Porcelain production is a typical branch of industry which has provided large numbers of inhabitants of the Karlovy Vary Region with their livelihood for more than 200 years. There used to be ten porcelain factories in Karlovy Vary and the close surroundings which were famous throughout the world for their outstanding quality and interesting designs. Who doesn’t own any cups and plates made by these local factories? The “Blue Onion Pattern” and “Pink Porcelain” belong to our region as inherently as spa sources. Visit the porcelain region with us……
To start with….. a little bit of history……
The beginning of porcelain production in the Czech lands was as the result of obtaining the secrets of porcelain production from China although the situation in the Czech lands was made difficult by the fact that since 1718, an imperial manufacturer had been in operation in Vienna who prevented any competition. The first porcelain manufacturers in Bohemia were created illegally, under the veil of pottery production although the quality of the initial products could not really compete with the already perfect Meissen porcelain, Vienna porcelain and especially with the German manufacturers. Porcelain production was conditioned by a licence – obtaining of the so-called “privilege” and unfortunately any applications from the Czech lands were usually rejected by Vienna.
However, the development of porcelain production in the Czech lands was initiated and supported by exceptionally favourable conditions necessary for the production technology of that time. The occurrence of quality raw materials for the porcelain production, wood and then coal for kiln heating along with the occurrence of water as the main power resources of that time determined the current location of the factories, especially in Western Bohemia and partially in Northern Bohemia. The owners and their staff were predominantly of German nationality.
Porcelain production in the Karlovy Vary Region
The first attempts at porcelain production began in Háje near Horní Slavkov as early as 1789 by F. Habertitzel, a carriage driver from the village of Háje, in cooperation with the Slavkov businessman, Jakub Just who imported porcelain to Bohemia from Thuringia. The initial impetus for this was the accidental discovery of white clay in Javornáthe suitability of it for porcelain production had been verified by Just in the Thuringian manufacturer, Wallendorf. Later experiments carried out by J. B. Sonntag in cooperation with a porcelain manufacturer in Rudolstadt appeared to be so successful that Habertitzel, who did not have a sufficient amount of financial means himself, received support from the landowners and the cottagers of Háje and its close surroundings and established with their help, a company for the production of porcelain. However, the Court Commercial Committee rejected the application for the privilege and the production company was dissolved as early as 1793.
The development triggered by the experiments in Háje proceeded in several stages. At the first stage – from 1792 to 1815 – eight factories for the production of traditional porcelain were established in the Czech lands. The factories were built in stages in Horní Slavkov, Klášterec, Březová, Stružná, Dalovice, Chodov, Stará Role and Loket.
Porcelain factories in our region