Tony Hansen: Potter, Software Developer, Author, Product Developer

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Tony is the owner of
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Tony is the developer of
Digitalfire Insight
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Tony's first love is pottery

My Email is tony at digitalfire.

Computer Programming, Web Development and Media

Tony Hansen is the owner of Digitalfire Corporation, the world leader in chemistry and database software used by engineers and technicians and the ceramic manufacturing world, educational institutions and the arts.

  • His Insight software has run cross-platform on Windows, Macintosh and Linux since 2005.
  • He was an early adopter of programming technologies, writing powerful database applications from scratch by the early 1980s.
  • He was an early adopter of the Linux OS and has personally managed many physical and cloud Linux servers.
  • Tony has authored websites since the dawn of the internet in 1995 (with many 1000s of pages, is the leading technical information site for traditional ceramics and is the first online database work environment for ceramic engineers).
  • Tony was an early adopter of computer graphics software on both Windows and Macintosh and was already effectively employing illustration, photo editing, desktop publishing software to self-publish software manuals and paper books and ebooks by the late 1980s (before they were being taught in universities).
  • He has been personally authoring web-based video training materials for ceramics since 2000.
  • Tony has developed extensive hands-on knowledge on internet security and how to implement it from-scratch in programming languages.
  • You will see Tony Hansen's picture on hundreds of google top-ten hits for web technology and ceramic searches.

Ceramic Technology

  • He has been perfecting and developing clay body, porcelain and glaze formulation and testing methods since the late 1970s.
  • Tony's methods, software and on-line or published reference materials are employed by technicians around the world to formulate their glazes and clay bodies.
  • He has consulted for hundreds of companies and artists world-wide on a wide range of ceramic fabrication techniques, glaze and body formulation, the application of chemistry to understanding glazes.
  • Tony's glaze and porcelain recipes are used and adjusted throughout the world.
  • His on-line 4000-page ceramic materials database is used by industry and hobbyists worldwide for practical material technical information for traditional ceramics.
  • Tony's Digitalfire Insight software has been a key tool that has enabled technicians to understand the relationship between the chemistry of glazes and their fired properties. It is deployed in many languages and is used to make everything from spark plugs to refractories, light bulbs to ceramic tile, frits and glazes to sinks and toilets, electrical insulators to fine china and tableware.
  • Tony's DOS 4Sight Ceramic Database has been used around the world to log ceramic testing results since 1990.


Since the first time he saw someone making a piece on the potters wheel, Tony Hansen has been captivated by ceramics. Since 1973 he has worked closely with Plainsman Clays, a miner and manufacturer of clay materials and bodies, where he manages the company lab and studio part time. His intensive formulation, testing and quality control work in this lab has been the primary catalyst for the development of all his ceramic related products. Tony is also an accomplished potter since the early 1970s when he was a personal student of Luke Lindoe and John Porter. He makes many types functional and decorative stoneware, porcelain and earthenware.

How Insight Software Was Born

In 1978 24-year-old Tony Hansen, the plant technician and budding potter at Plainsman Clays, began development of INSIGHT. This was shortly after the introduction of the first personal computers by companies like Altair, Apple and Tandy. The first commercial version of INSIGHT ran on the Tandy Model III and featured separate recipe and formula frames (the term 'window' was not yet conceived). He subsequently ported it to the first commonly available laptop computer, the Tandy Model 100. The IBM PC was introduced in 1982 and INSIGHT was running on it by 1983. Shortly after that he got INSIGHT running on the first Macintosh 128K. Windows and more Macintosh friendly versions followed in the early nineties. Tony Hansen continues to be the prime developer of INSIGHT. He introduced FORESIGHT in 1990 as the first fully relational recipe, ceramic calculation and physical test record keeping system, it is still used by many companies today (some have hundreds of thousands of tests in their databases). INSIGHT has been used around the world since 1980 and is the international standard by which others are measured. Full page ads for INSIGHT first appeared in Ceramics Monthly magazine in the middle 80s. The fist INSIGHT BBS went on-line in 1992 and the first website in 1995 (the year after the HTML internet was born).

Tony Hansen's Ceramic Industry Connections

Tony is well traveled in the ceramic industry and has attended and lectured at many international events. He has authored dozens of technical ceramic articles in magazines around the world, appears in many ceramic text books and has personally exhibited at many international trade shows. He has steadily built a large circle of thousands of key contacts in many organizations and sectors of the ceramic industry around the world and is well positioned to introduce web technologies that will be accepted and adopted.

He is a Dreamer!

Despite many pressures to pursue other much more profitable ventures, Tony Hansen has always stuck to his first love, ceramics. The dream has always been to create computer-based environment that would enable technicians to harness the power of glaze chemistry, maintain their life-time of records and do research; all in one place that he could easily evolve. All the years of work have come together in the culmination of this dream: His head really is 'in the clouds' in the sense that "cloud server" technology has brought it all together. The decades have required a lot of tenacity to 'hang on' until the ceramic world fully appreciates the value of ceramic chemistry and database-documented test records.

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