Lorraine / Saargemünd (today Sarreguemines):
At the time of the French defeat of 1871 the German-speaking parts of the département of Meurthe and of the département of Moselle were merged to build one of the three districts of the Elsass-Lothringia Reichsland, the district (German: 'Bezirk') of Lothringen with capital Metz and the eight counties (German: 'Kreise') Bolchen, Chateau-Salins, Diedenhofen, Forbach, Metz-Stadt, Metz-Land, Saarburg and Saargemünd. The remaining French-speaking parts of the départements of Meurthe and of Moselle were linked together and became what is still the present département of Meurthe-et-Moselle.
 : Nicolas-Henri Jacobi (1790 until 1800)
Production started in 1790 when Nicolas-Henri Jacobi together with two other partners set up the first factory despite the unfavourable economic climate. Jacobi then bought an oil mill by the river and transformed it into a stone-grinding mill. However, much more than his strong determination was needed and in 1794, Jacobi took over the molds and left-over material from the facility in Ottweiler a.d. Saar as they had stopped producing porcelain around 1770 shortly after being taken over by René François Jolly and Nikolas Leclerc in 1769. Still the difficulties in obtaining supplies of raw materials as well as the hostility and suspicion of local inhabitants remained. In addition to the competition from the large amount of English and French manufacturers, the upheaval caused by the Revolution finally forced Jacobi to give up.
 : Porzellanfabrik Utzschneider & Cie. (1800 until 1919)
The dynamic Bavarian Paul Utzschneider took over the factory in 1800 and introduced new decorating techniques. Napoleon I became one of his best customers and ordered several pieces and the business expanded so much that it had to open new workshops and acquire several mills. The protests provoked by the consequences of deforestation induced the company to use coal instead of wood, but it was not until 1830 that the first coal-fired kilns were built. In 1836 Paul Utzschneider finally handed over the management of the factory to his son-in-law Alexandre de Geiger who erected new buildings that were in harmony with the landscape; the 'Moulin de la Blies' mill was built in 1841 in this spirit. In 1838 Alexandre de Geiger associated himself with 'Villeroy & Boch' and this agreement contributed to the growth of production. The industrial revolution was in full swing, and a new architecture emerged with the appearance of saw-tooth roofs and round chimney stacks tall enough to prevent smoke from drifting over neighbouring houses. The new factories built in 1853 and 1860 completely relied on steam-powered machinery and in the workshops, modernization centred mainly on the energy needed to operate the machines.
Following the annexation of the Moselle to Germany, Alexandre de Geiger left Sarreguemines and retired in Paris in 1871. His son Paul de Geiger took over the management and two new factories were constructed at Digoin and Vitry-le-François. Paul de Geiger died in 1913, the year in which 'Utzschneider & Cie.' was split into two companies, one responsible for the establishment in Sarreguemines and the other for the French factories.
 : Sarreguemines - Digoin - Vitry-le-François (1919 until 1982)
After the First World War the factories were united under the name of 'Sarreguemines - Digoin - Vitry-le-François' and run by the Cazal family. During the World War II, the faience factories were sequestered and their management entrusted to 'Villeroy & Boch' between 1942 and 1945. After stopping production of porcelain and majolica, the company was taken over in 1979 by the 'Lunéville - Badonviller - Saint Clément' group.
 : Sarreguemines - Bâtiment (1982 until ...)
In 1982 the company was renamed to 'Sarreguemines - Bâtiment' and it became the main sponsor of the Sarreguemines museum which has access to the company archives; the company notes that all inquiries regarding old items should be sent to the museum. They mostly refer to museum publications which on first glance appear nicely priced but make sure to get a correct handling fee quotation before you order.
Note that the marks listed here are incomplete; there are many more to be found online. Some sites claim the Lorraine coat of arms over 'MADE IN GERMANY' mark was used until 1922, which is incorrect simply because the area became French territory after the first World War. The original French version of the booklet from the Sarreguemines museum states that the mark itself was indeed used until 1922 but without the 'MADE IN GERMANY' addition.
(Picture by John Koenig)
(Picture by Kent van Cleave)
(Picture by Kent van Cleave)
(Picture: Rachel, Pam & Bruce)
(Picture by Trudy von Linsowe)
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