D

DABBER Occupation. Decorating department. Works in groundlaying using a dabber.

DABBER Equipment. Used in the decorating department during groundlaying. Tool. Cotton wool rolled into a ball and covered with silk. The surplus silk tied around with twine to form a handle. Used in groundlaying to apply the oil pior to dusting with ceramic colour.

DABBER Equipment. Transfer printing. Decorating Department. Tool used by the transfer printer to force the warmed ceramic colour (the consistency of Marmite!) into the engraved surface of the flat, engraved copper plate.


Transfer printing demonstration


DAFT APE EARTH Dialect. A term of endearment. "You daft ape-earth. What have you gone and done that daft thing for?"

DAMPERS Equipment. Essential part of a bottle oven to control how its works during firing. Crown damper and four quarter dampers. Flaps of iron and refractory (firebrick) bricks, hinged, which can be lowered or raised by means of a pulley system from ground level, to affect the draught in a bottle oven (and hence affect the firing conditions) during the firing cycle. Much of the control of the firing of the potters' bottle oven was achieved by the use of these dampers. The number of dampers varied from oven to oven, it all depended on the individual kiln builder and the manufacturers requirements. During the firing, the fireman would regulate the draught in any part of the oven by opening or closing the dampers.

Potbank Dictionary - crown damper - the central large damper used to control air flow on the crown (dome) of a bottle oven
Crown damper on a bottle oven

DAYWAGE Method of payment for pottery workers. Not piecework. Daywagers were/are paid for the time they spend at their place of work, not for the amount of pieces they produce (who are pieceworkers). Daywage guarantees a fixed income calculated on daily attendance.

DEAD COAL Material. Ovens department.  Coal for firing used in the bottle oven which has not yet been lit. Lumping coal, not baiting coal.

DE-AIRING Process. The removal of air bubbles and air pockets from soft (plastic) clay. This is an essential part of the potting process and can be carried out by hand by wedging or in a de-airing pug mill. If air bubbles are left to remain they will explode during the firing process and could ruin the piece.

DE-AIRING PUG Equipment. See directly above.

DECAL Short for decalcomania, the American name for ceramic transfers used in decoration. A litho or a slide-off. Applied surface decoration.

DECK-EAT Dialect. Stop it immediately! Or alternatively - woo, look at me or look at that. Admire that. Lads out on a Friday up anley, duck.

DECORATE Process. In the decorating department. Applying a surface pattern to enhance the pot. May be simple or very elaborate and expensive. Various processes involved.

DECORATING END  - the  DECORATING DEPARTMENT  Department in a potbank. Obviously where the decorating is done and in some potbanks a very big and important place. Onglaze and under glaze decoration, enamelling shop, printing shop including Murray Curvex, hardening-on oven, enamel oven.

DECORATING FIRE Process. Ovens department. The firing taking place after the application of onglaze decoration. Around 800°C.

DECORATING KILN Equipment. The kiln in which enamel or onglaze colours are fired.

DECORATOR'S SIZE Material. A mixture of oils which is applied to glazed ware to help the adhesion of prints or lithographs decoration.

DEFLOCCULATE or DEFLOCCULATION Dispersion of slip or glaze by the addition of an electrolyte Eg: sodium silicate or soda ash. Makes the slip feel more fluid or runny.

DEFLOCCULANT Component of pottery body recipe. Alkaline material which introduces like electrical charges to all particles, causing them repel one another and remain in suspension.  A deflocculated suspension gives flowing consistency with less water content, meaning lower drying shrinkage - especially important in slip-casting.  Extremely low percentage of deflocculant additive is needed - 1/4 of 1% (of dry batch weight) soda ash and/or sodium silicate.

DEFLOURINATED STONE Component of pottery body recipe. Similar to China Stone but with the small amount of naturally present flouride removed by the floatation process.

DEK as in DEK THAT!  Dialect.  "Look at that! Wow!"

DELFTWARE (Delph or just Delft)  Tin-glazed earthenware. When made in England it was similar to wares made at Delft. Blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands. The Dutch East India Company imported Chinese porcelain into Europe, in particular to Delft, and it was there that potters imitated it with soft clay to make what has become known as Delftware. It was much in demand and the Dutch exported it all over the western world.

Potbank Dictionary - Delftware - blue and white pottery made in the Netherlands
Examples of delftware
Blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands


DEVITRIFICATION Glaze fault. Crystallisation of glaze after firing. Often at the surface of the glaze making it look cloudy or matt. Not glossy.

DEWATERING Process.  Removal of water from clay slip by filter pressing to make the slop clay (slip) stiffer and more 'plastic.'

DIALECT A regional variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary. The Potteries dialect is a dialect found almost exclusively in and around Stoke-on-Trent. Like all English dialects, the Potteries dialect derives from Anglo-Saxon Old English.

May un Mar Language - a film about The Potteries Dialect.
Part One of Four - see the other three, too.  Excellent films! 


DIDDLER Equipment. Potter's tool. Stick with a small sponge fastened to one end. Used mainly to sponge smooth the recently cast spouts and handles of clay pots. May be peculiar to Enoch Wedgwood 1980s.

DIE Tool. Equipment.

DIGITAL PRINTING  "Digital printing of decals and ceramic tiles is already well established. Computer generated images can be printed directly onto ceramic tiles via special inkjet systems. Alternatively a photocopier type system can be used to print onto decal paper ...  Three dimensional digital printing was developed initially for rapid prototyping of plastic objects it is now being used for small special ceramic parts."  quotes from Ivan Wozniak – The Potters Friend  More here

DINNERWARE Dishes used in serving, and eating food, including plates and bowls. Dinnerware is a synonym, especially meaning a set of dishes, including serving pieces. Not tea-ware.

DINE BONK Potteries dialect. Down bank. Opposite to 'up bonk.' "Gooeen dine bonk" is going down hill.



DINNER AND DINNERTIME 

Beware ... this is complicated! 

A pottery worker's dinner is eaten in the middle of the day, at lunchtime, which a potter calls dinner time. Lunchtime would be regarded as a 'posh' dinnertime. In the 19th Century, when potters worked very long hours, the lunch break or dinner time could last as long as 2 hours when a cooked meal was eaten. 

The meal would have been prepared at the factory over a pot-stove or on the hob of a bottle oven, or it could have been fetched from the nearby home. Lobby was a favourite dinner. As was bacon, fried on a No.8 British Standard Shovel, heated in the blazing mouth of the bottle oven being fired.  In the mid 20th Century works canteens began to appear, built by factory owners. These often became important for socialising, with clubs and societies being formed. For example at the Spode Factory in Stoke, there was an important choir and a drama group which performed in the canteen. 

At Twyford’s canteen in Cliffe Vale, Stoke, a full sized stage with proscenium was designed by Gordon Forsyth, the famous and important designer.



Twyfords Fireclay Works canteen in the 1950s
Twyford Fireclay Works canteen 1950s
Proscenium arch designed by Gordon Forsyth

In the late 20th Century working hours decreased and breaks became relatively shorter. Often lunch became just a snatched ‘pace’ sometimes taken at the bench. 

A proper dinner comprises of food which is most often associated with a 'Sunday Lunch'. Roast meat, potatoes and at least 1 vegetable (in the Potteries this can be 3 or 4 different vegetables) and lots of gravy. Still served today, in some pubs everyday of the week in North Staffordshire, there seems to be a challenge as to how much gravy a flat plat will actually hold without spilling. 

So dinner is lunch unless it is a Christmas dinner when it really is a dinner at lunchtime, or just after lunchtime, but before the Queen’s speech. 

Dinner could be taken at teatime for tea, after work. This is not afternoon tea which is between lunch or dinner and tea or dinner. Potters can, of course, have a dinner for tea - the evening meal. In one household the question would arise 'Are we having a dinner for tea?' 

Now, some readers, particularly Southerners, may need a lie down at this point! 

We go on ... Tea is drunk is copious amounts during the potter's day but tea is the main meal of the day too, actually dinner.   A really hungry potter might sneak a bit of his dinner at breakfast, which was a couple of hours after he started work maybe signalled by the factory bell or siren. So if he really did have his dinner for his breakfast then he would have no dinner left for his lunch and would have to wait till he got home for his tea and had a proper dinner, for his tea. In any case he should be having ‘pobs’ for his breakfast with a pot of tea. Unless, of course, he worked shifts in which case his breakfast actually would be his dinner.  Then he would have another dinner at teatime. Perhaps a Wrights pie or grilled oatcake and cheese.

A potter might go out for a meal and if it was a posh affair it would be a 'dinnerin' which required dressing up.  A 'works dinnerin' was usually just before Christmas, sometimes paid for by the boss. This would be held after teatime but before supper which might be a 'pace' of cheese and maybe tea just before bed. This was not a posh person’s supper which was a dinner or evening meal, served after tea.  Any dinner left over after tea would be 'orts' and they could be had next day, warmed up.

So now you know!



A potter's breakfast at the Last Bottle Oven Firing in Longton in 1978
Les Dennis at Gladstone's Last Bottle Oven Firing 1978
Cooking late breakfast (or early dinner - lunch!)
Bacon sizzling on a British Standard Shovel, fresh from the firemouth


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DINNERIN Potteries dialect. A posh do. May be at Christmas. Definitely an official event, probably with wine! Sometimes paid for by the boss. In Potteries dialect you might say "Arm goo-in the works dinnerin ternate. At thay?"

DIMPLE Glaze fault. Found after firing. A round shallow lump or scar on the glaze surface caused by salts in the glaze.

DIP Could be the act of dipping a biscuit pot into glaze.  But more excitingly its the greasy fatty melt from frying bacon.

DIPPING Process. Biscuit ware is dipped (fully immersed) into a suspension of glaze ingredients. Then the surplus is shaken off.

Twyfords - dipping a biscuit WC in a tub of glaze prior to 'glost' firing c 1930
Dipping a toilet. Strenuous and exhausting work -
have you ever tried to pick up a toilet?
 




DIPPING HOUSE Department in a potbank where biscuit pots are dipped into tubs of glaze prior to a second fire.

DIPPING TUB Equipment. The same term is used either for storage of glaze or for using as a vat into which pots are dipped. Large tub made either from wooden staves (similar to a very large beer barrel) or rubber and containing the liquid glaze.

DIPPER Occupation. Ovens department. Male for heavy pieces and female for the smaller lighter ware. The person who immerses biscuit ware into a tub of liquid glaze (basically crushed glass suspended in water) before the glost fire.

A dipper dipping teapots into tub of glaze.

A dipper dipping plates into tubs of glaze


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DIPT Dialect.  Used on the Spode Factory, Stoke-on-Trent. Past tense of dip. (dipped)

DIRTY ARK Equipment. Machine. Containing freshly made slip which has not been sieved and magnetted to remove oversize dirty material and tiny iron particles.

DIRT or DIRTY WARE Pottery fault. Any sort of non-organic dirt from the kiln atmosphere, placers hands, kiln furniture or blown in from outside can cause a fault on glazed pots. The dirt appears as black speckles in the fired glaze.

DISEASE Glaze fault. Irregular bare patches distributed over the surface of glost ware. Also dry patches on under-glaze colours.

DISHCLOTH END Fenton. Not neck end which is further south. Between Fenton and Longton. Almost. Or thereabouts. Not 'neck end' which is Longton proper.

DISH MAKER Occupation. Potting department. Specialist jiggerer.

DISHED Dialect. "Proper dished."  Really upset by a nasty remark or disappointing event. Perhaps disappointment with a useless gift.

DISSECTOR Occupation. Warehouse. Sorts out faulty products into categories so that the boss can see what are his most major problems.

DISSECTING Process. Sorting out faulty products to create a list of the worst faults. Creating statistics for the pottery manager to assess and find reasons for faults appearing. Also known as classifying or sometimes sorting. Usually sorting is one stage back from dissecting.

DOBBIN Equipment.

DOBBIN DRYER Equipment. Type of dryer for clay ware in a potbank. Ware, still on its plaster mould, is placed on horizontal turntables which rotate into the warm air zone of the drying cabinet.


Dobbin dryer

DOD BOX Equipment. Device for extruding rods of pottery clay body from which cup handles or basket ware can be made.

DOD HANDLE Cup or jug handle made with clay extruded from a dod box.  Dod handles are made from strips of soft clay squeezed through the die in the dod box to give the required section, cut into lengths and bent by hand while soft to the right shape.

DOG PLATE Equipment. The shredder in a pug mill. May be peculiar to Enoch Wedgwood, Tunstall.

DONTIL EDGE A decoration to the edge of flatware (plates, saucers, etc)

DORST Equipment. Clay end. Machine for 'pressure casting' pottery. Pressure casting systems for both tableware and sanitary ware together with plastic (porous resin) moulds.

DOSS as in DOSS-DINE Dialect. Sleep.

DOT Doris or sometimes Dorothy. Can be confusing.

DOT PUNCH Equipment. Decorating department. Used by the engraver to punch tiny dots onto a copper plate for printing.

DOTTLING Process. Placing or setting pottery flatware, which has been dipped in glaze, into refractory of fireclay thimbles in a saggar.

DOULTON 

Pottery manufacturer. The Doulton Company began as a partnership between John Doulton, Martha Jones, and John Watts, with their factory at Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth, London. The business specialised in making stoneware articles, including decorative bottles and salt glaze sewer pipes. The company took the name Doulton in 1853.

By 1871, Henry Doulton, John's son, launched a studio at the Lambeth pottery, and offered work to designers and artists from the nearby Lambeth School of Art. The first to be engaged was George Tinworth followed by artists such as the Barlow family (Florence, Hannah, and Arthur), Frank Butler, Mark Marshall and Eliza Simmance.  


Doulton Lambeth Factory - " The most picturesque factory in London"
Date: Built 1876



In 1882, Doulton purchased the small factory of Pinder, Bourne & Co, at Nile Street in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. The business introduced new techniques and produced bone china from 1884. The ideas and inspiration of key individuals like John Slater and Charles J Noke built its reputation in figurines, vases, and decorative pieces. 

When Henry died in 1897 he was widely mourned. By this time Doulton was popular for stoneware and ceramics, under the artistic direction of John Slater, who worked with figurines, vases, character jugs, and decorative pieces designed by the prolific Leslie Harradine. The Doulton name caught the attention of the British Royal Family. 

In 1901 the Burslem factory was granted the Royal Warrant by the new king, Edward VII. Now the business could adopt a bold new logo - the British lion - and a classic brand name - Royal Doulton. Between the World Wars, the name Royal Doulton became synonymous with the finest English china across the world. Innovation and inspiration were key to its growth, whether that be flambĂ© ware, titanian ware, or bone china. And it didn't stop there. 

Royal Doulton had launched its definitive HN Series of Pretty Lady figurines in 1913 and these collectables went from strength to strength. Under Charles Noke, it successfully moved into the market for Character Jugs too. What's more, it had established Bunnykins as nurseryware in 1934, moving into collectable figurines by 1939.





The Lambeth factory closed in 1956 due to clean air regulations preventing urban production of salt glaze. Following closure, work was transferred to The Potteries. The office building in Black Prince Road Lambeth, survives, complete with a frieze of potters and Sir Henry Doulton over the original main entrance, executed by Tinworth.  

In 1960 Royal Doulton it introduced a new product - English Translucent China (ETC), which is now better known as Royal Doulton Fine China. ETC offered the excellent translucent quality of bone china, without the expense. In 1966 Royal Doulton became the first china manufacturer to receive the Queen's Award for Technical Achievement. Royal Doulton merged with Minton in 1968, and gained the Royal Albert brand from the merger with AEP (Allied English Potteries) in 1971. 

In 2005, these historic names became part of the Waterford Wedgwood group. On 30 September 2005, the Nile Street factory closed. Some items are now made in the parent company, WWRD Holdings Ltd at the Wedgwood factory in Barlaston, in the south of the Potteries. Further production is carried out in Indonesia. Royal Doulton Ltd, together with other Waterford Wedgwood companies, went into administration on 5 January 2009. 



Doulton Lambeth Factory - what's left. 2010


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DOWNDRAUGHT Type of Bottle Oven. This type of oven is a more complex type of oven than the simple updraught oven. This type of oven was a development of the early 20th Century industry to make more efficient use of the firing fuel (coal). The hot gasses pass through the setting of saggars not once but twice, theoretically making the most of the heat from the fires.  From the firemouths the intensely hot gases flow upwards to the crown then descend through the setting and are then drawn out through the flues in the floor of the oven. This type of oven was used for both biscuit and glost ware. More here> at The Potteries Bottle Oven website

DRAW or DRAWING Process. Emptying a bottle oven (or other type of oven) after it has been fired.

DRAW TIN Equipment. Used around the bottle oven.

DRESSING IRON Equipment. Ovens department. Toll used for cleaning glost saggars before use. Removes wad bits, clay bits or stuck ware. Square piece of iron 3 inches long. Sharp at the edges and attached to a small handle.

DRESSLER KILN Equipment.  The first successful muffle-type tunnel kiln was that built by Conrad Dressler in 1912. The name is now applied to a variety of kilns designed and built by Swindell-Dressler. more here>

DRILLER Occupation. Glost warehouse. Earthenware. He or she who drills one or two very small holes in the back of flatware to pierce the glaze through to the biscuit. When the piece is then fired again, perhaps for a decorating fire, any moisture in the body will escape through the holes to prevent the pottery fault called spit out.

DRILLING One or two very small holes are drilled in the back of flatware to pierce the glaze. When the piece is then fired again, perhaps for a decorating fire, any moisture in the body will escape through the holes. This prevents spit out.

DRINDED Dialect. Drowned or soaked. As in "Lark a drinded rot" (Like a drowned rat).

DROP ARCHES Part of a bottle oven. Forming the roof of a firemouth.

DROPPER Glaze fault. Blobs of glaze that are found on glazed pieces after firing, caused by drops of glaze accumulated on the kiln roof.

DROWNDED Wet through after a sudden downpour. As in "Lark a drinded rot" (Like a drowned rat).

DRUM Equipment. A wooden former used in saggar making to form the basic shape of the saggar.

DRUMMING Problem in the sliphouse during pugging. A pug will not extrude clay unless their is friction between the clay and the pug barrel. Occasionally the clay sticks to the centre auger and is sheared away from the clay in contact with the barrel. The clay gets carries round and round with the auger and extrusion thus stops. This is drumming. The pug has to be cleared out and cleaned down. The extra force has to be applied as the clay is fed in.

DRY BODY Type of pottery with a particular recipe and requiring particular firing conditions. Black basalt, cane and red stone ware are examples of dry stoneware body. Often unglazed

DRY EDGES Glaze fault. Insufficient glaze on the edge of the piece. Created by poor dipping or poor handling.

DRYER Equipment A heated chamber in which pottery is dried before firing.

DRYING Process. Critical part of pottery making. Clay drys in different ways depending its thickness. Large pieces dry slower than small ones. Too fast drying can lead to uneven shrinkage and cracking before and during firing. As well as heat, moisture needs to be extracted carefully.

DRYING SHRINKAGE Pottery shrinks as it dries after making. As water is driven from the constituent clay the particles of the body come closer together to cause the shrinkage. China clay shrinks between 6 and 10%, ball clay shrinks between 9 and 12%.

DRYING STOVE Equipment A heated chamber in which pottery is dried before firing.


Twyfords Pottery Ducks in 1980s Bathroom Colours
Twyfords Pottery Ducks in 1980s Bathroom Colours


DUCK Dialect. Equally applicable to male or female, friend or stranger - a term of endearment. As in "Ta duck" or "Up Anley, duck." Used a lot to round-off a remark. Also used as a greeting "At oh rate duck?" Origin of the term? There are a number of suggestions for the origin of the word as used in The Potteries. One suggestion is : Duck is derived from Dux, a leader of men that also became Duke. So by calling someone Duck you are showing that they are an important and revered person. Another suggestion, which is similar is, derived from the Saxon word "ducas" as a term of respect, which by another route is where the word "Duke" arises from in English.

DUCKERS Dialect. See FLINT With thanks to @pottrays for the suggestion.

DUDSON Pottery Manufacturer

Richard Dudson opened his first factory in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1800. Nine generations on from the founder, Dudson is still a privately owned family business, the oldest in the UK tableware industry specialising in ceramic tableware for the ever expanding world of travel and hospitality. In the early years, the company produced a wide variety of domestic ware, including Staffordshire figures, Relief  Moulded Stoneware, Jasper Ware, Ebony and Mosaic (rouletted) ware. 

On the death of his father in 1882, James Thomas Dudson, the great grandson of the founder, became the owner of the Hope Street factory and it was he who master-minded significant changes in production, which would help to ensure the future of the company. Having travelled extensively for the firm for many years, he identified the potential in supplying a new market. By this time, the railways were well established, shipping lines began to flourish and an increasing number of hotels were being built to accommodate the population which was now 'on the move' for the first time. James Thomas Dudson had the foresight to identify the embryonic 'leisure and tourism' industry!


Add caption
The exceptionally strong, vitreous clay body perfected by his father was ideally suited to the production of catering ware and so, by 1891, Dudson had turned its full attention to this new growth area.  Today, Dudson is one of the world's leading manufacturers of tableware for the hospitality industry, continuing to set the standard in design, production and innovation.







DULLING Glaze fault. Poor gloss surface created when the piece is cooled too slowly after the glost fire.

DUMP Kiln furniture. Spacer or support for big pieces, or for refractory shelves.

Dump

DUMP Term used in saggar making. A lump of clay ready to 'mau out' into a saggar's bottom. 4 or 5 pounds in weight of saggar marl is used for a saggar's bottom. A flat D-shaped tool called a grafter was used to slice a flat piece of saggar marl from the dump, before use.

DUNNA MAYTHER Dialect. See DUNNA WEREET :)  May also have the spelling DUNNER MAYTHER or DUNNER MYTHER or DUNNER MITHER.

DUNNA WEREET Dialect. A word of advice to someone who is unjustifiably worried, suggesting them to stop it. As soon as possible! "Tinna woth eat!" (it isn't worth it)

DUNT and DUNTING Pottery body fault. See in-dunt and out-dunt. Cracks which appear in the fired pot passing completely through the body. Created by thermal stress in the body but with some underlying cause. ALSO "Cracking associated with too rapid cooling of the kiln. Putting pots on placing sand can help." Definition courtesy of Potclays Limited here> 

DUNTED Pottery body fault. Fire-cracked ware.  Latent defect due to stress created during the making process but not apparent at the time. Appears as a hairline crack, or even worse. Caused by unequal tension, often during the cooling down after the firing, the ware goes off with a bang. In the more extreme cases the article virtually splits in two. Occasionally a dunt occurs long after the manufacture of the article has been completed. Usually, however, the fault is not long in manifesting itself and generally before the ware has had time to leave the factory.  (Many thanks go to Don Parry for sending me this word, Oct 2015)

DUPLEX PAPER Material used during the process. Paper where each side is different. Usually made by laminating two sheets of paper. Duplex paper has a different finish on each side. Potters litho paper is like this to allow the litho decoration to slide off the paper after it has been soaked in water.

DUST Dialect. Meaning 'do you?'  A sentence may be started with the words 'dust ear surry?' which means 'now listen'.

DUST EAR SURRY See immediately above.

DUST PRESSING Process  The compacting of dust clay, a fine powder clay with low moisture content into a mould or 'tool.' In tile making the process was invented by the engineer Richard Prosser in 1840 and commercially exploited by Herbert Minton who in the 1840s operated the patent under licence. It became the great revolutionary breakthrough for industrial tile production. A tile press has a square metal mould with an adjustable plate at the bottom set at a certain depth for a required thickness. The cavity of the mould is completely filled with slightly moist dust clay and the surface leveled  By turning the great flywheel, the screw, with a square metal plate at its lower end, is brought down and compresses the dust clay slowly, allowing the air to escape. It is then raised slightly only to be brought down again with great force compressing the clay and forming the tile. The tile is removed from the press and then fettled to remove the thin feather-edge or burr along the edges of the tile. When dry, the tile is biscuit fired and is ready for decorating and glazing.

DYSART Material. Glaze. Wedgwood cream coloured glaze.

DYE Material used during the process. For example in sanitaryware manufacture a vegetable dye (which burns away during the firing process leaving no trace) is added to the raw tub of glaze.  Different coloured dyes are used to differentiate between different types of glaze.

DYEAD Potteries Dialect. Dead.

DYEDED Potteries Dialect. Died.


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