Porzellanmanufaktur Händel (195? until 197?)
The Porzellanmanufaktur Händel was located at the street address 'Am Röhricht 11' in Schwarzenbach and its year of founding as well as its year of closure are unknown, meaning that we can only use a rough dating; something between the mid-1950s until the end of the 1970s. Their business model would explain why this company was not listed in the common mark reference books: next to purchasing whiteware from various manufacturers, which was then decorated and sold under their own brand, the company also decorated items for various well-known manufacturers. Per definition, they were neither a manufacturer nor a true decoration studio, rather something like a 'service provider'.
So far, the following list of manufacturers sold blanks to Händel; it is backed by various examples on which the original manufacturer mark is still visible or at least recognizable:
- Fürstenberg (Fürstenberg)
- Lorenz Hutschenreuther (Selb)
- Kaiser (Staffelstein)
- Bareuther (Waldsassen)
- Jaeger (Marktredwitz)
- Retsch & Co. (Wunsiedel)
- Rosenthal (Selb)
- Johann Seltmann (Vohenstrauß)
- Christian Seltmann (Weiden)
- Gebrüder Winterling (Kirchenlamitz)
- Heinrich Winterling (Marktleuthen)
- Zeh, Scherzer & Co. (Rehau)
- Zehendner (Tirschenreuth)
Their secondary source of income, the decoration of items for well-known manufacturers, may be seen as a touchy subject as some customers probably were not amused when they per coincidence found out that some of their (relatively) expensive items were not 'manufacturer-decorated'. However, one should hold in mind that the quality standards for external decorations were often much higher than those applied to regular in-house jobs.
Far more interesting is the whole structure behind the whole production and delivery business as the paperwork must have been murderous, especially when one thinks about the fact that the whole company only employed around 50 people during the 1960s. Next to having regular batches of items made for different manufacturers - which all had to be somehow delivered, with according freight papers, either per trucks or via rail - Händel sold many of their items via the Karstadt company (from Essen in North-Rhine Westphalia) as well as some of the largest mail-order companies in Germany. Unlike other companies however, they did not simply provide large supplies of goods for each of these companies, but rather took care of each individual order by themselves.
Meaning that people ordering a tea set or such from any of the mail-order companies actually received the product(s) directly from Händel. Neutral packaging and matching paperwork ensured that no customer noticed that the delivery had not been processed by the mail-order business he had contacted. Which was quite impressive at that time, something we all too easily forget in the computer age.
It can be assumed that Händel's greatest asset was also its greatest weakness: due to its close relationship with the mail-order companies, the company had not managed to make itself an own name outside the mail-order business with its highly specific customer world. The German market was changing, however, away from department stores that offered numerous goods from various smaller manufacturers to stores with large, specialized departments dominated by the brands of large manufacturers.
At the same time, exactly those manufacturers (WMF, Rosenthal Studio, etc.) started to open their own specialized metal-, porcelain- or glassware shops where no department stores were available. Eventually, these brands influenced the appearance of shopping areas in every town or city. Anyway: towards the end of the 1970s, the largest part of the classic mail-order market started to collapse and often took smaller manufacturers with it.
The sudden disappearance of Händel during that time may be a result of these market changes, that however is merely a guess.
The stand-alone marks (used on items that were unmarked by the manufacturer) were used during the whole period of operation. Manufacturer-marked items come in two versions: 'transparent' marks (which merely obscured the original manufacturer mark) are normally claimed to be the older versions. Complete ⇒cover-up marks were introduced later (due to changed laws regarding (re)decorated items), but that does not help as nobody knows when exactly the company decided to completely hide manufacturer marks.
I would like to thank Karlheinz Völkel and the Porzellanikon (www.porzellanstrasse.de) for providing information.
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