At the dawn of the 19th century, while England was at the epicentre of a booming industrial revolution, an invisible threat loomed over its booming cities. The development of transport and sewage networks brought with it the promise of progress, but also an unforeseen scourge: viral and bacteriological epidemics. Cholera and typhoid fever were spreading. 

It was against this backdrop that the potter John Doulton and his son Henri made history. Their invention? A gravitational water filtration system, ingeniously constructed from ceramic tubes and charcoal. They used powdered charcoal, a purifying substance already known to the Romans. The effectiveness of their invention was proven. Tap water became drinkable again when filtered by their system. Demand for their filters soared, and in 1861 Queen Victoria herself ordered Doulton® water filter sets for Westminster.

In 1862, Henry Doulton, John's son, improved on the invention by creating superimposed blocks of coal, screwed to the bottom of a sandstone basket, which he patented.

Now that the epidemics were over, the industrial revolution could finally take place. In 1887, Henri Doulton became the first English potter to be knighted: for his contributions to public health. 

In 1905, the company introduced the porous porcelain tube or water filter candle, which found a lasting place in hospitals and laboratories around the world.

During the Second World War, Doulton® supplied water filters for ships and allied forces abroad.

Today, the Doulton® legacy lives on. Most NGOs in the field are equipped with British Berkefeld® systems and millions of people in 142 countries around the world are drinking water that is free from the majority of pollutants and an increasing number of contaminants, thanks to Doulton® & British Berkefeld® filtration systems. The filters and systems, still made by hand in the Staffordshire factory in England, are living testimony to a bold vision that has quietly helped to change the course of history several times over, and is keeping more and more people healthy today.

The story of Doulton® & British Bekerfeld® is an epic of determination, innovation and service to humanity, reminding us that even in the midst of the darkness of epidemics, wars and increasing pollution: creativity, innovation and human values can make a light shine.

It was this humanist story, along with the social and environmental values of this company and its products - certified by independent institutions - that convinced Swiss Aqua Filter of the importance of finally giving Swiss people access to these Doulton® and British Berkefeld® water filtration solutions.

Discover the values of Swiss Aqua Filter