: Schirnding Porzellan G.m.b.H. (1901 until 1909)
Lorenz Reichel in 1901 founded a decoration studio in the small town of Schirnding, which at that time had a population of around 600 people. Three years later he already produced his own whiteware and further expanded business so that by 1906 the factory utilized six modern round kilns, had electric lighting and an own link to the local railroad network.
 : Schirnding Porzellan A.G. (1909 until 1993)
In the year 1909 the business was transformed into a stock company under the leadership of Kommerzienrat Martin Zehendner, who also became major shareholder. One should note that Zehendner together with Christian Seltmann (owner of the famous factory in Weiden) and Johann Wallner also purchased the porcelain factory in the city of Tirschenreuth in 1919. This business relationship helps to explain how the Seltmann family became involved with the factory in Schirnding: Zehendner and Christian Seltmann were not only partners in the city of Tirschenreuth, Zehendner was also a friend of the family and helped Katharina Seltmann run the business in Weiden after the sudden death of her husband Christian in 1921. A few years later, Zehendner decide to retire and so in 1927 he sold his shares of the Schirnding factory to the Seltmann family. Katharina Seltmann saw this as an opportunity to retire as well, leaving the factory in Schirnding to her son Heinrich Seltmann (*1899, †1979) while her son Wilhelm Seltmann took over the factory in Weiden.
Following WW2, Heinrich Seltmann greatly invested in factory modernization and his knowledge and intuition helped to quickly (re)establish many business relationships which secured a constant number of profitable orders. During the 1960's his son Dieter Seltmann (*1938) joined the board and with his ideas managed to influence the product range by including a few modern designs. After the death of Heinrich Seltmann in 1979, Dieter Seltmann took his place as main director of the factory.
After the reunification of Germany in 1989/1990, the already reclining German porcelain industry encountered more and more problems - next to the negative influence of cheaper Asian products - as the former East German factories, having lost their former restrictions, flooded the market. The Schirnding factory therefore was forced to look for new partners and business relationships and so (from 1991 onwards) cooperated with the British Royal Stafford China Ltd. from Stoke-on-Trent when it came to producing Bone China ware.
 : SKV-Porzellan-Union G.m.b.H. (1993 until 2000)
That however was not enough to secure business and in November 1993 the three medium-sized porcelain manufacturers Schirnding A.G. (Schirnding), J. Kronester (Schwarzenbach an der Saale) and Johann Seltmann (Vohenstrauß) therefore merged into the SKV-Porzellan-Union G.m.b.H. group. Only a year later, the group purchased the trademark rights of the bankrupt ⇒Bareuther company from the town of Waldsassen. All Christmas Plates and other collector series formerly created by Bareuther were from 1994 onwards produced by the factory in Schirnding which continued to issue the series under the 'Bareuther' brand.
For the Seltmann factory in Vohenstrauß, the mentioned merger was only a short relief as the group on October 27th 1995 declared the closure of the facility due to economic reasons. The remaining part of the SKV was able to continue, finally being joined by the well-known Arzberg factory which previously belonged to the Hutschenreuther A.G. (Selb) and had been sold off to the Winterling A.G. (Kirchenlamitz) in 1997. The whole Winterling group however had drifted into financial problems and eventually announced insolvency in 1999, so the SKV-Porzellan-Union G.m.b.H. made an offer to take over the Arzberg trademark and assets which was accepted in August 2000.
 SKV-Arzberg-Porzellan G.m.b.H. (2000 until 2004)
The name change to 'SKV-Arzberg-Porzellan G.m.b.H.' was followed by the move of the main office from Schirnding to the city of Arzberg. During this period, the company was more and more influenced by Mr. Helmut Sättler (former manager in Arzberg since 1997) and the internationally renown designer Peter Schmidt. Together, they successfully repositioned the group on the market and the traditional 'Arzberg' design trademark became its main asset.
 Arzberg Porzellan G.m.b.H. (2004 until ....)
As 'Arzberg' had become the primary brand of the company, it was then decided to adapt a new name in June 2004. The SKV-Arzberg-Porzellan G.m.b.H. became the Arzberg-Porzellan G.m.b.H. and in the year 2007 employed a total of around 250 people (a number which, due to optimized production, dropped back to 230 by 2009). In this context one should hold in mind that 'Schirnding' became an 'Arzberg' sub-brand, hence one may bump into marks stating 'Schirnding by Arzberg'.
I will later link from here to the corresponding Arzberg page when that entry is completed as the former Schirnding factory became a production subsidiary of the Arzberg factory, hence their history started here but will (probably) end in Arzberg.
As mentioned in section  above, the Christmas plates and similar editions originally produced by Bareuther where from 1994 onwards produced by the factory in Schirnding. Next to the three name changes during that period, the most confusing part concerns the marks re-used in that process: the 2009 Christmas plate for example actually shows the Bareuther '125 years anniversary' mark from 1991 on the box.
(Picture by Loredana Ruvolo)
(Picture by Trudy Schrader)
(Picture by Esko Ikäläinen)
(Picture by Ulf Jansson)
(Picture by Esko Ikäläinen)
(Picture by Stephanie Urwich)
[ ⇒back to top ]
© 2004-2023 C.S.Marshall, all rights reserved