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Previous Articles 1

Below are selected articles published on this site between
April & December 2008. We hope you will find some of interest.

Articles here have been moved from the Recent Articles & Announcements page and are in reverse chronological order.

Friday 5 December 2008
Carping on!
Carp bowl   Carp ginger jar   
Carp hexagonal temple jar   
These three different variants of the relatively unusual, early Carp pattern appeared for sale on eBay last week.  Like buses, they came at the same time!

All were introduced in the early 1920s and are good examples of the skilful underglaze printing and painting in which Carlton Ware excelled.  All were then reprinted in gold, which was always perfectly aligned with the underglaze print, unlike, as has been pointed out, some of the Wedgwood Fairyland lustres!

The bowl has a Powder Blue ground and the ginger jar, which is missing its lid, a white ground finished with a Lemon Lustre; this is probably part of the ARMAND LUSTRE range, although in this instance it is not marked as such.  The hexagonal temple jar uses a rarely seen Powder Pink ground.

Shape & pattern number printed mark
It is interesting to note that all three examples employ the printed mark shown on the right.  This mark appears to have been used in the 1920s on selected patterns.  The space for the shape number is usually left blank, as here.  DECO is an abbreviation for decoration, or pattern number, which in this case is for the Lemon Lustre variant.

FISH & SEAWEED Coral tray

Carp is sometimes confused with the FISH & SEAWEED pattern, which is shown on the left.  This is a  later decoration and is much less elaborate. Here, it used on a CORAL tray from the 1950s.

RIVER FISH detail   

The RIVER FISH pattern, shown here, number 3971, is sometimes erroneously called Carp.  This particularly stunning pattern, by Violet Elmer, was introduced in the 1930s. 

Notice that the pictures show three different fish. They are, however, all the same pattern.  This can be confusing but is is explained by knowing that the copper plate onto which the pattern was engraved to produce prints included all three fish. Which fish used depended on the size and shape of the item to be decorated. The background shadows and river floor are freehand painted, so will have big variations depending on the whim of the paintress.

Note -
Carlton Ware World adopts the naming convention devised by The Pettit & Cochrane Archive, whereby factory given pattern names are printed in bold UPPERCASE. Pattern names in bold Lowercase have been given by a long standing naming committee to assist identification. We thank them for their care and thought in disseminating fitting names, which are now in general use.
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Thursday 4 December 2008
Our Chairman, Harvey Pettit, remembers the 1980s

Whatever NEXT!
Next NEW POPPY & DAISY bowl Next Interiors backstamp   
During the 1980s, I was a specialist dealer in Art Deco ceramics, trading from Antiquarius, an Antiques Centre in London's Kings Road.  At this time, pottery from the interwar period was beginning to be rediscovered and it was clear that Carlton Ware produced some of the very best.
 Next NEW POPPY & DAISY vase

One of my customers was Tricia Guild, who ran the nearby Designers Guild, which she had started in 1970.  Tricia was a collector of some of Carlton's floral embossed wares and one of her favourites was the POPPY & DAISY range. Her exclusive Chelsea shop specialised in fabrics, wallpapers and other fine things for the home.  Miss Guild became a consultant for the retail chain Next, when, in 1985, it expanded into home furnishings. Tricia asked Carlton Ware if it could reproduce some of the POPPY & DAISY range for the rapidly expanding company and the bowl and vase above and on the right were the result. 
POPPY & DAISY bowl POPPY & DAISY vase   
The original moulds had been destroyed, so the shapes were remodelled from original examples that Miss Guild provided.
These, shown on the left, illustrate the differences. Fewer colours were used to decorate NEW POPPY & DAISY, as we now call it, and the modelling is less detailed, more evident on the bowl.
Carlton Ware made other bowls and vases for Next Interiors, some with contemporary decorations, others with Paisley designs devised by Miss Guild. More on this another time. 
© Harvey Pettit 2008
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Saturday 29 November 2008
When Will Domination End?

Blair & Bush pray!
Because there have been so many recently, fakes have  dominated our Latest News page.

They do not raise a smile like this fake photograph of Bush and Blair, though we do pray they will cease!

By publicizing them here on our most-looked-at page, we boost awareness and this resulted in an increasing number of sellers withdrawing fakes from sale.

The following fake Carlton Ware was removed from eBay this week, though many more remain.

Fake Bassett's moneybox Fake Bassett's Walking Ware teapot
On the right, the fake Carlton Ware Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts money box and Walking Ware teapot were withdrawn from sale after the seller discovered they were deceitful items.

Previously, we told you of other fake Bassett's items to which these must be added. Carlton did not make ware for Bassett's.

Fake Guinness oval platter
The oval plate on the left is another obvious example of counterfeit Guinness ware.
Its fake backstamp, a copy of an original mark, is shown in the inset - apologies for it being blurred - it reads

Produced in Great Britain for Arthur Guinness Son & Co (Park Royal) Ltd. by Carlton Ware Ltd., Stoke-on-Trent.

We have added this to the our Rogues Gallery of similarly decorated items, which you can view by clicking here.

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Saturday 29 November 2008
Receivership for Carlton Ware's Neighbour
Spode's Church Street Works
Sadly, earlier this month Spode went into administration.

The pottery, which is based in Church Street, Stoke, was established in 1770 and is very close to Carlton Ware's Copeland Street works.

Between 1867 and 1970 the company traded under the name of W T Copeland & Sons, reverting to Spode on the bicentenary of the formation of the pottery. Clearly, Copeland Street takes its name from this famous family of potters.
Carlton Ware's polychrome WILLOW
Spode is renowned for its blue and white Willow Pattern developed by Josiah Spode in about 1790, versions of which were adopted by many potteries.

On the right is one of Carlton Ware's earliest takes on this famous pattern from c.1912.

Most unusually and innovatively, it is decorated in many colours, as opposed to blue and white, though Carlton did this too, as well as printing the pattern in gold against its powder blue ground, often adding coloured raised enamels.

Biscuit barrel with sprigged reliefs
Carlton and Spode may have had a close affinity with their sprigged ware.  A Carlton example is shown on the left.  Back in the Summer of 1999 The Carlton Times Volume 20 had an interesting article titled The Origins of Carlton Sprigged Ware. This was, in the main, written by Angela Dixon and Helen Martin. Following conversations with Pam Wolliscroft, then Assistant Curator of the Spode Museum, it is thought that some of Carlton's sprigged ware could have been made from moulds sold off by the Spode factory.

A series of Carlton Times articles are soon to be published here on the Carlton Ware World website, so do keep your eyes peeled for these.

Spode's bottle kilns, long demolished
Spode merged with Royal Worcester in 2006. Receivers, PricewaterhouseCoopers said:-

The inability to complete the proposed sale of a site of strategic importance in Stoke and the effect of the current economic downturn on sales has led to the decision by the directors of Royal Worcester & Spode to place the company into administration.
Our immediate priority now is to review all options for the company and immediately seek a buyer for the business

The picture above shows bottle kilns at the Spode works c.1900-1930, long demolished, as were those at Carlton Ware's Copeland Street works. Price Waterhouse, now PricewaterhouseCoopers, were appointed to sell Carlton Ware in 1989.

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Friday 14 November 2008
Is this a rare pattern variant?
Unfinished ORCHARD covered vase
The majority of Carlton Ware patterns were produced with different background colours, each being allocated its unique pattern number.  Sometimes an apparent rare ground colour turns up, as on the covered vase on the left decorated with the ORCHARD pattern, which was introduced in the 1920s.

All is not as it seems because the decoration is incomplete. We know this because the pattern number on the base is 2885, which should have a dark blue ground finished with a mother-of-pearl lustre. Some of the fruits should also be painted with an orange lustre as on the plate below.

This begs the question why is it unfinished? During production a pot will go through many processes.  If any of these go wrong then it has to be rejected.

The seller tells us that there are minor pinpricks. These will have appeared after the clear glaze was fired, and this is likely to be the reason for the remaining decorations to be halted, as well as some unacceptable flow from the black printing, clearly visible in the picture. The unfinished item would then be sold off as a second.

These unfinished items are very good at illustrating the stages of decoration. In this case the pattern has been printed on biscuit, part underglaze painted and then glazed. Subsequent on-glaze decorations of the ground colour, orange lustre and mother-of-pearl lustre were not carried out.

The finished pattern should be appear as that on the plate above right.  © Harvey Pettit 2008

Information on pattern decoration provided by The Cochrane & Pettit Archive of Carlton Ware.

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Sunday 26 October 2008
Watch the Birdie!
Kingfisher flower frogs

When a kingfisher is a frog!

This delightful picture of Carlton Ware Kingfisher bowl centres was sent to us by David and Veronica Mc Intosh and shows some of their collection of these charming birds.

Curiously, they are also called flower frogs. Carlton Ware made numerous types from a simple dome shape to these fancy birds and even oriental bridges. These were just perfect when placed in the centre of one of the many bowls that were produced at Copeland Street. Flower frogs were particularly popular in the 1920s, from when David and Veronica's special aviary dates.

If you would like to learn more about flower frogs in general then you might like to look at The Flower Frog Gazette, a website devoted to these curiosities, by clicking here.

If you have a picture you would like us to show then send it to us by

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Friday 17 October 2008
Lovely Rita
RITA coffee cup & saucer

Whilst visiting the china section of a department store, Sara and John Broom took a double take. Were their eyes deceiving them when they spotted a Carlton Ware RITA coffee cup and saucer for sale in the Wedgwood section?

No, they were not. Wedgwood is now selling their version of this elegant shape, which Carlton Ware introduced in the 1930s. With even more coincidence, is the use of a very similar decoration, as you can see in the picture below.

Wedgwood cup & saucer
Had the ghost of Josiah Wedgwood spotted the Carlton Ware RITA shape on display, whilst we used his sitting room at our AGM & Get-together earlier this month, and communicated his approval to today's the Wedgwood designers? Has anyone got a Ouija board? One knock  for yes, two for no!

There are differences of course. The Wedgwood  version uses a printed decoration, whilst the earlier Carlton Ware employs raised enameling for the polka dot effect.
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Tuesday 14 October 2008
Read all about it in The Sentinel
Article from The Sentinel

Phil Radcliffe and Katie Cooksey visited us at the The Moat House Hotel to report on
our AGM and Get-together so that they could feature the event in the local daily newspaper, The Sentinel.

If you would like to read it then click here.

The article is shown with kind permission of the News Desk.

If you would like to read an account of the weekend written by Helen Martin, click here.

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Friday 26 Sept 2008
Bover Boots
'Walking Ware' by an unknown maker

Julia Michell
, author of the recently published Walking Ware, a Collectors Guide, alerted us to this cereal bowl and eggcup, presently for sale on eBay.

Although these items are not by Carlton Ware and not fraudulently marked Carlton Ware, we thought you might like to see them, for perhaps it is just a matter of time before they are sold as such.

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Thursday 25 Sept 2008
The Shelley Girl advertising figure.
Shelley Group Alliance.

More Carlton Ware is faked than any other pottery, probably because of the vast range of wares produced. Gerry Pearce, chairman of the Shelley Group, the club for collectors of Shelley pottery, contacted us this week to express his concern about the increasing number of Shelley fakes being made, and wondered if they came from the same source as ours. Certainly, some have a similar 'feel'.

Between us we will work towards exposing the culprit/s. The picture on the right shows an original Shelley advertising figure from the 1920s. 
To view the Shelley Group's site, click on the picture.
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eBay watch
Monday 15 September 2008
Facing up to the evidence

Hand Mirror 1   Hand Mirror 2   Hand Mirror 3
Every now and then something very unusual turns up, although in this instance the item is not backstamped Carlton Ware. This time it is a hand mirror in the form a face. Shape records tell us that such a mirror was made at Copeland Street, and the drawing of it from the shape book is shown above with pictures of the front and back of the mirror.

Hand Mirror 1
As you can see from the close-up on the right, the handle, cleverly in the form of the ladies lower arm, is stamped Foreign, which implies that it is likely to be continental, even though it is almost identical to Carlton Ware's drawing. If so, the body will be different and likely to be porcelain and indeed the seller describes it as such. The feint characteristic crazing found on earthenware is not evident here.

Face masks, on which this is a take, were more often produced by the continental potteries, such as Goldscheider, Goebels, Robj and, in particular, Czechoslovakian makers and I suggest that this is the origin of the hand mirror and that Carlton Ware copied it, despite Cuthbert Wiltshaw priding himself that Carlton Ware did not copy others.

To date, I have not seen a Carlton Ware example of this archetypical Art Deco design, possibly because none were marked, unless this is concealed by the mirror. Who is going to ask the vendor to prise off the mirror to check?!

I do stand to be proved wrong in these thoughts, so if you can, or would like to comment, contact me by Or, if you have a example of the mirror, whether by Carlton Ware or not, do send us a picture. Harvey Pettit. © Copyright 2008.

The mirror sold for £276, including p&p.
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Monday 8 September 2008
Ian & Jerome's Newsletter Number 42, from Canada.

Extra Extra

Ian and Jerome's newsletter number 42 features shapes and shows many fine pictures. RIBBED STONEWARE animals are also discussed, as is Blushware and a newly discovered Carlton China pattern. 

To view this edition click here. We have made the file size (400Kb) as small as possible for you, without any loss in quality.
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Friday 22 August 2008
Granddad's collection?

Granddad tells a story

Jane from Perth in Western Australia writes

I love your site - I'm very new to Carlton Ware and I was trying to get a good piece for a friend. In my search I enquired about a Guinness Ostrich.

This happened to be the fake we wrote about below. Jane wrote to the seller asking if was genuine. He replied.

"Yes I believe its genuine but I am no expert.
My granddad collected them".

Here at Carlton Towers we've noticed that granddad or grandma are often quoted as the source of items on eBay. By doing so, a vendor implies that the item for sale is old and possibly very old. The grandparent, however, could have bought it last week. Also, grandparents these days can be much younger than their title implies, so be wary of these statements.

It is curious that this vendor also offers a set of flying toucans with no reserve, when an original set has just sold for £980.

Jane continues,

Did you know that you can report counterfeit merchandise to eBay and quite often they will remove the offending article if you can give good enough reason for them to believe that it is counterfeit. I have reported many sellers of counterfeit fashion merchandise and eBay has removed many of the listings which were for fake goods. Just a thought. And if these fake articles get reported often enough maybe they will get a bit discouraged.

Original ostrich Fake ostrich

A Guinness Ostrich caught Jane's eye. The seller of an original bird sent us the picture on the right. 

Compare it with the fake shown far right.
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eBay watch
Sunday 10 August 2008
The Cat & the Rat

RIBBED STONEWARE cat ashtray 1 RIBBED STONEWARE cat ashtray 2

Derek, Jane and Douglas all spotted this unusual Carlton Ware cat ashtray on eBay in August 2008. It is part of the large range of RIBBED STONEWARE which was introduced in the 1930s. Other animals were also made including a rat, surely for the entertainment of the cat here, although the rodent was twice as big, so it may have struggled! ❑

Unusual floral embossed ANEMONE preserve pot

ANEMONE preserve pot - green ANEMONE preserve pot - yellow
We thought that you might like see the Floral Embossed ANEMONE preserve pot that was sold on eBay in August 2008.

It was made in the early 1930s and is decorated with an unusual green ground, as opposed to the more typical yellow, which is shown alongside.

This small green pot fetched £109 including p&p.  ❑
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Friday 8 August 2008
Scout Movement

Hassall Boy Scout articulated figure 1

We were contacted by a seller on eBay to comment on the amusing John Hassall figure shown left.

Carlton Ware made a number of articulated figures by the famous illustrator and although this model is not backstamped, other than with a registered number from 1912, it is likely to be one of them.
Hassall Boy Scout articulated figure 2

The figure carries a facsimile Hassall signature. The scout should be holding a staff - you can see a small hole in the base beneath his right hand where this was located. It passed up though the hand to about eye level.  This was probably made from copper wire covered in slip.
If so, it would have been fragile and easily damaged, although the purpose of the wire was to give it strength. The walking stick of a Carlton Ware figure of Charlie Chaplin, made  at a similar time, was formed in this way.

In August 2008, the Boy Scout sold on eBay for £102, including p&p. 
© Harvey Pettit 2008. ❑  

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Friday 1 August 2008
Is pottery radioactive?

Radioactive cartoon

Club members Derek and Jane Towns, who also run have passed on the following enquiry from Mike in the USA, who writes:-

Did Carlton ever use uranium or uranium compounds in any of its products? I am concerned, because a friend asked me to store (at my residence) several boxes of fairly old Carlton china, yet I understand that the practice of using uranium compounds used to be fairly common in the ceramics industry. I would appreciate any information that you can give me.

I guess your concern, Mike, is about radioactivity.  I cannot say with certainty that Carlton Ware contains uranium. If so, it is most likely to have been a constituent of certain colours, glazes or lustres.  Recipes for these were closely guarded secrets and no formulae survive relating directly to Carlton Ware.

Glazes and lustres, usually contain metallic compounds such as uranium oxide, which is radioactive. The dangers associated with this are through ingestion that can occur when pots come into direct contact with food and the low levels of radioactivity leech out into food, as can lead, which was commonly used. This is why lead ceased to be allowed in glazes.

To put this into perspective, concrete, glass and other materials such as polythene sheets, plastic gloves and paper can have low levels of radiation. (Source - United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority - UKAEA)

Eating the pottery itself is inadvisable, though this is likely to be unpalatable and hard on the teeth, as well as the digestive system! Stick to more usual forms of roughage in your diet!

The dangers associated with the use of radioactive materials were greatest during the manufacturing process with the handling of the raw ingredients, which were usually a dust. Current regulations permit glazes containing up to 20% by weight of uranium, though not for food containers and dinnerware.

Couple with geiger counter
To view extracts from various authoritative articles on the subject with relation to ceramics, which you will see is complex,  click here.

Does anyone have a Geiger counter to test ware, and perhaps the breakfast cereal?

Thanks to Terry, our membership secretary, who is a Metallurgist, for checking this article.   © Harvey Pettit 2008. ❑
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Sunday 6 July 2008
Violet Elmer

Article on Carton Ware's talented designer

Collect it! magazine cover
In their last Newsletter, now available from Carlton Ware World, club members Ian Harwood and Jerome Wilson, from Canada, published an excellent article on Carlton Ware designer Violet Elmer. This was written by collectors Barry and Elaine Girling.

Harvey Pettit (our chairman) and Peter Cochrane interviewed Miss Elmer at length during the early 1980s for The Cochrane and Pettit Archive of Carlton Ware.  Harvey tells us that Barrie and Elaine's article is well researched and, to date, provides the most accurate published information on her life, so is highly recommended. The article is based on interviews with her surviving friends and family, conducted over a lengthy period.

The authors have just had their work printed in the supplement to this month's Collect it! magazine, published here in the UK and which sells for £3.25.  Printed over three pages, it shows many pictures of the talented designers work for our favourite pottery. Overseas readers might like to visit the magazines website by clicking here.

You can also read a version of this article by downloading it from our newly posted page, Ian & Jerome's Newsletters, from the menu on the left. The article is in Newsletter 40. ❑
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Monday 28 July 2008
Tiffany loses legal battle with eBay over counterfeit goods

EBay has just scored a major court victory when a US federal judge ruled that Tiffany & Co had failed to prove the online auctioneer was responsible for the sale of fake Tiffany jewellery on its site. In court, Tiffany described eBay as a "proverbial rat's nest" of fake goods. (Here at Carlton Towers we know what they mean!)

The judgement differs from that of the French Courts, who ruled against Ebay in a battle with LVMH for failing to prevent the sale of fake perfume, bags and designer goods, and imposed $30 million compensation for the luxury goods maker.

To read a report from the Antiques Trade Gazette on the four year case click here. ❑

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Friday 4 July 2008
EBay ordered to pay £30 million over fakes.

Cartoon of money

It's not just us plagued by fakes. Last month we reported on eBay having to pay luxury goods maker Hermes 20,000 euros over fakes.  Now, a French court has ordered eBay to pay £30 million to luxury goods group LVMH for allowing the sale of fake merchandise.

If you would like to read more, click on your preferred source.

The Independent    FT
The Guardian         Daily Mail

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Thursday 19 June 2008
New pattern discovered!

Our Scottish members might be interested to learn of a previous unknown variant of the New Mikado pattern. This week, a Norfolk action house lists a pair of covered vases in the New Mackardo pattern. We believe that the oriental characters in this rare version are clothed in tartan from the Mackardo clan! ❑
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Carlton Ware Chimney Collapses in Earthquake.

The chimney
Linda Dobson, who was warehouse manageress at Copeland Street, called on the morning of the recent earthquake to tell us that a neighbour had 'phoned her to say that the Carlton Ware chimney had collapsed.

This was largest earthquake to hit Britain for almost quarter of a century and was felt across large parts of England. Its epicentre was 15 miles north of Lincoln, not far from Stoke.

Linda rushed down to the works so that she could let us know the extent of the damage. The chimney is a local landmark and always a joy to see when we visit the Potteries, so we were all most anxious to hear of its state.
Chimney stacks
Linda was able to tell us that although the chimney had come down and crashed through the roof, causing damage and evacuation of the building, it was not the chimney that we all know and love. The ex-works has one other chimney stack and it was this and its pots that had fallen. You can see it to the right in the adjacent picture. It was this stack that served the fireplace in Cuthbert Wiltshaw's office on the first floor.  Thankfully too, no one was hurt.

In order to see the damage I travelled to Stoke with Helen, by which time scaffolding had been erected and repairs made.  What a relief to know this historic building, which was built as a pottery in 1863, suffered only a relatively small amount of damage. 

Notice that although the chimney stack has been repaired, the three chimney pots have not been replaced.

Helen, Harvey & Linda

And so all's well that ends well. After an excellent lunch provided by Linda, we made our ways home. On the right, we see Helen, Harvey and Linda by the lodge gates and two of the aforementioned chimney pots! It is through these gates that all of our pots will have passed, on their way to the many retailers, who sold Carlton Ware here in the UK and all over the world.  ❑ Harvey

Sunday 20 April 2008
Walking Ware, a Collectors Guide

Walking Ware book
Walking Ware Publications is pleased to announce that Walking Ware, a Collectors Guide, by Julia Michell is now available.

This paperback  is a complete guide to Walking Ware made over the last 34 years. It has a full colour design list showing all the Walking Ware items so far, carefully photographed for easy identification and accompanied by articles on the designers, the history of the design, full record of all the backstamps, dates, sizes, colourways and hints on identification.

The new book is a must for any collector of Walking Ware. Roger Michell, who with Danka Napiorkowska, was responsible for Walking Ware comments:-

"I am delighted by how complete this guide is, a truly comprehensive and professional work. If you want to know more about Walking Ware then you couldn't do better than this."

What better endorsement of a publication can there be? To order your copy please contact Julia, the author, directly by clicking here.

The price, including postage and packing, is £14.98. A DVD of interviews with the designers, by Rick Films is also available for £8. Highly recommended.❑

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