Resources Germany Related

PM&M Germany Saxony-Anhalt Page

Althaldensleben (Haldensleben)

The two independent villages of Althaldensleben ("Old Haldensleben") and Neuhaldensleben ("New Haldensleben") existed until 1938 before they were merged into the town of Haldensleben. In the case of Schmelzer & Gericke the business was originally located in the Althaldensleben part of later Haldensleben.

Friedrich Schmelzer (*1834-09-12 Wiche/Unstrut, †1904-09-28 Neuhaldensleben) spent his youth mostly in the town of Calbe, where he later also completed his commercial apprenticeship. From 1854 on he worked as accountant at the Siderolithfabrik Schulze & Bauermeister in Althaldensleben and then joined the Siderolithfabrik Raschke & Co. as a partner early in 1858.

Schmelzer's father-in-law August Gerike stepped in when it became known that Raschke would retire in 1861, purchasing the rights from Raschke and securing the existence of the factory as financial backer. This allowed Schmelzer to start production of fine German earthenware in 1863, as second producer after the Steingutfabrik Witteburg in Bremen-Farge.

Shortly afterwards, pottery production was dropped entirely and the related production facilities were sold off as to make room. This was the first step towards the planned new earthenware factory, a process which was completed shortly before Schmelzer's brother-in-law, the mechanical engineer Karl Gerike, joined as partner.

[1] Schmelzer & Gerike (1865 until 1932)

The company, which was able to benefit significantly from the construction of the Magdeburg-Oebisfeld railroad, was from 1868 onwards enlarged and rebuilt several times, eventually becoming a much-visited model company.

Schmelzer strived to gain an excellent position for the company when it came to overseas export and with the help of the Hamburg export company J.&M. Salomon, the company soon succeeded in becoming the first German producer to compete with the English in the earthenware trade on the world market. Part of this success was the constant effort to create tasteful shapes and a specifically lighter product weight which still offered the same durability. Products from Althaldensleben were quite a success, eventually being awarded the gold medal at the world fairs in Porto Allegro (1881) or the silver medal in Antwerpen (1886).

Following the death of Friedrich Schmelzer in 1904, business was continued by his sons Friedrich jun. and Johannes, which decided to keep the traditional name. The factory employed more than 1,000 workers and employees around 1907 and grew further; with Schmelzer & Gerike being one of the first companies in the area utilizing a larger steam engine : in 1917 the Ascherslebener Maschinenbau Act.-Ges., vormals W. Schmidt & Co. delivered a two-cylinder steam engine with 150hp output (quite a beast for that day and age).

Of course the company over time had a decisive influence on the economic and infrastructural development of Althaldensleben in the second half of the 19th century, however things quickly went downhill during the global economic crisis and, despite a short but hearty struggle (still exporting cereal bowls to the US late in 1929), the brothers were forced to close in the year 1932.


One fact which may confuse people is that some items made by Schmelzer & Gerike not only represented the same style that was used by Schiller & Gerbing but also used a plain "S&G" mark (not shown here) strikingly similar to that of the Bohemian company. Sure, the Schmelzer & Gericke mark is stamped onto the item while the Schiller & Gerbing mark was impressed, however there are still enough people around which incorrectly attribute such items.



Image 011001-01-01

Used from 1886 onwards, registered at the Königliches Amtsgericht zu Neuhaldensleben under file №·5 on March 26th 1886.


Image 011001-01-01

Used from 1886 onwards, here an example of the impressed mark.


Image 011001-01-02

Used from 1895 onwards. application filed October 4th 1895, registered at the Kaiserliches Patentamt Berlin under file №·12677 on January 9th 1896.


Image 011001-01-03

Used from 1895 onwards, here an impressed version on an item from around 1910.


Image 011001-01-04

No dating info, circular mark containing "S+G" and "Althaldensleben".

[ back to top ]

© 2004-2024 C.S.Marshall, all rights reserved