BAY KERAMIK was founded by Eduard Bay in Ransbach-Baumbach in 1933 and was one of the most successful ceramics factories in West Germany. Their most famous designers were A. Seide and Bodo Mans. Today Bay ceramics, which range in design from the highly bizarre to extreme Modernism, are highly popular with interior designers and collectors alike. The factory, no longer able to continue with their costly production process, ceased to exist in 1997.
CARSTENS - TONNIESHOF In 1892 brothers Christian Hinrich Carstens and Ernst Carstens opened a ceramics factory in Rheinsberg (Brandenburg) Germany. Up until the 2nd world war, the company maintained production at various locations. By 1945 the company had more or less collapsed and the location in East Germany was lost. It was then that the brothers established Carstens-Tonnieshof which, from 1947, was located in Fredelsloh (Niedersachsen). Carstens not only produced vases, but also lamp bases and other utility ceramics. By the 1970’s they had factories in Austria, Australia and South America. The Fredelsloh location closed in 1977. Due to financial problems Carstens-Tonnieshof closed down completely in 1984. Main designers were Trude Carstens, Gerda Heuckeroth, Dieter Peter and also A. Seide.
CERAMANO was founded in 1959 in Ransbach-Baumbach by Jakob Schwaderlapp, who also founded the Jasba factory in 1926. The intention was to produce a higher quality of studio pieces and utility items in contrast to the more mass-produced Jasba ceramics. Many of the designs were from the hand of Hans Welling, but designers Gerda Heuckeroth and Dudas Lazslo also played a part. Ceramano ceased to exist in 1984.
DUMLER & BREIDEN Peter Dumler & Albert Breiden founded their ceramics company in 1883 in Hohr-Grenzhausen, the center of many German ceramics producers. At first they made beer steins, cups and bowls, but their real claim to fame came during the 1950’s and ‘60’s when they produced vases and dishes renowned for their high quality. Only the most perfect ceramics, some of which even included bits of copper in the glaze, were permitted to leave the factory. In 1992 D&B closed its doors for good.
ILKRA EDEL KERAMIK Ilkra was founded in 1892 in Ransbach-Baumbach by Jacob Leopold Knodgen. Many of its products show a similarity to Clemens & Huhn. Among its designers – Edmund Peters and Ernst Werner.
JASBA - Some of the most brightly colored vases to emerge from West Germany in the years between 1950 and 1971 came from Jasba. Founded in 1926 by Jakob Schwaderlapp in Ransbach-Baumbach, the production of vases was terminated in 1971. Jasba still exists today but their production is mainly tiling for kitchens and bathrooms. Main designers were Cilli Worsdorfer and Christine Reuter.
JOPEKO was founded in 1848 in Ransbach Baumbach by Johan Peter Korzilius (also the name of the present owner) . It is one of the few ceramic factories to survive the economic crisis of the ‘70’s and still produces vases and other decorative objects. Jopeko is best known for its use of spectacular color and design sometimes bordering on the bizarre – fatlava, striking patterns and bright colors- that’s Jopeko.
KNODGEN EDEL KERAMIK - In the late ‘80’s, Knodgen was born in Ramsbach-Baumbach after the demise of the Ilkra factory with the purpose of producing studio ceramics as well as several pieces taken over from Ilkra. It has proved difficult to ascertain which pieces were actually made by Ilkra and renamed Knodgen, or were produced by Knodgen in Ilkra molds, or, in fact, came originally from Clemens & Huhn.
ROTH - Some of the best known ceramics and those most desired by collectors came from the Roth factory. The company was founded in the early ‘70’s in Ebernhahn by Edmond Roth and is still in production but now only for kitchen and bathroom ceramics. Some of the most famous Roth patterns – including those with spectacular amounts and shapes in fatlava, command premium prices. Dorothea Roth was one of its principal designers.
RUSCHA was founded in Rheinsburg in 1948 by Rudolf Schardt, Ruscha not only produced excellent quality vases, but are equally famous for their exquisite wall plaques which continue to command top prices today. After the factory closed in 1996, Scheurich took over many of Ruscha’s designs and molds and, although some of these were produced by Scheurich, many were given the Ruscha label – a silver sticker with a distinctive design.
SCHEURICH is one of the few factories still surviving and turning out quality ceramics. In 1928 the company was founded by Alois Scheurich and a relative Fridolin Greulich in Schneeberg near Amorbach and moved 10 years later to Kleinheubach, just south of Frankfurt. In 1954 Scheurich stopped with the production of household ceramics and began to concentrate on vases and flowerpots among other, more decorative ceramics. By keeping prices low and constantly changing colors to meet an altering public taste, Scheurich thrived. Although they often used the same molds, the designs were changed on a regular basis. For the collector, sport is to acquire as many colors and patterns possible from the same mold. The larger floor vases still remain in the higher priced category as from many of them produced between 1950 and 1980 there were never more than 500 made. Best designers were o.a. Heinz Siery and A. Seidel. Oswald Kleudgen was their most important designer for glazes. The company still enjoys international fame.
SOENDGEN - In 1893 Soendgen Keramik was founded by Johann Peter Soendgen in Adendorf. Originally producing saltglaze tankards and other utility items, in the 1970’s they switched from manual to industrial production and in the years that followed made some exciting fatlava vases and lamp bases. Very often, due to overglazing, Soendgen vases can be difficult to identify. Today their production consists mainly of flowerpots.
SPARA - A factory about which little is known except that they produced some lovely ceramics between their founding in the late ‘60’s till closure in 1985. In 1971-’72 Turkish artist Halidun Kutlu was their key designer.
STREHLA - Must confess – Strehla is one of my favorites, probably because of their wonderful use of color and carefully applied designs in fatlava over often easy to recognize forms. The company was founded in Dresden as long ago as 1828. After W.W.II, it became VEB Steingutfabrik Strehla and , in East Germany, produced mainly vases and flowerpots, often strikingly beautiful. The company closed in 1989.
Ü-KERAMIK (Ubelacker), began life as a tin foundry- its founder the tinsmith Johann Ubelacker. In 1950 it was taken over by the founders three sons who went on to produce many fine ceramics including geometrical “chimney”vases and other ceramics bold in style, color and design. Due to a misguided investment in Ireland, Ubelacker went bankrupt in 1990.
VEB HALDENSLEBEN was born of Carstens Uffrecht which had been founded by Jacob Uffrecht in 1845. After WW II the Carstens family moved from East to West Germany and formed Carstens Tonnieshof. Carstens Uffrecht became the East German ceramics producer VEB Haldensleben , a state owned company. Many of their decors show a similarity with Strehla. After 1990 the company was once again in the hands of the Carstens family and became Carstens Keramik Rheinsberg.