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Holding Temperature with an Infinite Switch

The Paragon FireFly is an example of a kiln with an infinite control switch and pyrometer.


Holding Temperature with an Infinite Switch

Tool Suggestions

Recent Q&A: Slumped wine bottles are cracking

Kiln Maintenance Seminar October 5 - 6, 2007

The Glass Art Society show last week -----------------


You can hold a temperature even if your kiln has an infinite control switch instead of a digital controller. You will need to make frequent adjustments to the switch using a pyrometer (temperature sensor) as a guide.

Inside the infinite control switch is a strip of metal that bends as it heats. The bending of that metal cycles the switch on and off to maintain a heating rate. You will hear a clicking noise with every heating cycle. The higher the switch setting, the longer the switch stays on with each cycle.

To hold a temperature, sit in front of the kiln and watch the pyrometer. As the temperature begins to creep upward past the hold temperature, turn the knob to a lower setting. When the temperature dips too low, turn the knob to a higher setting. You will need to adjust the switch about every four minutes.

With practice, you can sense when to adjust the switch before the temperature drifts. This will take fairly close attention, so stay with your kiln throughout the hold period.

This is not as tedious as it sounds if you use your kiln time as a chance to catch up on your reading.


Norman Brock of Brock's Ceramics in San Antonio, Texas suggests that kiln technicians add the following to their tool kit:

small hand vacuum

soft paintbrush

small dust pan

extension mirror to check elements

extra self-tapping screws

element pins


Q. I have recently tried slumping wine bottles in my kiln. After a few days, the bottom cracks off. What am I doing wrong?

A. It sounds like the bottles cooled too quickly. The thicker the bottle, the slower it has to cool. Bottles are especially prone to cracking if you fire them a second time to add a decal. This is because the glass is fused together and is thicker than it was as the original bottle in the first firing. The solution is to fire and cool the glass more slowly.

A bottle will also crack if it sticks to a shelf that does not have enough glass separator.


On October 5 - 6, 2007, Paragon will hold a 1-1/2 day Basic Repair and Maintenance Seminar at the Paragon kiln factory in Mesquite, Texas. This is about 30 minutes east of Dallas. Paragon's head engineer and staff will teach the seminar.

The seminar covers basic electricity, kiln electrical installation, the multi-meter, switch replacement, electrical troubleshooting, element replacement, the Kiln Sitter, electronic kiln diagnostics, and more.

The seminar includes two lunches, one restaurant dinner, and a 3-ring notebook of maintenance data on Paragon kilns. The seminar fee is $95. To register, please call 800-876-4328 or send an email to . If you are flying and don't want to rent a car while you are at the seminar, ask the receptionist about Paragon’s airport and hotel pickup schedule.


I attended The Glass Art Society trade show last week at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. This is where the NCECA pottery conference will be held next year.

The most prominent feature of the convention center is the natural lighting. At one end of the roof, canvas filters the light from a 20' x 200' section of glass. Strips of glass 4' wide span the entire curved roof.

At the trade show, long patches of sunlight crawled across the floor throughout the day. Sunlight hit the show booths like a stage spotlight and then moved on.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2007, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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