A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and its subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous (e.g., a glass). Because most common ceramics are crystalline, the definition of ceramic is often restricted to inorganic crystalline materials, as opposed to the non-crystalline glasses. The word "ceramic" comes from the Greek "keramikos" (of pottery), and from "keramos" (to burn). Hence, the word "keramos" was to infer a burned substance or burned earth. Ceramics are things made from clay, the basic material for all ceramic creations. The clay is created as a result of the decomposition of igneous rock, which makes up the entire earth's crust. Everything you will do with clay involves the interplay of these three variables: .
Ceramics is one of the most ancient industries on the planet. Once humans discovered that clay could be dug up and formed into objects by first mixing with water and then firing, the industry was born. As early as 24,000 BC, animal and human figurines were made from clay and other materials, then fired in kilns partially dug into the ground. Almost 10,000 years later, as settled communities were established, tiles were manufactured in Mesopotamia and India. The first use of functional pottery vessels for storing water and food is thought to be around 9000 or 10,000 BC. Clay bricks were also made around the same time. Glass was believed to be discovered in Egypt around 8000 BC, when overheating of kilns produced a colored glaze on the pottery. Experts estimate that it was not until 1500 BC that glass was produced independently of ceramics and fashioned into separate items.
Fast forward to the Middle Ages, when the metal industry was in its infancy. Furnaces at that time for melting the metal were constructed of natural materials. When synthetic materials with better resistance to high temperatures (called refractories) were developed in the 16th century, the industrial revolution was born.