Cooling pots are a common household aid used in kitchens throughout Magicians' End to hold perishable items of food that benefit from low temperature storage.
Mechanics & Inner Workings
Cooling pots rely on a sympathetic seed, held in a section in the base of the pot which acts as a temperature anchor. This is typically snow or ice. The enchanting process allows the pot to act as a strong insulator and any food or liquids placed within it will be cooled to the sustained temperature of the seed. This is a magical process in which the laws of thermodynamics are suspended.
Cooling pots are thrown on a potters wheel using kaolin clay mixed with a ten percent addition of ball clay with trace elements of powdered tin and (in the finest ware) silver. A false bottom divides the interior into a small resevoir for the sympathetic seed and the main body of the pot. Potting enchantments, cast by a specialist enchanter, weave a strong arcane environmental shielding into the clay as it is spun into shape, which acts as a very strong insulator once it has been fired. After firing, the pot is glazed and may receive a secondary reflective spell reinforcement as it is decorated. Finally the pot is charged with the sympathetic seed. This can can be any kind of ice or snow, but polar snow is required for the most effective pots. The charging of a pot is the final comissioning process prior to delivery and it requires a third and different style of enchanting known as sympathetic magic. The seed will typically last for many years but it does require recharging and re-enchanting periodically, if the pot is to retain its effectiveness.
Cooling pots were first developed by the mages of the Kingdom of Snowborne and a precious few of the finest and most valuable examples of their work still survive to this day. The pots produced by the Snowborne mages were crafted in the Axial Tower and originally charged with polar snow from Zisleth. They have not been equalled in their craftsmanship and effectiveness in all the ages since. In the traditional tale of Hella and the Widow, one such pot was owned by the temple on Wheat Street in the city of Nephatar and the story of how it came to be there and what happened to it afterwards would make quite a tale in its own right, but of this we know nothing.Pots manufactured in the age of the Old Pale Empire are much more common since they were in widespread use throughout the period. The image at the head of the article is one such example from the early years of the Empire. Old Pale Empire workmanship was typically simpler with less sophisticated glazing and decoration. In the immediate aftermath of the Planar Conformation the manufacture of cooling pots ceased and conditions did not improve sufficiently to allow for their creation again until late in the Arcane Supremacy. Many interesting examples have survived from the period of the Puzzle Lords Directorate when it was popular to use simple white glaze decorated with black runic symbols.It has often been said that the ability to manufacture and distribute cooling pots is a kind of index of the level of civilisation. There were very few cooling pots produced in the age of the Long Famine or during the First Popular Ascendency but we begin to see a rise in production at the time of the Four Aerial Courts and there are many examples from the age of the Moderator's Council and the Time of Terrors, although these are generally considered to be of poor quality. Better cooling pots would not be made until the Jewelled Queendoms and modern ones, crafted with more complex geometries are still produced, primarily by the cities of the Alchemical Alliance. Nothing after the age of the Puzzle Lords Directorate interests contemporary collectors.
Cooling pots are widespread and relatively common but they are not cheap and are considered a valuable resource within any household or institution which is wealthy enough to own one. This would include most of the more affluent stratas of society but not necessarily the poorest families.