Altrohlau (Stará Role)
This page does not deal with a specific manufacturer but rather explains the background of a certain mark type named after an interest group. All members of that group made use of the group name by either using it as standalone base mark or including it into their own marks for marketing reasons.
 : ÖPIAG - Österreichische Porzellan-Industrie A.G. (1918 until 1920)
Over the years the market for Bohemain porcelain had slowly changed and as business was slowly reclining at all factories from that region, various ideas to more actively promote items were discussed by the Austrian government. The result of these discussions was to unite certain factories in one association and then use one brand or trademark for promotion; hence the first association of this kind was founded by the Austrian government (backed by the Internationale Handelsbank Wien, the International Trades Bank in Vienna), for various reasons adapting the legal structure of a stock corporation: the Österreichische Porzellan-Industrie A.G. or ÖPIAG for short.
In German language the Umlaut-character 'Ö' is often replaced by its normal non-Umlaut character equivalent ('OE') and both 'ÖPIAG' and 'OEPIAG' represent the same and are freely interchangable. The 'OEPIAG' form is *not* (as often incorrectly claimed) a later introduced adaption used shortly before the company was renamed to 'EPIAG'!
While as regular stock corporation offering all normal possibilities for investors, the idea was that the main shareholders (the various companies included and united under one company name) themselves remained independent but pooled parts of the profits to be re-invested into the corporation, further strengthening its position and marketing possibilities and also allowing it to function as financial backer for member companies if required.
It had taken some time to actually get together the founding members and create the required background inclusive funding of the project and so the birth of the company itself fell into the period of the political changes which resulted in the creation of the new state of Czechoslovakia in 1918. As the main interest of the association was to push the Bohemian porcelain industry itself, the name of the association was secondary. After the first successful business period the members eventually decided to rename, roughly at the same time in which rumours of upcoming competition in form of the Porzellan-Union A.G. arose. The board decided to make a point by renaming the business according to the fact that it had been the first of its kind (in Bohemia).
 : EPIAG - Erste (böhmische) Porzellan-Industrie A.G. (1920 until 1945)
As mentioned the association included various factories and each of them continued to use its own marks, mostly extended by some form of OEPIAG (later EPIAG) addition. Various cases also show new marks dominantly presenting the OEPIAG/EPIAG part including elements of the original manufacturer marking, meaning that all OEPIAG/EPIAG marks contain hints on which factory of the association actually produced a certain item. Because there is no unique 'OEPIAG/EPIAG' mark I have not added any examples on this page, people looking for specific marks but not being able to identify the producing factory by its specific mark type should therefore use the following information to narrow down their search:
First members of the association in 1918 (using "OEPIAG" and later "EPIAG") were:
- ⇒Pröschold & Co. (Dallwitz)
- Springer & Co. (Elbogen)
- Oscar & Edgar Gutherz (Altrohlau)
- Fischer & Mieg (Pirkenhammer)
Various factories joined the association during the following years:
- 1919 : Schamottefabrik Lickwitz (Lickwitz)
- 1920 : Julius Dressler (Biela bei Bodenbach)
- 1923 : Menzel & Co. (Aich)
- 1927 : ⇒Vereinigte Porzellanfabriken "Porzellan-Union" A.G. (Klösterle)
- 1932 : Gebrüder Benedikt (Meierhofen)
- 1939 : ⇒Porzellanfabrik und Kaolinschlämmerei ALP G.m.b.H. (Lubau)
After WWII and the resulting political changes the EPIAG group itself then went through various changes:
- 1945 the EPIAG group and the factories in Altrohlau (including the Victoria-Werk Schmidt & Co.) merged into the Starorolský Porcelán group. Even though the association itself changed some (but not all) factories continued to use the EPIAG mark, sometimes on specific series only.
- 1958 the Starorolský Porcelán group merged with Karlovarský Porcelán. It should be noted here that the former factory of Johann Schuldes from Gießhübel at this point was put under the control of the factory in Dallwitz but remained more or less independent - it was NOT a direct member of the Karlovarský Porcelán until 1990!
- 1990 the porcelain factories in Jokes-Wickwitz near Jakobsdorf (Jakubov) and Gießhübel (Kysibl, later Stružná) were integrated into the Karlovarský Porcelá group.
- 1992 the Karlovarský Porcelán group was reprivatized (represented by the transfer company EPIAG DAFA s.r.o.) and several of the factories decided to become independent businesses again while others remained in the group for marketing purposes.
The only factory which today still uses the historic EPIAG trademark is the former factory in Dallwitz which closed in 1997 but was re-activated in 2002 under the name EPIAG LOFIDA Porcelán CZ s.r.o. using the EPIAG abbreviation to point at its origins as the first member of the OEPIAG/EPIAG group which greatly influenced the Bohemian porcelain industry.
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