Vitreous enamel

Vitreous enamel called porcelain enamel, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing between 750 and 850 °C. The powder melts and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating; the word comes from the Latin vitreum, meaning "glass". Enamel can be used on metal, ceramics, stone, or any material that will withstand the fusing temperature. In technical terms fired enamelware is an integrated layered composite of glass and another material; the term "enamel" is most restricted to work on metal, the subject of this article. Enamelled glass is called "painted", overglaze decoration to pottery is called enamelling. Enamelling is an old and adopted technology, for most of its history used in jewelry and decorative art. Since the 19th century, enamels have been applied to many consumer objects, such as some cooking vessels, steel sinks, enamel bathtubs, stone countertops, it has been used on some appliances, such as dishwashers, laundry machines, refrigerators, on marker boards and signage.

The term "enamel" has sometimes been applied to industrial materials other than vitreous enamel, such as enamel paint and the polymers coating enameled wire. The word enamel comes from the Old High German word smelzan via the Old French esmail, or from a Latin word smaltum, first found in a 9th-century Life of Leo IV. Used as a noun, "an enamel" is a small decorative object coated with enamel. "Enamelled" and "enamelling" are the preferred spellings in British English, while "enameled" and "enameling" are preferred in American English. The ancient Egyptians applied enamels to stone objects and sometimes jewellery, although to the last less than in contemporaneous cultures in the Near East; the ancient Greeks, Celts and Chinese used enamel on metal objects. Enamel was used to decorate glass vessels during the Roman period, there is evidence of this as early as the late Republican and early Imperial periods in the Levant, Egypt and around the Black Sea. Enamel powder could be produced in two ways, either by powdering coloured glass, or by mixing colourless glass powder with pigments such as a metallic oxide.

Designs were either painted freehand or over the top of outline incisions, the technique originated in metalworking. Once painted, enamelled glass vessels needed to be fired at a temperature high enough to melt the applied powder, but low enough that the vessel itself was not melted. Production is thought to have come to a peak in the Claudian period and persisted for some three hundred years, though archaeological evidence for this technique is limited to some forty vessels or vessel fragments. In European art history, enamel was at its most important in the Middle Ages, beginning with the Late Romans and the Byzantine, who began to use cloisonné enamel in imitation of cloisonné inlays of precious stones; the Byzantine enamel style was adopted by the "barbarian" peoples of Migration Period northern Europe. The Byzantines began to use cloisonné more to create images. Limoges enamel was made in Limoges, the most famous centre of vitreous enamel production in Western Europe, though Spain made a good deal.

Limoges became famous for champlevé enamels from the 12th century onwards, producing on a large scale, from the 15th century retained its lead by switching to painted enamel on flat metal plaques. The champlevé technique was easier and widely practiced in the Romanesque period. In Gothic art the finest work is in basse-taille and ronde-bosse techniques, but cheaper champlevé works continued to be produced in large numbers for a wider market. From either Byzantium or the Islamic world, the cloisonné technique reached China in the 13–14th centuries; the first written reference to cloisonné is in a book from 1388, where it is called "Dashi ware". No Chinese pieces that are from the 14th century are known. Cloisonné remained popular in China until the 19th century and is still produced today; the most elaborate and most valued Chinese pieces are from the early Ming Dynasty the reigns of the Xuande Emperor and Jingtai Emperor, although 19th century or modern pieces are far more common. Starting from the mid-19th century, the Japanese produced large quantities of high technical quality.

Persians used this method for colouring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colours that are decorated in an intricate design and called it Meenakari. The French traveller, Jean Chardin, who toured Iran during the Safavid period, made a reference to an enamel work of Isfahan, which comprised a pattern of birds and animals on a floral background in light blue, green and red. Gold has been used traditionally for Meenakari jewellery as it holds the enamel better, lasts longer and its lustre brings out the colours of the enamels. Silver, a introduction, is used for artifacts like boxes, bowls and art pieces while copper, used for handicraft products was introduced only after the Gold Control Act, which compelled the Meenakars to look for a material other than gold, was enforced in India; the work of Meenakari went unnoticed as this art was traditionally used as a backing for the famous kundan or stone-studded jewellery. This allowed the wearer to reverse the jewellery as promised a special joy in the secret of the hidden design.

More the bright, jewel-l

Mansfield railway line

The Mansfield railway line was a branch line in the Goulburn Valley of northern Victoria, branching from the main North East line at Tallarook station and heading east into mountainous territory. The first stage of the line was opened from Tallarook to Yea in 1883, being extended in stages from 1889 though Molesworth, Cathkin and Maindample to reach Mansfield in 1891, located 117 kilometres from the junction. A short 7 kilometre long branch was opened from Cathkin to Koriella in 1890, being extended another 7 kilometres to Alexandra in 1909; the line was a result of a decade of local lobbying, provided improved access for agricultural products from the region to Melbourne markets. The line was quite scenic and included a 200 m tunnel near Cheviot and a viaduct over an arm of the Lake Eildon reservoir in Bonnie Doon, rebuilt in 1955 as part of the enlarging of the reservoir; the last regular passenger service operated to Mansfield on 28 May 1977 by 280hp Walker railmotor 91 RM. It was replaced by a bus service via Yarra Glen, but was rerouted via Whittlesea after road upgrades were carried out.

By this point the track had deteriorated beyond Yea, after March 1977 the majority of services beyond this point were buses. The line was closed on 8 November 1978 along with the branch line to Alexandra; the line was dismantled following closure, preventing any chance of tourist services from operating along the line despite some interest being shown. Many bridges along the line were removed with only the uprights remaining; the line has since been reopened as the Great Victorian Rail Trail. The trail was funded by local councils. Photographs of stations along the Mansfield line Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail

James Douglas McLachlan

James Douglas McLachlan was the first British wartime Military attaché to Washington, D. C. James Douglas McLachlan was born in Semarang, Java, 14 February 1869 and commissioned into the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders in 1891, he participated in the Nile Expedition in 1898 and, subsequently, at the famous Battle of Khartoum. He married Gwendolin Mab White, of New South Wales in 1903 at St Margaret Church in London; as lieutenant colonel, McLachlan commanded the 1st Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders in March 1913 and led it to France in the early stages of the World War I until September 1914, when he was wounded. He commanded 8th Infantry Brigade from October 1915 to March 1916, he was mentioned in dispatches twice. He served on the staff as a Brigadier General before being appointed as the first wartime military attaché to the United States. In-post, he was promoted to Major General, he was raised to a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 3 June 1918 and a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in June 1919.

Upon relinquishing his post as military attaché, he reverted to his substantive rank of Colonel. He was awarded the United States Distinguished Service Medal in July 1919, he died on 7 November 1937