Germany / Thuringia / Rudolstadt (Rudolstadt-Volkstedt):
Until the year 2003 no business registered as active in Germany was allowed to include foreign company form designations or abbreviations thereof and only the legal German company forms (e.g. KG, OHG, GmbH, AG, etc.) themselves were allowed. Knowing that, claims of the company being named 'New York and Rudolstadt Pottery Co. Inc.' in Germany can easily be identified as pure nonsense even if the name is valid for the US mother company - in other words the company in Germany had to use a German company name. However (and that's probably the reason for so many goofs) the marks registered in Germany were not applied for by the German subsidiary but for various reasons were registered directly via the US mother company under their original US name.
 Porzellanfabrik Rudolstadt Straus & Söhne A.G. (1882 until 1930)
The company of Lazarus Straus & Sons was founded in 1869 and successfully specialized on the import and resale of glass and ceramics. By 1874 Nathan Straus (Lazarus' son) had convinced the company of R.H. Macy (Macy's) to allow small shop-in-shop based glass and chinaware department in each of their stores. Business quickly increased and so the US-based 'New York and Rudolstadt Pottery Co. Inc.' was founded in 1882 with their subsidiary in Germany supplying the Straus business with own porcelain products in the range of luxury goods like figures, elaborate coffee sets and such. During the years between 1882 and 1889 the director of the Rudolstadt factory was Carl Louis Christian Eduard Müller who in 1890 founded his own porcelain company under the name of E.&A. Müller in the town of Schwarza-Saalbahn.
At first the company in Germany only concentrated on the items created in the Rudolstadt factory but with expanding business and the following opening of further subsidiaries in both France (decoration studio in the Limoges area) and Austrian Bohemia (second studio and warehouse near Carlsbad) in 1891 the Rudolstadt-based company also started to function as coordinator and export relay for all subsidiaries while the London-based (and more glass-related) business remained nearly independent. It shoud be mentioned here that already in 1913 the German factory employed around 300 workers, roughly one third of those were occupied with export transactions only.
The different subsidiaries used own marks and so one normally encounters specialized German, French or Austrian versions. However there also are two exceptions: next to the typical French 'L.S.&S. Limoges' and Austrian 'L.S.&S. Carlsbad' versions the most used mark is the German version showing a crowned lozenge with the initials 'RW' standing for 'Rudolstadt Works'. That mark together with the more elaborate 'CROWN RUDOLSTADT' type was *not* only used for the German business but also used for items from the Austrian Bohemian deals made exclusively with the company of Oscar & Edgar Gutherz. The reason for this deviation from the normal procedure of using the 'L.S.&S. Carlsbad' mark like on items for example purchased from Moritz Zdekauer was that Lazarus' son Nathan as the main director of the German factory and central purchasing coordinator was married to the sister of Oscar and Edgar, Lena Gutherz. The business relationship by the way also included the financial backing of the Gutherz business by Straus & Sons and as if all that was not confusing enough Edgar Gutherz himself was actually married to a woman named Lina.
During the first years the company in Germany at first disregarded thoughts of marking their items but with increasing business and thoughts of further expansion it became obvious that one should introduce some sort of trademark. The first documented mark of the German company was the version registered on May 22nd 1896 (Image 1-01) which was introduced as an own marking for their products after the acquisition of Macy's department stores and was one of the last introductions by Lazarus Straus who died the same year. That first mark was used without additions until 1904 when the company registered another mark, the basic 'eagle-on-shield' (Image 1-07). Following the introduction of the eagle mark, the crowned 'RW' was continued with the additions 'Germany' and 'Rudolstadt' until 1924, the year which not only saw the introduction of the '(Royal) Schwarzburg' mark but also the US company reforming under the name of Nathan Straus & Co..
In that context it should be mentioned that some sources incorrectly state that the 'RW' mark was only used until 1918, the result of a translation error that has to do with various people and their connections to Straus & Sons. To keep it short, 1918 was the year that the Gutherz brothers together with other businessmen founded the OEPIAG (later EPIAG) and in this context the use of the old Straus import marking on Gutherz items was officially canceled while the mark itself remained in use until 1924.
Anyway, the Germany company over the years not only produced own items but also increased their work as coordinator for all European factories that supplied Straus until they were forced to close in 1930 following the drastic changes in worldwide economics.
Using the term 'Royal Rudolstadt' in context with this manufacturer is highly misleading for potential customers as that registered trademark was owned by Beyer & Bock from the Volkstedt part of the city of Rudolstadt-Volkstedt. Claims of Straus being in US importer of Beyer & Bock items and thus being linked to the 'Royal Rudolstadt' fame are as incorrect as can be as both never did any business together. In fact the two were sworn enemies as Straus never forgave Beyer & Bock their registration of the 'Royal Rudolstadt' mark, a trademark Straus had unsuccessfully tried to acquire himself.
The common misrepresentation of 'Royal Rudolstadt' actually belonging to Straus & Sons is largely based on incorrect information published by the Kovels who apparently simply copied incorrect information from a notoriously unreliable source, author R. Röntgen. R. Röntgen not only screwed up on the owners of the trademark, he also claimed that the Straus mother company was named 'Lewis Straus & Sons' and had resided in Germany under an English company name, both of course being absolute nonsense. Anyway, people trying to pass off Straus & Sons items as 'Royal Rudolstadt' may just be relying on an insecure source (Kovels) but just as many sellers actually *know* that they are misrepresenting. Buyer beware.
(Picture by Julie Haser)
(Picture by Monika Birkl)
(Picture by Hans Hagebeuk)
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