In the 1950s, as a consequence of long traditions of technological and artistic development, ceramics were still seen as distinctive products of individual industries. Heavy clays (for building), steelplant refractories (for reaction containment at high temperature), glass, pottery and porcelain, each had its separate culture. Such were the uncertainties of manufacture that each also had its body of folklore. At the same time, progress in solid-state chemistry and physics (notably in the work at Philips, Eindhoven, on the ceramic magnets, the spinels) was showing the dramatic potential for the application of ceramic materials to sectors outside the traditional industries.
Kingery's guiding theme was that ceramics should be seen as a class of materials with common and controllable attributes rather than as the products of isolated and idiosyncratic cultures. He advanced this theme with a compelling mixture of conviction, logic and evidence (largely from his own research). The resulting change in the subject has been radical and permanent, pervading all subsequent developments from ceramic engine components to high-temperature superconductors. 2b1af7f3a8