Germany / Bavaria / Waldsassen:
 : Steingutfabrik Johann Mathäus Riess (1866 until 1885)
In 1866 the former chief potter of 'C.M. Hutschenreuther' in Hohenberg Johann Mathäus Riess (born in Ottenlohe near Hohenberg) founded his own pottery in Waldsassen but died only a year later. The impressingly successful business was taken over by his son Johann Riess, who in 1875 also started producing porcelain. Over the next years, young Riess ran into more and more problems which finally forced him to sell the facility to Wilhelm Schreider from the town of Schwarzenhammer in 1884 as the facility employing 100 people at the time was nearly bankrupt. Schreider himself then sold the facility a year later.
 : Porzellanfabrik Jena, Bareuther & Co. (1885 until 1887)
The industrials Max Jena (Selb, Bavaria), Ernst Ploß (Asch, Bohemia) and Oskar Bareuther (Haslau, Bohemia) took over and after modernizations started to slowly but surely increase quality and output. Max Jena left the company in 1887, resulting in a rename of the company.
 : Porzellanfabrik Bareuther & Co. (1887 until 1904)
Bareuther and Ploß constantly improved the facility and the success they were having slowly let the workforce increase to 150 people in 1890. Further improvements and expansions followed, leading to a total of seven normal round kilns and one dedicated decoration kiln, followed by an even larger workforce as more and more skilled workers joined the company. In some areas like decoration styles, the company started to cooperate with others like the Porzellanfabrik Königszelt A.G. in Silesia, which resulted in a constant technology transfer between both companies - the best known would be the 'Indisch Blau' decoration style.
Based on the high quality standards, company reputation literally exploded. To cope with the demand, even further investments were needed to optimize the production process and these were made possible after the businessman R. Schmerler from Eger joined the company in 1902. One of the technical additions was the installation of a 130hp steam engine ordered at the 'Maschinenfabrik Heinrich Rockstroh' from the town of Marktredwitz which was delivered and installed late in 1902. In the year 1904, the official workforce count showed an impressive number of 600 employees and on September 29th 1904 the company was transformed into a corporation.
 : Porzellanfabrik Bareuther & Co. A.G. (1904 until 1969)
The next years were relatively eventless and the workforce count for 1913, like 1906, showed a number of 600 employees. By 1930 the number had increased to 700, only to drop back down to 650 in 1937. The company itself - with an impressive number of twelve large kilns - was one of the top players in the porcelain industry, setting standards in quality assurance and investment strategies, a point that should pay off later as it helped the company recover after the war.
During the second world war, the facility was nearly completely destroyed and the former impressive workforce was shattered. Even if the facility was a ruin, its board of directors was completely functional and after the war one of the first steps was to contact the former workers of the 'Porzellanfabrik Königszelt A.G.' who were practically homeless as the former Silesia had been declared Polish territory and all remaining Germans were forced to leave.
Needless to say, it only took a short time for the word to spread and most workers found a new job at 'Bareuther & Co.' - it was time to restart. With enormous financial effort completely covered by company funds, the combined workforce started providing housing possibilities for the refugees and then started to rebuild the facility - it was one of the first large facilities to be fully operational in 1949 and already having a workforce of 417 people. It should be noted here that in commemoration of the long-time cooperation and the events after the war, the company created the factory mark 'Königszelt Bayern' (Königszelt Bavaria) in the year 1979.
First items had been produced again from 1947 onwards, but these were only cheap and basic products to cover the demand in shattered Germany. As one of the first regulars back in the market, the company slowly increased its product range and soon one the largest manufacturers in Germany again, especially during 1955 and 1965. Constantly expanding, the company merged with the Gareis, Kühnl & Cie. on July 1st 1969. This merger resulted in a total workforce of a thousand employees and a name change, proudly hinting that it was now the only company in Waldsassen.
 : Porzellanfabrik Waldsassen Bareuther & Co. A.G. (1969 until 1994)
After the merger, the company increased their position on the market, soon to be revarded by reaching rank number six of all German porcelain manufacturers. But its proud years slowly passed and especially from 1990 onwards the competition from low-wage countries started to take its toll and finally led to more and more dismissals. The company had to file for bankruptcy in 1994 and was erased from the trade register 1996. After the closure various attempts to sell the facility failed mainly because of the enormous amount of money needed for decontamination of the polluted soil, a result of the many chemicals used in porcelain production. In the year 2002 the state of Bavaria itself had to stand up for the process as the contaminated areas were endangering the ground water supply; demolition of the abandoned factory started in 2006, making room for a shopping center.
In September 2009 I was able to answer an interesting question thanks to Mr. Manfred Blieske as people had asked who actually made all the Bareuther Christmas plates and similar editions after the factory closed. Until 2004 they were made by the 'SKV-Porzellan-Union' (a group formed by the Porzellanfabrik Schirnding, J. Kronester and Seltmann Vohenstrauß) in Schirnding, since 2004 that company runs under the name 'SKV-Arzberg-Porzellan GmbH'. The marks used however can be pretty confusing, the 2009 Christmas plate for example has the Bareuther '125 years' anniversary mark from 1991 on the box.
(Picture by Debbie Tietze)
(Picture by Fran Kerbs)
(Picture by Jeanna Grace)
(Picture by Fran Kerbs)
(Picture by Fran Kerbs)
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