The Thuringian porcelain culture

The 20 most important things to know about Thuringian porcelain ...

  1. Porcelain for the first time around 620 AD. discovered in China
  2. Porcelain arrived to Europe around 1300 AD by Marco Polo
  3. In 1708, Johann Friedrich Böttger and Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus accidentally discovered the process of porcelain production in Dresden / Meissen
  4. 1710 Foundation of the first manufactory in Europe on the Albrechtsburg in Meissen by J.F. Boettger
  5. In 1757 Georg Heinrich Macheleid, Johann Wolfgang Hammann and Johann Gotthelf Greiner came to Thuringia to discover the secret of porcelain production, independent of Meissen
  6. In 1760 Macheleid founded a porcelain manufactory in Sitzendorf (oldest porcelain manufactory in Thuringia - relocated to Volkstedt in 1962)
  7. Due to extremely favorable circumstances (for example, occurrence of wood, raw materials, hydropower, suitable technical equipment, skilled labor), a separate porcelain industry quickly developed in Thuringia
  8. Porcelain was initially used as a material for ornamental and everyday objects of the late Baroque ducal houses and up-and-coming participatory households (many manufactories were created by many small ducal houses in Thuringia)
  9. Porcelain later used as a material for household utensils (e.g., tableware, jars, needle boxes, tobacco cans, pipe bowls, sticks, medallions, miniature figures)
  10. In the middle of the 19th century, numerous manufactory start-ups in Thuringia due to the decline of ironworks and a growing demand for porcelain of all industries; Competition between them forced the Thuringian porcelain factories to sell quality and world-marketable products to the man; Result: Foundation of drawing and modeling schools for the porcelain industry, where qualified young people were trained
  11. In the 19th century, at times, 60% of all German porcelain production came from Thuringia (especially much export to America and Turkey)!
  12. From the middle of the 19th century, the trend towards mass production of cheap goods
  13. In the 20th century increasing automation in porcelain production (porcelain = mass product)
  14. in the wild 70s of the 20th century Crisis in porcelain industry due to rejection of the market (social changes, cheap imports)
  15. From the mid-80s of the 20th century, the first plant closures
  16. Until the turn of 1990, the Thuringian Forest was next to Upper Franconia / Upper Palatinate, a focus of German porcelain manufacture
  17. After reunification, many porcelain factories could no longer compete in the market and were closed; Reasons: Inflations, wars, compulsory association of the Thuringian manufactories in GDR times, change
  18. Nevertheless, to this day in Thuringia an independent and diverse porcelain industry core with high quality value
  19. In the 21st century increasing sales in porcelain production through highly streamlined workflows, new sales concepts and consistent focus on a luxury price segment
  20. Currently producing factories in Thuringia, for example:
    • porcelain manufactory Kahla
    • Wagner & Apel
    • Sitzendorf
    • Triptis
    • Wallendorf porcelain
    • The porcelain manufactories Rudolstadt / Volksstedt

In 2010, the Thuringian porcelain tradition was a quarter of a millennium old. This anniversary, the "Porcelain Year", 2010 was celebrated by many porcelain museums and manufactories along the porcelain street under the motto "250 years porcelain country Thuringia".
The world-famous Thuringian Porcelain Route is a tourist street with approx. 25 porcelain factories in southern and eastern Thuringia, which illustrates the historical paths of the "white gold" in Thuringia in an appealing way and at the same time demonstrates the great importance of porcelain for the present.

Would you like more information about Thuringian porcelain?

In our brochure "Time Travel", available at the Oscar Schlegelmilch Porcelain Museum, you will find more detailed essays on this subject.