PM&M / Germany / Thuringia :

Könitz

[1] : Könitzer Porzellanfabrik Metzel & Rödel (1909 until 1912)

The factory was founded by the brothers Richard and Max Metzel together with their partner Rödel and soon included four kilns that were all tested and fully operational in 1910 which allowed the company to directly start production on cups, mugs and bowls as well as tea and coffee set which were mainly for export especially to England.

[2] : Könitzer Porzellanfabrik Gebrüder Metzel (1912 until 1950)

Due to the quality and contacts the Metzel brothers had, demand increased very fast and during 1912 the factory already had to expand, but an argument arose on how to continue and Rödel left the company. Soon afterwards two additional kilns were installed and the expansion resulted in an increase in employees; the company employed 300 people in 1913. During the following years, the company slightly changed its concept and also produced miniature sets for children; items with the 'Zwiebelmuster' (Blue Onion) decoration were introduced 1930. The factory offered work for 310 people in 1937 and this number remained relatively constant over the war years as the company kept up production and simply exported to other countries. After the war the company at first continued normally, but 1948 it was taken over by a trustee.

[3] : (Sowjetische A.G.) Keramische Werke Hermsdorf (1950 until 1954)

In 1950 the company was through expropriation integrated into the Sowjetische A.G. Keramische Werke Hermsdorf, a corporation owned and run by the Soviet occupation forces. The Könitz factory was retooled to produce industrial porcelain and insulators for which the main factory in Hermsdorf was famous (brand names 'HESCHO' and 'TRI-DELTA'). After the reparations had fallen away, the factory was nationalized in 1951 but remained part of the Hermsdorfer Werke until 1954.

[4] : V.E.B. Porzellanwerke Könitz (1954 until 1962)

From 1954 onwards, the factory concentrated on producing tableware again and during the next few years the factory mainly produced mugs for export and later managed to acquire a few impressive contracts with customers in Switzerland.

[5] : V.E.B. Vereinigte Porzellanwerke Kahla - Könitz, Kombinat Feinkeramik (1962 until 1992)

In the year 1962 the factory was put under supervision through the Kahla factory, resulting in the V.E.B. Vereinigte Porzellanwerke Kahla - Könitz, Kombinat Feinkeramik group which from 1964 onwards also included the ⇒Probstzella factory which had been under the management of the V.E.B. Könitz for a short time. The Könitz factory was put under enormous pressure as to keep up with demand and like many other East German companies it was run flat out - until something really broke. The result was constantly malfunctioning machinery and finally a complete modernization was started between 1984 and 1986; the same period also saw the factory receiving new managers that started to restructure the product range.

[6] : Könitz Porzellan G.m.b.H. (1992 until ...)

The situation during and after German re-unification was serious, especially as the main production area was destroyed by a fire that resulted from repairs taking place in 1990. From 1992 the factory was managed by the German ⇒Treuhandanstalt which at first split the grouping into single firms again, resulting in the new factory name. During this period the factory created a completely new product range and products were successfully sold to Holland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Austria and the USA.

On December 21st 1993 the business was taken over by Turpin Rosenthal, a member of the well-known Rosenthal family. Under his management the factory was re-structured and specialized on the production of cups and mugs. But the conversion became more expensive than planned and in 1995 the firm nearly went bankrupt, resulting in a total of 96 from 105 workers becoming redundant. These drastic measures worked however and some workers could be re-employed during 1996. The recovery process itself was short and already in November 2000 the company acquired shares of the Wiedemann printing company in Saalfeld.

The greatest step however was the founding of a Thai subsidiary and since 2001 'Konitz Asia' successfully serves the market for Asia, America and Canada. This enabled the Könitz factory to concentrate on the european market and during 2002 they launched a new brand for special products named 'Coffee Bar by Könitz' which became quite successful. The factory employed over 250 workers in 2003 and slowly advanced to become one of the largest manufacturers of coffee and cocoa mugs plus related items, mainly because they covered the former mid-range between household- and restaurant-ware needed in offices, coffee bars, canteens and in-shop restaurants. In May 2007 the management announced expansion plans that included a new production factory, an investment of 4.3 million Euro that created twenty new fulltime jobs in addition to eight training opportunities.

Marks

koenitz-01-01
Image 2-01
Used between 1909 and 1945.
koenitz-01-02
Image 2-02
Used between 1909 and 1945.
koenitz-01-03
Image 2-03
Used between 1909 and 1945.
koenitz-01-04
Image 2-04
Used between 1909 and 1945, here a nice example in red.
koenitz-01-05
Image 4-05
Used between around 1954 and 1962, red version, 'OPK' stands for 'Ostthüringer Porzellanwerke Könitz'.
koenitz-01-06
Image 4-06
Used between around 1954 and 1962, green version.
koenitz-01-07
Image 4-07
Used between around 1954 and 1962, green over or under glaze.
koenitz-01-08
Image 4-08
Very interesting version with 'GERMANY' instead of 'GDR'.
koenitz-01-09
Image 5-09
Used after 1962, note that it shows 'MADE IN GERMANY', not 'GDR'. The bottom word is 'KOBALTUNTERGLASUR' (cobalt underglaze).
koenitz-01-10
Image 5-10
Used between 1964 and 1968. Here without a country of origin addition. Some are found with an additional 'MADE IN GDR' ...
koenitz-01-11
Image 5-11
... or 'PRODUCT OF GDR' in cyrillic placed underneath.
(Picture by Ivan Golsky)
koenitz-01-12
Image 6-12
Used from 1990 onwards.

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