composite FICORE ®, which we knew offered market-proven strength, performance and durability. Soon after its launch, it had been tested by independent agencies and became generally recognised as being the highest quality bath-making material in the world. (Please download our FICORE ® Technical Briefing Sheet for further details and a summary of test results.)
VITRITE® is a further development of the same technology. Like FICORE®, it is unique to Design & Form, and it carries a 25 year guarantee. It has the same physical characteristics as FICORE® but, in addition, has the appearance, the tactile feel and the slight surface undulations of ceramic.
VITRITE® has the same high gloss finish as traditional fireclay ceramic, yet it exhibits none of its great weight or fragility. VITRITE® delivers much improved impact and chip-resistance, and outstanding chemical resistance. It also has a harder, scratch-resistant surface and it can be produced in literally any colour. Visually, even under close inspection, it is virtually indistinguishable from fireclay.
Our VITRITE® technical data sheet can be downloaded here.