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The roots of The Edward Orton Jr. Ceramic Foundation date back to the establishment of the Standard Pyrometric Cone Company in 1896. Dr. Orton was a pioneer in developing and applying scientific principles to ceramic manufacturing. In 1894, he was appointed the first Chairman of the Ceramic Engineering Department at The Ohio State University, the first ceramic engineering school in the United States.

Edward Orton Jr. Portrait


Dr. Orton recognized the ceramic industry's need to have a calibrated visual device to measure the amount of heat work delivered to ceramic products during the firing process to validate thermal processing. To meet this need he developed a series of pyrometric cones and established the Standard Pyrometric Cone Company to manufacture the cones. Even with the subsequent development of thermocouples and electronic temperature controllers, Orton's pyrometric products continue to be a vital part of process control systems around the world.

Upon his death in 1932, Dr. Orton established in his Will, for the creation of The Edward Orton Jr. Ceramic Foundation to operate as a charitable trust to continue the operation of the Standard Pyrometric Cone Company for the benefit of the ceramic arts and industry. The primary purpose of the Foundation is to provide products to assist and enhance high-temperature processing of ceramics and other materials. The secondary purpose of the Orton Ceramic Foundation is to utilize the net proceeds from the primary purpose to support investigations and studies that will aid in the processing of materials for its customers.

About the Foundation


The Foundation has three distinct areas of products and services:

  • Pyrometric Monitoring Devices for thermal processing.

  • Thermal Analytical Instruments for measuring thermal properties.

  • Material Testing Services to measure material properties.

Orton provides its products and services to more than 70 countries worldwide. The Foundation currently occupies a 42,000 square foot facility in Westerville, Ohio, a northeastern suburb of Columbus, Ohio, approximately 20 minutes from John Glenn Columbus International Airport. Orton's 30+ employees are committed to providing the highest quality products and services to its customers.

Edward Orton Portrait
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